It was the very last cancer-free day that my family would ever know. Ian was a busy, curly-headed senior in college who had neither the time, nor the inclination to schedule a doctor’s visit even though he’d been feeling crummy. At my mother’s insistence, he’d finally gone—and we’d made hurried, unconcerned plans for me to drop a meal off at his apartment later that week. [After a steady diet of tacos and coffee, we figured that whatever was wrong would easily be righted by some normal food and a good night’s sleep.] Just one year ago today was the last day before IVs and a shaved head, before a thousand cheerfully colored “Get Well” cards and a blue fleece superman blanket that followed us from hospital room to hospital room. It was the last day before numbers and hearts sank, and the cold nausea of grief made her permanent home in the pits of our stomachs. I couldn’t have known as I fell asleep that night, that things would never be the same. That the very next morning, cancer would burst through the doors and we would ache forever.
One year later, my mind and heart still stubbornly refuse to believe that it actually happened. One year later, I still expect to wake up and find that it was all just the very worst dream that I’ve ever had. And one year later, God is still just as good as he was on the last normal day. God was good when I was newly engaged and excitedly shopping for wedding dresses with my Mom and sister. God was good on October 3rd, when a woman in a white coat said “cancer” to a room full of wide, disbelieving eyes. And God was good in the ICU, when hand squeezes grew weaker and finally disappeared, and I kissed my little brother’s cheek for the very last time. God is good even then—He is incapable of being anything else.
Today, I choose to believe truth. I remember that love is not simply something that God does, but who He is. His relentless love for Ian and for me was settled at the cross, and the cross leaves no room for doubt. I will never match a fraction of the love that God has for my little brother.
Today and every day, I miss Ian.