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In the Waiting Room

A small group of close friends ensured at least one of us visited, prayed for, and gave wise input regarding how to best serve Marilyn every day over the past few weeks. We were in the waiting room, knowing our dear friend would soon pass into Jesus’ presence.

An organizer, “Mare” had taken care of all the details necessary in preparation for her passing, even to planning her memorial service with her best friend, Jeanette.


When Mare first moved into a care facility we visited, talked, checked her incoming texts, massaged her arms, hands and legs with lotion, and exercised them to try to strengthen the paralyzed right side of her body. We brought flowers, desserts, cards. Several friends flew in from out of state to spend time with our friend. We were indeed a ‘posse’ in the waiting room, each member bringing their own gift of service.


After Marilyn was moved to a local hospital where she received excellent care, we continued in the waiting room, visiting, encouraging, praying, reading, massaging.


She was in a comatose state the last three days. The first day, I sang a hymn and thought Mare may have raised one eyebrow. At one point she opened her mouth and it seemed she wanted to sing along with me.

After that, no response. Jeanette, her best friend, was with her the last three days. Those of us who also visited prayed, read scriptures about heaven to her. And prayed God would mercifully take her home soon.

She left us Friday morning at 8 am. Marilyn is HOME.

Out of the Waiting Room – and HOME! “First Day in Heaven” painted by Egyptian artist Kerolos Safwat


I asked Marilyn recently if she was afraid of dying. “No,” she said. “I welcome it.” She had trusted God through various stages of cancer for about five years, and now she was weary. She looked at me, smiled broadly, and said “I just can’t stop thinking about Jesus.”

What a legacy. A woman who loved God with all her heart, soul and mind. A woman who walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death without fear. Certainly with pain, especially near the end. But not fear. Marilyn knew where she was going, and that our goodbyes would be temporary. She knew the Savior she trusted for many years would welcome her with open arms.

Our small Bible study group will be poorer without Marilyn’s studied input, her affirmations of love for us all. But when we see her again, there will be no delays in the waiting room. No wait in the ER before being admitted to the hospital.


The disciples were troubled when Jesus them He would leave them, but would send the Holy Spirit.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:1-6, ESV


We have no guarantees of when our lives may be snuffed out. Illness, accidents, death often comes without warning. Scripture says our lives are like a mist that vanishes in an instant. How many of us have lost a loved one without warning? While we are on this earth, we go on about our lives. We choose whether or not to walk with Jesus.

And at the same time we are in the waiting room until Jesus calls us Home. May we be ready by putting our trust fully in Him.


  1. Shirley Buxton says:

    I loved reading this piece as it blessed me in two particular ways. One was seeing the beauty of friends and other loved ones as they cared for a treasured human being. How dear and precious are such times. The other was the emphasis on the time when each of us will make our transfer, and at the last be Home! What a glorious day that will be.

  2. Amen, Shirley. “What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace.” And it is a privilege to walk with someone who is ready to meet God in their last days. Thank you so much, with love.

  3. Karen Kleinberg says:

    Beautiful tribute to our sweet friend, Marilyn. Your words are comforting and encouraging for all of us in the waiting room.

  4. Thank you Karen. She encouraged us and we worked together to encourage and wait with her. So glad to be part of her posse with you!

  5. Kate Miller says:

    And your ministry continues… From the first days I met you and you were encouraging a woman in one of the projects who had cancer invading her head, you have always been one to comfort and share. So glad you were able to sing with your friend during some of her last lucid moments on earth, and that she felt free to sing with you. The opportunities for serving and discipling in the Waiting Room are indeed new every morning.

  6. Kate, what a precious memory to share. I don’t even remember that situation. Thank you. Yes, opportunities are indeed new every morning, as is God’s faithfulness. Love you!

  7. Joan Young says:

    Carol bless you for your words “ in the Waiting Room”
    You were so there for Marilyn and loved on her like I so wanted to.!

    What a friend you were to by blessing her with your singing hymns to her, praying over her, your special touch but most of all your love.
    Thank you

  8. Joanie, thank you for your gracious comment. I know you were with Marilyn in prayer and love and spirit. We can rejoice together, knowing she is with Jesus and we will meet her again. I love you!

  9. Susan Jones says:

    Beautiful memories and what a foretaste of Heaven !
    Sisters in Christ! Who was more blessed, Marilyn or those of you who chose to share her homegoing !!

  10. Carol Loewen says:

    Thank you, Susan. Yes, the blessing went both ways! Love and miss you.

  11. Mary Wheeler says:

    Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Marilyn’s journey to eternity. I have read it several times over and am blessed to have known her. She was such a loving and beautiful woman of God and a passionate student of His precious Word. She actually seemed excited in knowing that she would see our loving Savior, Jesus, sooner than later. She is greatly missed.

    1. Carol Loewen says:

      Thank you, Mary. Yes, Marilyn was a unique and precious woman. And I agree that she was eager to see Jesus sooner rather than later. Thank YOU for being part of her posse!

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