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Fiery orange flower petals with dewdrops on them.

Travel Guides: Carole Neal

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  • metin erdem

    My father; I begun to understand him better when I was a father. He suffered much from the many illness ; Heart , Cancer of Prostate and finally Alzheimer. As all fathers, he tried to do his best for his family. Now it is 7 year after his death. I remember the day of his death. He was lying on the floor. We were in shock because we were not expecting this death. I stood next to him and held his head. It was still warm. I can not forget the cry of my mother. I remembered the days with him . He was very strong when he was young, he was working in the construction sites but now he is on the floor and dead. I remembered the days when he was holding my hands and going to school. I said myself, the death comes from God and there is nothing we can do for it. All we need to do is to love our family and neighbors. We all family united when he was diagnosed cancer. We knew that we would not have much time together. So we spent more time together and visit different places he likes. We tried to live the peace and love of God. He was not so strong and could not walk. He needed support for walking. Today 7 years after his death, I understand better that the days that we all family had together was the most beautiful days we ever had. We are glad that we helped each other and loved each other during his illness. We sat and slept on the chair next to him when he had 45 days intensive care at hospital. We are glad that we shared the love and peace of God all together. We know that he died in peace because, he was a good man and believed in God and he spent his last years with his family . He was not rich but his heart was rich , he loved everybody and the nature as the creation of the God. What else a humankind can ask from God?

  • metin erdem

    I looked again and again to the picture of dear sister Carole. I remembered her smile and my days at Woodcrest workshop with her husband Dale. They were excellent people May she rest in peace. We will remember her . I like to share another story of mine if you dont mind. He was only 40 and was one of my best friends. We worked together 7 years in the same construction site. We were like brothers. We always call each other and talk about life and family. He had three children. One was only 10 months. He was working in a construction site and one day he did not feel well and thought he cought a simple flue. He had high fever and aches in his body and he went to hospital for examination. His blood test result was not good and he was diagnosed with the worst type BLOOD CANCER and he started to have Chemotherapy . But they could not get result from chemotherapy and he was put in intensive care . After 3 days later. He died Everything happened in a 5 days. He could not see his children either. We all friends and family were in shocked. Everybody said it was unbelievable and it cant be. We started to say '' I WISH I COULD DO THIS TO /WITH HIM ..!''. He was too yound and he had 3 children and his family needed help. We all friend wanted to help her . But how. We first understood that his family needed THE COURAGE for this schock. And we all tried to be with his family; We all visited his family and gave support to them. They were needed Support.Because it was unexpected death. We all friend wanted help them more. We knew that they needed some financial support. We collected some money for his family and gave it to his wife for her children. We again understood that how much the friendship and love is importand in our life . We started to say '' I wish I could spent more time wih him, I wish I would not hurt him for simple things etc''. It is now one year after his death and his family tries to live and try to raise the kids. Do you know ? When God gives a pain, he also help us to courage and power to stand for it. We all friends hold hands and try to decrease the pain of the family. We now look the life and world in different. The life is short. We need to love eachother and we should not hurt eachother for simple things. We should remember the friends and brothers and sister often when we all are healthy and good not at sick or bad time.

  • Mimi Goacher

    For many today was a long day while others found it quite hectic. None of us can rely on tomorrow as we know it. It may change our lives but however it turns out, firstly it belongs to God and we belong to him. He has a plan for it , for us. Illness is challenging and difficult and Carole writes so bravely and encouragingly of her experience whilst waiting for the call home. She is prepared. All of us need to as our today's and tomorrow's belong to God. It is normal to be afraid, shocked even when difficult news comes. Our Christian family, friends and prayer are an essential part of the journey.

  • metin erdem

    I am very impressed from the story of Carole Neal. I am still reading the book ''Escape Routes''. It tells about our inner life and my family. Yes my mother has brain tumor and get medication. We all family know that what we face is that comes from God. So we can not judge this. She has cancer, but we love her and the life that God gave us. We understood better that the most important thing in life is ''The Love'' . To love one another. May be she has not have much time with us. So we want to live today and love each other. Yes this showed us how much we are important to each other. We started to live all together every single seconds. The time is now more important for us. There is no plan for tomorrow but we live today. This was the real love and happiness. I agree with you brother Arnold. The happiness is not based on ''quality of life '' or limited by circumstances or genetic make up. The God holds whole world and we need to live the life he wants. One day everyone of us will die and the point is how you live the life. We need to live life as Lord Jesus taught us. Living simple in peace and love another.

