Angi Is Gone

Angela BrentonShe slipped away to her next life sometime in the dawning hours between 4:30 and the next time I awakened at 7:00.

She suffered terribly these last couple of days, but that is now over.

Peggie Angela Laird Brenton departed this life, officially, at 8:30 a.m. EDT when the hospice nurse checked for heartbeat and called the time.

I slept poorly last night and am exhausted tonight, making all the decisions and trying to think of all the things one must think about when a death has occurred and you are buying a house and people who love you are begging to help while you dash off the next morning on a 600-mile trip to arrange for a funeral and mourn and bury your wife; help her mother in her choice of whether to stay in Little Rock, go on back to Texas to live near her nephew, or return home with you and your daughter.

Your daughter.

Whose seventeenth birthday is today.

Laura is resilient. She is young.

Harriette is much older and so fragile.

I’m pushing the outer envelope of middle age and I’m just broken.

Angi was just a little older than me. In the prime of health and life. Careful about her habits. Far more faithful to check with her doctor than I have ever been. But nobody could have seen the cancer exploding within her.

It came on so fast. She was just diagnosed two and a half months ago. She just entered hospice home care a week ago today.

One week.

And all that beauty, loveliness, brilliance, compassion … you who know her, you fill in the blanks. You’ll fill up pages of them.

It’s all gone.

Gone, except in our hearts.

My wife. My love. My very heart.

When I can write again, I’ll write about borrowing wisdom. Because I don’t have any wisdom anymore. I don’t have wise words or answers or platitudes or a systematic theology that covers this subject.

Just an ache and an absence and an emptiness and a loss.

So many friends have reached out to say, “I have no words.” They’re so right. There are no words.

Right now, there can only be dust and ashes and sitting in silence.

Thank you for your prayers, and sitting with me in the ash heap, and for handing me a fresh potshard from time to time so that the wounds may be scraped clean.

51 thoughts on “Angi Is Gone

  1. I have no words either. But those I can come up with I’m offering to God tonight, praying earnestly that he will provide salve to the pain you feel right now. I am glad that his intervention is not contingent on any clever combination of words that any of us is able to summon.

  2. Keith, I am so sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to you. I did not know you were going through this, as I did not catch the previous posts. Praying for you and your family.

  3. I loved working with Angi; she was so sharp, caring, and godly. May God bless you with comfort and strength in this difficult time.

  4. Have you in my prayers Keith. May you find our Lord faithful in keeping his promise that those who mourn will be comforted….

  5. Pingback: Silence for Angi | Thinking Out Loud

  6. Keith, my heart aches for you, my brother. I share your grief and your tears. Just about six months ago I was going through much the same thing as you are today, so I have some understanding of what you are going through. I know how much you are going to miss Angi, and time will not make the sense of loss go away. Just know that faith in God and the help of friends will get you through. My prayers are with you.

  7. Keith, Jimmy & I are sitting near the ashes with you. We love you—that, & prayer is all we have to give you any sort of relief.


    Sent from my iPhone

  8. I lost my brother to cancer a little more than a month ago. We had more notice than you. He had fought back valiantly for 15 years, but even with all that time to consider, the feelings are no different than what you’ve so eloquently and accurately written here, the pain no less deep. Words seem incapable of expressing the hurt within you.

    My prayers go out to you and your family in this time of grief and bewilderment. May the raindrops of peace wash over you and your loved ones.

  9. Keith:
    Although we have never met, I have been inspired by both the humanity and the spirituality of your writing. In this time of grief and loss, when your humanity is hurting beyond measure, may your spirit seek and find the peace of God that transcends understanding. Strength and comfort to you and all who share your loss.

  10. My heart is breaking for you and your family. Angi was a gifted speaker with a heart for Jesus and now she is in His presence!

  11. Keith,
    As a wife with cancer, your touching post leaves me in tears for the husband,children and grandchildren I will leave behind. I have a little more time to prepare them than your Angi did,but it will never be easy, will it? My heart goes out to you and I will pray for you and your family in the coming days.

  12. I remember Angie so well at OC. She was then known for her high intelligence and left the rest of us behind. I send my sympathy to your family in this life-interrupting loss. God WILL be with you.

  13. Keith, Matt, and Laura,
    What an amazing woman! But you already know that. It was her great joy to be married to you, Keith, and her greatest delights were Matt and Laura. She knows she was chosen by God to be your Mom. I join in your grief for this terrible loss and lift you in prayer. Angi was a dear friend, a great mentor, and a brilliant woman. She is one of the great influences in my life. She is too soon gone, and while her daily activity will be missed, her presence will last forever.

  14. I am so sorry for your tremendous loss! I too join in your grief and know that she was loved by so many. My prayers for your family will continue.

  15. I’m so sorry. Thinking of these words… “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” May He comfort you and your family.

  16. I’ve wanted to comment here for awhile now, but just didn’t know what to say.

    That hasn’t changed. I still don’t know what to say.

    I don’t expect that to change at any point in the near future.

    But still I had to leave a comment here.

    I had to make sure you know that I’m here, with you, in the ash heap.

  17. Pingback: On Her Own Terms | Blog In My Own Eye

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