“Bum” … “Rats”

by DanWolgemuth on February 24, 2012

It had been over seven hours since my brother Robert had seen his wife Bobbie, and in that time she had undergone a massive surgical procedure to her mid-section. Her anesthetically induced oblivion was now melting away.

Roughly an hour before, the highly-skilled doctor assigned to Bobbie’s case had provided Robert with the diagnosis. Now it was Robert who would convey the results to his wife. Robert walked into a largely vacant recovery room, daughter Missy at his side.

As Bobbie was stirring, Robert moved his face close to hers. He kissed her awake. Nearly forty-two years of marriage swept through the tenderness of their touch. “Do I have cancer?”

Bobbie’s question in a whisper almost shouted through the quiet and across the landscape of life.


The most difficult “yes” Robert had ever spoken.

“How bad?”

“Stage four.”

Bobbie didn’t weep or shriek… out of the silence she layered two simple words.

“Bum.” Then moments later, “Rats.”

There weren’t even exclamation points behind them, just the heartfelt desires of a wife who dreams of the hoped-for graying days with her husband. Just the ache of a woman who relishes the thought of continuing to celebrate the beauty of knowing Jesus. Of having a front row seat to cheer as her two adult daughters continue to grow in their marriages, gaining wisdom as they raise their own teenagers. A soul that pictures herself walking down an aisle as the grandmother of a beautiful bride and/or a dashing groom.

Bobbie’s reaction came from a heart at peace, a woman anchored – her lips cursed the serpent, even as her words condemned the liar.

“Bum.” “Rats.”

The stench of cancer will never reach the nostrils of heaven, but until then… “Bum.” “Rats.”

“For all the promises of God find their yes in him. “  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV)

Even the “yes” that painfully crossed Robert’s vocal cords ten days ago connected Bobbie and their entire family to the promises of God.

But for now, on this side of glory, while we still wander across the wilderness…

“Bum.” “Rats.”

Thank you Bobbie for providing such a vivid commentary of life and living and loving, while your soul remains anchored. We love you. We echo our own translation of your expression, but like you, because of you… we echo it without renouncing our claim on victory.

For now, we pray.  Boldly.  Perhaps selfishly.  For you.  For Robert.  For Missy and Jon.  For Abby and Luke and Isaac.  For Julie and Christopher.  For Harper and Ella.

In hope.  Always in hope.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lois Stone February 24, 2012 at 5:49 PM

There is nothing to say, only the tears but also the joy of knowing our Father makes no mistakes and is surprised by nothing. We will keep you in our prayers as well as your dear, dear family. May His peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds fixed on Him. We fought alonside our dear niece for four years not so long ago, she went to her Savior’s arms on 9/11 and we do not ever wish her back on this earth.


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