  • Erna Albertz, Plough.com

    Thanks for reading this article. To kick off a discussion, here are a couple questions:

    1) Have you or a close family member faced a terminal illness? If so, what do you find becomes most important in your life?
    2) The article's author, Johann Christoph Arnold, states that "happiness is not based on 'quality of life' or limited by circumstances or genetic makeup." Tell us if you agree or disagree, and why.

In this excerpt from his book Escape Routes: For People Who Feel Trapped in Life’s Hells, Arnold relates the story of Carole Neal, a close friend who died of cancer.

To be gripped by eternity while still in the clutch of time; to live for heaven in a world that often seems more like hell; to live for love and humility in a culture that rewards selfishness, greed, and self-aggrandizement – this clearly demands a daily fight. It may be a spiritual one, but that does not make it any less real; for the irreconcilable forces of life and death often clash in painful, concrete ways. That truth is illustrated well enough by the stories in this book, but it was driven home for me by Carole Neal, a close friend who died of cancer. I’ll quote her directly, from an interview she gave a few months before her death:

When I found out that I had cancer, I felt somehow relieved – I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I had always been afraid of dying, and all of a sudden there it was, and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. Sure, I’ve gone to pieces over it since then. After the first bout of chemo, I felt this lump under my arm, and I just fell apart.

On the other hand, I’ve been almost frantically afraid of cancer all my life, but then when it came, right there, square in my face, I wasn’t afraid.… My husband, Dale, even joked that it would be a terrible shame if I died of something else, since I had worried so much about cancer all my life.

Still, you can’t just lie down and accept it, because it’s a deadly disease. You can’t just fold up and crash. You have to fight with everything you have. That’s why I went for chemotherapy. I felt it was the answer, because with chemo you’re really fighting the disease with everything you have. I was going to take the most explosive kind, you know – whatever it took.

Then I found out that the survival rate for my type of cancer was basically nil, one to ninety-nine. But I hadn’t asked, and I didn’t care. I already knew from my sister’s death [of the same disease] that the statistics were pretty bleak. So I said, “Forget the numbers. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life in bed, sick and vomiting and everything else. I’m going to live with everything I’ve got.”

What does it mean to fight for your life? Well, Dale and I start each day by reading the Gospels, and it absolutely blows my mind every time I read those words. Jesus did and said just what he felt, straight out. He loved everyone without reservation – the rich and the poor. And at the same time he tackled people when they sinned: with compassion, but straightforwardly. Not that I could ever do that. But that’s how I’ve wanted to live my life, with that kind of fervor.

You know, we spend so much of our time dealing with petty problems and thinking petty thoughts, and I’ve come to see that that just has to go. We hurt one another, and get hurt over little things. But it’s stupid – just plain stupid – to spend time on those things.

With cancer you begin to realize that you have to make use of every day; each minute becomes precious. Dale and I have talked about how we’ve probably wasted years of our lives carrying little grudges and things that we couldn’t work out, or struggling to find enough humility to confront a problem, or apologize, or whatever. So you’re going to think this is weird, but to me having cancer has been like an adventure, the adventure of my life.

The present moment – the time we have right now – is the same for you as it is for me or for anyone. It’s all we have. We tend to think, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” or, “I’ll wait till I have time to follow through on that.” But we actually don’t have tomorrow. None of us does. We only have today and we only have each other – the person next to us, the person we live with or work with. Seeing this has been a tremendous challenge to me.

I’m not saying we all have to be intense or energetic. But each of us has a life to live – and once we’ve found it, we ought to live for it. We need to be ready to give up everything else that distracts us from that – our plans, absolutely everything, in order to go after what we’ve found. To really live demands all your fire.

Statistically speaking, few of us are destined to share Carole’s fate; by the same token only a fraction of us will ever know the emotional burden of a conspicuous medical condition. Still, their lives, like that of every person whose story I have related in this book, carry a meaning that is greater than the sum of their suffering. Simply put, it is the truth that even if they are denied the worldly happiness bought by popularity, attractiveness, or personal charisma, they radiate a deeper, more lasting happiness – the happiness that comes from loving and being loved. This happiness is neither based on “quality of life” nor limited by circumstances or genetic makeup. In its light even the strongest feelings of self-hatred yield. In it, even the most wretched person can find his or her God-given purpose, and the deep satisfaction that comes from seeking to fulfill it.


From Escape Routes: For People Who Feel Trapped in Life’s Hells.

Carole Neal. Carole Neal
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Contributed By Johann Christoph Arnold Johann Christoph Arnold

A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, education, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities.

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