Tuesday 3 a.m.
I really want to stop posting sad things but “sad bombs” keep blowing up around every corner, with each embrace, with each tender moment.
A not so smooth bathroom break at 3 a.m. made for some scurrying and the need for some extra pain meds as Josh's legs hurt from standing. Now, he is back to sleeping heavily. Meanwhile, I am wide awake.
Within the past 15 minutes I may have briefly tapped into all stages of the grief cycle: Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Mostly the anger is due to the ice machine directly across from our room, "Why does anyone need eight cups of ice a 3 a.m.?" – Seriously!).
My focus though, lands more on the sorrow-filled parts of the cycle as I have a complete pity party while laying on a pillow on the edge of Josh’s bedrail watching him breathe.
Is this what the 'depths of despair' feels like?
The words to a song by John Mark McMillian enter my mind,
“I could lay my head in sheol
I could make my bed at the bottom of darkness deep
Oh but there is not a place I could escape you . . ."
From this spark, I begin to wonder, “What is sheol?” (Having not remembered all those seminary words that Josh may have used around me). I snag my computer for an internet search that quickly gets out of control.
In the process, I re-learn that "sheol" is a Old Testament Hebrew word which refers to the grave. This, of course, is a bit of a jarring thing to think about at such a sensitive time, so I just Google some more (Distractions, right?), and learn even more about the word. Along the way, I find some additional late-night encouragement and began to see how this word, that randomly popped in my mind, is presented in scripture.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
- Psalm 139: 7-9 (NASB)
This is a complete reminder that the Lord is there; that the Lord is near.
In the depths of my despair, the Lord is near.
Almost exactly an hour after the night-time pit stop, I begin to rest in God’s presence again. As soon as I do, Josh makes a weird sound and my heart rate increases with worry.
I pause, pray, breathe and remember the rest of the song lyrics.
“Your heart won’t stop coming after me
Your heart won’t stop coming after me
Your heart won’t stop coming after
Coming after me”
What reassuring words. Not only is Christ here, but he keeps finding ways to come after me (and us) – in each moment because he loves us so. (Whew!)
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
In April of 2019, we learned that Josh had a large brain tumor, a glioblastoma, in the middle of his brain. At the age of 41, this was quite the surprise. Josh sadly passed away after a short battle on September 30, 2019.
View his obituary
These past months, we've navigated the complexities of treatment, and hospice care and learned that there wasn't really treatment and that in Josh's case, the tumor was inoperable.
We're sharing our hearts and experience as we navigate this unexpected turn and God's goodness in the middle of it. We hope to encourage others by sharing our story.
Thank you for following along with our journey even in grief.
Feel free to message us.
If you'd like to donate to medical expenses, here's a link or you can email us questions
More about Josh & Jenn
Jenn Brown is the author of this site, a loving wife and communications guru.
Josh Brown most recently served on staff at Fellowship Bible Church in NWA as a Springdale Community Pastor. We've served in ministry in Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Nevada.
Cancer has been big part of our story. Josh has battled cancer three times already with the first to being non-Hodgkins lymphoma at ages 15 and 25 and the third thyroid cancer last year and a GBM, brain tumor this year.
Jenn's mom, Carol passed away from breast cancer 21 years ago and her father also went through treatments for Chronic Leukemia (CLL) in 2017 and is doing well now.
Friends & Family
We have been so encouraged by friends and family. Thank you for the practical ways you are caring for us! We love you all! This is just few photo highlights of some meaningful moments.