ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR DEGREES

ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR DEGREES

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

The untimely, shocking death of my husband's sister Dawn continues its course of steady and painful ramifications.
There's no soft sense of "ebb and flow" to the story ... just jagged, jarring, forceful realities.
A capsized boat being ripped apart by unmerciful and destructive currents,
spewing out unseasoned passengers,
coughing up random objects.
Idle wooden paddles floating effortlessly downstream in duel mockery.
Changed and rearranged ...
by the unforeseen.
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Husband Don's temperature soared to 104° in the night.
Wife Dawn is no longer there to sit beside him, wipe his brow, or tend to him with her "certain" regimented doses of care, comfort, and companionship.
Private physical and emotional needs known only by a spouse are now doled out and unceremoniously relegated to a small, chosen few.
Hospice hovers protectively over a fragile shell while family members work to assist and shore-up a failing physical body.
Cancer is not kind on the hard days nor does it show mercy in a difficult season.
Cancer and grief are a poor and bitter combination.
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Family and friends pull together and share a fellowship of raw grace and grief;
 hugs, tears, words, and acts of tangible service are all willing and active participants.
Disunity and disharmony are temporarily swallowed up by a larger grief and even the darkest of people become civil.
All hands on board ...
Grief creates its own kind of strange and defining beauty in this way.
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Funeral arrangements are mechanically tended to and obligatory tasks are taken care of.
Neighbors, strangers, and friends all pitch in.
And one thousand uncertainties loom.
 Nobody knows but God alone what the days ahead will bring.
Nobody knows whose passage into eternity will come next or what even this moment holds.
Life, love, and grief ...
 combined tender mysteries of the Father.
Held in check,
defined and determined,
as He has sovereignly ordained ...
and greater than one hundred and four degrees.
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