Peace by Piece

“Peace be with you…”

It was the girls’ and my first Sunday back in church since Easter. The words rolled surprisingly naturally off my tongue as I reached out to shake hands with the woman who’d been sitting in the pew in front of us during the service.

“Peace be with you…”

I continued to repeat the familiar words as my hand met and parted with several others while we “shared the peace.”



Each time, as I looked into the eyes of the person I shook hands with, I listened intently for the peace they returned…almost breathing it in.

Perhaps, if I did breathe in the peace, it would fill my lungs…eventually spilling out to the rest of my body…soothing my soul with its healing vapors.

“Peace be with you…”




Maybe I can breathe enough in to heal all of us, I think.

I don’t know what words to write here right now. I have so many feelings, so many thoughts. But it’s not exactly my story to tell. It affects me, of course. It affects our family. Our kids.

But it affects him the most: Drew, my husband.

More than that, though. It doesn’t just affect us (him). It is all-consuming.

A keeps-you-up-at-night, wakes-you-from-sleep-in-terror, causes-you-to-weep-spontaneously-at-the-grocery-store kind of consuming.

I don’t expect it to be any less—wouldn’t have expected it to be any less—than all-consuming.

Still, knowing in theory and experiencing first-hand are two very different things. I don’t know how to reconcile all of what’s happening in my head. To make any sort of sense out of it. To move toward acceptance and peace.

Cancer is excruciating. For the patient. For the family.

The tumor…it reaches way beyond the confines of one person’s body, snaking its way into each family member’s heart, wrapping around it, twisting it, tightening…tightening…finally wringing it dry.

Papa DeBoer has been home on hospice care for over a month now. We don’t know how much time he has left.

What I do know is that each time Drew visits his Dad, I witness a little piece of him die along with his father.

“Peace be with you…”

…but will it piece my husband’s breaking heart back together?

Written by Ember

Wife and mother of 2 girls. Bookworm. Coffee addict. Lover of shoes. Killer of most plants. I write for a living, and live for writing.

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