As I left the hospice house tonight for the second time this week, I felt like I was leaving little pieces of my heart behind. I imagined it like someone leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to their destination but instead for me it was a trail of heartcrumbs. (And yes this is not a word.)
This week has been interesting as we tried something new - staying at the hospice house. Part of our hospice agreement allows us to have 5 days a month for respite care. This means Josh can stay at the hospice home and I can also hang with him or come and go as needed while the nurses care for him there on location. It is a nice option that allows me to take a small break from the full-time caregiver role. I can rest easier at night, in theory, but of course still worry. There is an option to stay onsite with Josh, there's a small bed in a connected room, extra recliners and even an patio outside the room. I have opted to come home and rest in my own bed overnight as I know Josh is in good care. But still, leaving is hard.
The last two nights, I said goodnight like five times and of course a few I love yous. This ultimately is another step of trust that God is taking care of Josh and so are several other caring medical professionals.
In wrestling through all the feelings, I realized yesterday that it’s not that I don’t trust God but that I don’t trust his timing. So then does it mean I trust God fully? Sounds like quite the riddle, huh?
Walking out tonight leaving bits of my heart behind, I imagined God walking behind me picking up the pieces and holding them tightly, ready to give them back and help restore this aching heart. Continuing to ponder this idea, I searched for the word heart in the Bible and found yet another surprise! The same verse that captured my attention, appears not once but three times in Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5.
"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!"
These words serve as an important reminder. One thing I’ve learned from Josh, and other theologians, is that repetition in the Bible indicates importance which is meant to draw our attention.
This verse has captured my heart's attention tonight. I can very much relate to the feelings of despair and a sad heart but am also encouraged by the emphatic shift to action in the middle of sorrow.
At the end of this long, somewhat weird set of days, I end this evening by speaking the truth of this verse out loud. In many ways, it feels like a pep talk because trusting God in the chaos is still not an easy thing to do, but nevertheless:
“I will put my HOPE in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!”
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.
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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.