Whether you were a part of the original Facebook group or Susie and Mark's cancer journey is all new to you, Notes from Susie: Choosing Gratitude in Life’s Low Places offers something helpful to each reader. Combining additional material with the compiled and enriched Facebook posts written during Susie's illness, the book illuminates the Edwards' joys and struggles, all the while buoyed by recent and timeless hymns that assured them of God's presence.
As the final part of this blog series, we will highlight an exclusive excerpt from the Epilogue section of the book created by Mark Edwards to complete the story, add background, and lend future perspective to the reader:
It has been a few months since Honey died, and I continue to work through the grief process that, looking back, actually began soon after we received her diagnosis. Still, though, I catch myself trying to solve the unsolvable and unravel that which we will only "understand better by and by."
The last two years of her life were but a small slice of her otherwise beautiful and almost storybook sixty-three years, as well as our nearly forty-five years together. We were determined that this brief stretch would not define or detract us. We enjoyed recalling, reciting, and celebrating anew how God's goodness and mercy had, indeed, followed us all the days of both of our lives. We were both raised in good Christian homes; both navigated safely through high school; we found each other earlier on; we served three wonderful churches; Weslee and Nathan -- our children -- were/are wonderful; we have had good jobs, a stable home, enough money, good, good friends through the years, caring neighbors. The list is endless. Life has had its ups and its downs, its joys and sorrows, its curves and straightaways. But until March 2013 we had been pretty much spared serious challenges and difficulties that other couples and families face. By the grace of God, we were able to focus on and live in the light of all the joy and brightness that had characterized the vast majority of our days.
I am not ready to say that two years of painful cancer and ultimately Honey's death were God's plan, but I firmly believe that God is working good things in the lives of those of us left in the wake of her death. The opportunity to compile/write this book seems to be early evidence of God's "work for the good" for me. Reliving and scripting some of the story is emotional and even somewhat painful, but the greater portion is joyful and gratifying. We know not what lies ahead, so we are trying to trust the One who clearly does; frankly, there's some excitement in living expectantly even through the shadows.
My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn that hails the new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul – how can I keep from singing?”
- Robert Lowry, 1869
- Mark Edwards