John McDole’s Testimony… Three years ago last February my Mary was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. At that time Mary told me she wanted to die at home and not go to a nursing home. I told her by the grace of God I would take care of her and keep her here.
During this last year I came close to caving in many times. Each time I would get really uptight I would call on the Lord and quote a few verses. Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” At the time of crisis, the Lord would send peace to me and I would find the rest I needed. Sometimes it would be through our family, sometimes through friends and sometimes during a brief walk or Bible study.
These last six months I have been studying Job and it has been a real help. I shared all of these verses with Mary. Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” Job 19:25 “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;” 26 “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,” 27″Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 42:2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The day Mary died I read this verse. It helped me to sleep that night. Job 1:21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” The Lord gave Mary to me as a wonderful wife for 49 years, 11 months and three days. And the Lord took away my wonderful wife. Blessed be the name of the LORD. I would tell Mary when things were very difficult, “You are worth far more than the troubles I am having taking care of you. For your price is far above rubies. It is such a privilege to take care of you. What a wonderful ministry the Lord has given me.”
All during her sickness she was cognizant of everything and could still communicate through a alphabet chart and could answer questions with nodding of her head or saying uh huh or u’ u’. During the last few days of her life she had trouble communicating and was sleeping a lot. I cried unto the Lord for a miraculous death where she could die at home in her sleep.
My daughter, Debbie, and her husband, Bob, moved here over two years ago to be a help to her mom and dad. We owe them a great deal for all they have done for us. My son and his family came from Indonesia last year at the request of Mary, while she could still talk. We had a wonderful time together. He would love to be here but we told him it was not necessary to come home. It costs around $10,000 round trip for their family.
Vitas, a hospice organization, really helped us through these last months. During the last days we had 24 hour nursing care. At 3 AM, May 19th, I woke up and was sure Mary would die today. At 4:45 in the morning, May 19th, the nurse woke me up saying Mary had just passed. She died at home in her sleep. May 19th is my dad’s and granddaughter Amy’s birthday. It is also the day Mary graduated. Praise the Lord.
Some people comment on how good a caregiver I have been but I am reminded of the verse in Luke 17:10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” All I did was what was my duty to do as her husband. Each night before bedtime we have said to each other for years. “I love you and I am committed to you.” She loved me and was committed to me until the end. My dear Mary gave me enough happiness to last a lifetime.
John McDole, Serving in the Asia Pacific region