Rebecca Beaton succumbed to cancer after a 30-month battle. She was 36. Photo courtesy of the Beaton family

Francis Campbell: Jesus was definitely there through Becky’s journey

  • May 30, 2018

Gone prematurely, remembered always.

Rebecca Maureen (Becky) Beaton passed away early one mid-May morning after a gutsy 30-month battle with cancer. Becky was just 36 and I was proud to call her my niece for that seemingly brief period of time.

It’s difficult to wrap your head around God’s plan when someone so young, someone so full of life and potential is taken from us.

The first and often lasting inclination is to question God. The query or accusation is not unlike Martha’s discussion with Jesus after the death of her brother, Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha said to Jesus when He arrived late despite having been summoned while Lazarus was still alive.

Drained, frustrated and angry, family and friends likely revisited the question of Jesus’ whereabouts while Becky was giving everything she had to combat the illness.

In the case of Lazarus, Jesus was always there despite the physical separation of the two friends. Upon arrival, Jesus restored Lazarus to life and prepared him for eternal life.

Jesus was there when Becky and her family explored every option to turn things around. He was there when her father, mother and three younger sisters spent countless hours with Becky, comforting her physically, emotionally and spiritually and assuaging her fears about what was happening and what lay ahead.

Jesus was there when Becky and her fiancé delved into what could be and what would be. He was there when a close friend launched a successful GoFundMe campaign to provide financial help for whatever needs arose for Becky, especially medical tests and procedures that were performed far from her home base.

Jesus was there in the final months and weeks when her parents and siblings cared for Becky in the family home, where she had enjoyed her formative years. He was there when selfless Cape Breton neighbours brought gifts of food, prayer and moral support to the home.

Becky treated the people she encountered equally, with respect and understanding. Consequently, she easily forged true and lasting friendships. And Jesus was there when a significant number of the genuine friends Becky attracted from her days at school, university, community college and in the workplace flocked to see her and shared heart-warming Facebook posts of what Becky meant to them.

Jesus was there when Becky’s caretakers doted on her every need. He was there when the local priest, busy serving four far-flung rural parishes, stopped by regularly to visit Becky. Jesus arrived with the cancer doctor who called on Becky weekly and He stayed on while the most attentive of palliative care nurses worked tirelessly day and night with Becky.

Jesus was surely there when Becky’s parents rallied close family members together for a nightly prayer vigil at Becky’s bedside.

And Jesus joined the hundreds of sympathetic relatives, close friends and community members who said their goodbyes to Becky at the visitation and the funeral. He was there, too, at the cemetery for the interment prayers and to welcome Becky into eternity.

For those closest to her, particularly her parents and sisters, life will never be the same. A part of them has gone with Becky. Those who loved her most deeply and intimately shared in her thoughts, hopes and dreams feel the pain of her loss most profoundly. For the uncles, aunts, cousins and friends who played a peripheral role in Becky’s life, the pain is less intense but still twofold — sadness at the loss of a special, intelligent and vivacious young woman, and empathy for her immediate family members who bear the brunt of that loss.

Becky left us much too early and the tendency is to concentrate on the life that she was unable to live, the potential left unfulfilled. It is far more comforting to focus on the life she did live and the things she accomplished.

She was a loving, caring daughter, an exemplary and shepherding older sister and confidant to her three siblings and a friend to everyone she met. Becky packed a lot of living into the short years she was afforded. She graduated from university, then from community college. She worked hard to pay off student loans and took time to satisfy her passion for travel with trips to all parts of the globe.

She set an example for all of how to be a true friend and how to stick with something until it was completed. Becky’s sister wrote in her obituary: “She continually exceeded medical expectations. When told that she had only weeks, she made them months. When told that she only had days, she made them weeks. She wanted to live, and she made herself a living miracle for as long as her body and her will were capable. She amazed us all.”

Becky’s is a life that was much too short in the estimation of those left behind. Still, her legacy is a life well lived, a family well loved and enduring friendships well cherished.

Well done, Becky, good and faithful servant.

(Campbell is a reporter at the Halifax Chronicle Herald.)