I see that the last post here was on the second of July. Much has happened since then. This site was to be primarily a place where Eunice could tell people about our lives and our work. Now it is my sad duty to bring you up to date.
Earlier this year, beginning in about April, Eunie began complaining of abdominal pain. Our first response to this is usually to self-treat ourselves for parasites. If that does nothing, then we go to see a doctor. After a couple of parasite treatments with no improvement, we consulted our doctor and he diagnosed, very reasonably, a duodenal ulcer. She seemed to be responding to treatment, so the doctor decided to give her the eradication treatment for the Helicobacter pylori bacteria which causes these ulcers. After the end of the treatment, Eunie became quite jaundiced. Everybody was alarmed, including our doctor, so we evacuated her to Cairns, Australia in the first week of August to find out what was wrong. At that time, she was still reasonably well.
I’m not going to go into the details of the course of events which began with a CT scan in Cairns and ended up in the oncology clinic of the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane. It suffices to say that my beloved wife of forty-six years, Enice Mae Messersmith, left her body behind and passed on to her reward on the eighth of September.
Eunie had become more and more ill over a period of only a very few weeks. All of us were shocked at the rapidity with which gall bladder cancer ravaged her. She was experiencing very little pain, even up to the last day. Her only pain medication was paracetamol. Eunie was lucid and communicative until the last couple of days, when the bile began to diminish her ability to think and talk clearly. At the end, she was experiencing pain and she was given stronger pain relief so that she could sleep. During that sleep, God brought her home. From the time we arrived in Cairns it had been only about one month.
After we left Cairns, we stayed at the home of our dear friend Val Jerram in Gympie, Australia. After Eunie passed, we sadly made our way back to Gympie in the company of close friends who had flown in from Madang and Vanuatu and had been present in Brisbane for several days assisting and comforting in every possible way. There we held a memorial service for Eunie which was attended by about twenty people who came from as far as Sydney.
My friends at the PBT office and in the community are arranging a memorial service here in Madang on October 9th. We expect to have several hundred people in attendance.
As Eunie had always specified that she wanted her remains to be in Madang, I set about to keep my promise to her. It would have been impossible to bring her body to Madang, so we arranged for cremation in Gympie. When I returned to Madang, I brought her ashes in my backpack. She will be buried on Kranket Island next to Bob Peaker, an MAF pilot who died in the service of our Lord. This is where she wanted to rest.
Needless to say, I am devastated, along with many others. Eunie did so much for so many that it is hard to think about what we will do without her. In our office, an amazing spirit is at work. We will carry on. In the broader community, where Eunie took on many tasks, plans are being made to continue the work. My own path is clear. God gave Eunie and I important work. We always promised each other that, no matter what, we would continue that work as long as we were physically and mentally able. Eunie kept that promise. She kept her hand on the plough until her body ceased to function. Even near the end, she insisted that the doctors fix her up so that she could get back to work.
How can I ignore her example? It is unthinkable. God gave me a job. He hasn’t indicated to me in any way that the work is no longer mine. I will keep my promise to God and Eunie. As long as I have strength to do so I will continue the work – to honour God, to honour our Lord Jesus and to honour my dear wife.
Pray for me.
I will write occasionally in this place. If you wish to keep a more detailed and wide-ranging view of my life, you can visit my personal journal at Madang – Ples Bilong Mi. It’s a little off the wall, but I keep it honest. I am trying to post there every other day. If you want to contact me, please leave a comment on a post; I reply to every comment. You can send an email to me by selecting “Contact Us” in the sidebar. I am also on Facebook; simply look up my name. Comments left here on Messersmith News may not be answered as promptly.