On Saturday, February 19, 2022, my husband had been in the hospital for three weeks dealing with complications from his cancer, but he was feeling better and asked for some wonton soup.
“Great idea,” said his doctor.
“Wonderful,” said his dietician.
So I brought my husband the wonton soup he asked for, and spooned some into a bowl that I brought from home along with one of our glass Chinese soup spoons. “You’re so good to me,” he said.
He savoured each wonton as we watched the Olympics together and as he explained the intricacies of curling to me.
But suddenly he was overcome by yet another cancer-related complication, and just a few hours later with me at his side, he breathed his last and crossed the threshold between this life and the next. Instead of bringing him safely home to me, God brought him safely to our eternal home.
I am still in shock and devastated by this sharp turn in our journey, in such a different direction than we and many had prayed for and different than even Gary’s medical team had expected, although of course they are well aware that critical events can happen at any time. Yet I am also deeply grateful for the life we shared together until the end, for all the prayers and support that have sustained us, and for God’s abiding presence and mercy.
Rest well, my dearheart. Always yours.
People are like a breath;
their lives are like passing shadows.
Lord, tear open the sky and come down.
Gary was born in Vancouver, B.C., played many sports in his childhood and youth, met me in high school, was baptized into the church, married me just before he started law school, graduated and passed the bar, managed a running shoe store, earned a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. in biblical studies. He taught at a Bible school for over twenty-five years, then taught and supervised grad students at a Christian university. His research specialty was perspective criticism, and his latest project was developing an animated video series to teach New Testament Greek.
Gary was an innovative teacher and scholar, who met hardship with endurance and faith in God, and was unfailingly kind to others even as he went through hospitalizations and chemotherapy. He loved mentoring and encouraging others, watching and analyzing movies, running for fitness and even moreso for the sense of freedom it gave him, tending daily to his fantasy hockey pool, and being “at home with just us two.”
The positive thoughts and prayers of many within and beyond the church community and the expressions of care from family, friends, church members, health care workers, and even strangers have been a key part of this journey. In deep grief and deep gratitude, thanks be to God.
In lieu of a memorial service, please read the tribute and celebrate Gary’s life by giving blood, encouraging a health care worker, or doing some other deliberate act of kindness. Donations in his memory gratefully received by a charity of your choice.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Matthew 22:37, 39
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