The last tape
Rebekah was only 32, admitted for chemotherapy after breast-cancer surgery, When I entered her room it took me a moment to spot her amid the bouncing forms of three giggling little girls.
I told Rebekah I would be her nurse and she introduced her husband, Warren; six-year-old Ruthie; four-year-old Hannah; and two-year-old Molly. Warren coaxed the girls away from their mother with a promise of ice cream and assured Rebekah they would return the next day.
As I rubbed alcohol on her arm to prepare it for the intravenous line, Rebekah laughed nervously. "I have to tell you I'm terrified of needles." "It'll be over before you know it," I said. "I'll give you a count of three."
Rebekah shut her eyes tightly and murmured a prayer until it was over. Then she smiled and squeezed my hand. "Before you go, could you get my Bible from the table?" I handed her the worn book. "Do you have a favorite Bible verse?" she asked. "Jesus wept. John 11: 35." "Such a sad one," she said. "Why?"
"It makes me feel closer to Jesus, knowing he also experienced human sorrow."
Rebekah nodded thoughtfully and started flipping through her Bible as I shut the door quietly behind me.
During the following months I watched Rebekah struggle with the ravages of chemotherapy. Her hospital stays became frequent and she worried about her children. Meanwhile I continued to contend with raising my own kids. They always seemed either out or holed up in their rooms. I missed the days when they were as attached to me as Rebekah's little girls were to her.
For a time it had seemed