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The death of my beloved wife

by , CMI Canada

Published: 26 May 2020 (GMT+10)
Clarence and Dawn

In these difficult times of a global pandemic, the reality of isolation, fear, and worry have become the new normal for many people around the world. They fear for their future, and many wonder how and when this will all end. Will the proposed ‘easing’ of gatherings, and the re-opening of businesses to restart the economy cause another surge in viral spread? Also, the question of, ‘Where is God in all of this?’ is probably raised more often than we might admit.

I understand some of these things. On March 13, 2020, at the great ‘surge’ of the global pandemic and as the world was heading towards a full lockdown, my precious wife of 32 years passed away from brain cancer. I held Dawn in my arms for the last five hours of her life, and then gave her back to the Lord at that dreadful moment of 2:25 am. Only four months earlier, I thought that she was a healthy woman of 57 years old, serving faithfully with me in CMI. In fact, we had only returned two days earlier from a CMI speaking tour when she went into a full epileptic seizure. Her brain was already being taken over by this malignant tumor. According to the neurologist, at that moment, her fate had already been sealed.

I still weep terribly for the loss of my loved one every day.

So, where is God in all of this pain and suffering? I am reminded of an article written by Russell Grigg back in 2009, Is Death a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? In this article, Russell shared his story of his wife’s passing and gives some helpful analysis:

For someone who had not intimately witnessed death before, nothing prepared me for the realization that the person who a few moments previously had been a living, loving, sharing, interacting wife, mother and grandmother, was now a lifeless corpse. From this point of view, death is a terrible, terrible thing. No wonder Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), even though Jesus knew He was about to bring Lazarus back to life.
This tells me three things about the holiness and love of God.
  1. How awful sin must be to a holy God that the penalty for our rebellion against Him is such a terrible, terrible thing as death.
  2. How wonderful is God’s love to us sinful creatures that He sent His own Son to pay the penalty for our sin by means of His death on the cross.
  3. How inconceivable is the theistic-evolutionary presupposition that a God of love would have used a process of death and suffering over millions of years to produce the first human beings.
When I wrote to family and friends to tell them of Merle’s death, I said, “Merle has preceded us all to heaven.” We who know Christ as Saviour and Lord shall all meet again when we see Jesus face to face. Children and grandchildren who know Christ will meet Merle again, even as I will meet my father and mother again.
But how awful must be the prospect for those who die without Christ …— Russell Grigg.

I also affirm that death for believers gives such hope for those of us left behind. Dawn and I have five children and with their spouses and our grandchildren (those born and those still to come), they will see their mom and grandma again some day. Death can do one of two things: It can separate for all of eternity, or it can be a temporary ‘pause’ until I can hold her in my arms once again. Even through all the tears, I am so thankful that in our situation, it is the latter of the two outcomes.

So, where are you today? Is your faith in the One who overcame death on our behalf—the One of whom the inerrant Word of God testifies? Or, have you been lulled by the waves of false teaching? Have you believed that old lie of Satan, “Did God really say … ?”

In times of pandemics, worry, fear, and uncertainty, put your trust in God’s Word. “In the beginning, God created …” If this is not true, then nothing else matters.

My hope is built on nothing less.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Jordan C.
Clarence, may the Lord Jesus Christ bring you peace in this time, as we wait until the day when we are all home and united with our brothers and sisters.
Rich H.
I wept as I read this story. Through my tears I just felt hurt and pain for your loss of your wife. Knowing that as believers in Jesus we in our toughest times, have the Holy Spirit of the Living God in our hearts. I dont even know you but I do love the CMI members and scientists that I have met. I thank you for your service to Him and for Him through CMI. Because of your diligence and steadfastness you have helped strengthened the “church” and help lead many to Jesus . May God make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.
Clarence Janzen
Hi Rich

Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful words. I have experienced the blessings of numerous people that have responded to this article, even though my personal comments to them will not be published. I still weep every day, the loss of Dawn has been the deepest waters that I could have never imagined. I am so thankful that she is with the Lord; her faith in Christ was unshakable and we have great hope for the future. I know that God is still good, even in the most hurtful things and especially when we don't understand.

I am also blessed to serve with some incredible Godly people at CMI and with many people in our church. It is my prayer that folks would love and cherish their spouses and families more deeply as it was Dawn’s final thoughts that her suffering would not be wasted. I believe that this prayer has been answered.

Thank you once again


Roy H.
Clarence Janzen CMI Canada
Thank you for sharing your recent loss, and yet promotion to Glory.
And thank you for the work of CMI. I have only recently found the work in Rugby and we have a good bunch of locals and itinerant professor and engineering speakers. I find the Creation Evidence very supportive of The Faith.
I was converted in 1980, March 9th. And it was very real. I worked on Mum and Dad for many years. Took me 3 years to get Dad off believing we came from monkeys. And a month short of being 91, in 2011, I got the news that he had passed on (brother called it ‘died’ but we know different). I was very sad, because I had prayed for him seriously and told him face to face “Dad, you are walking out of here” (he was in a home).
So I asked The LORD “What should I think of this?”
He answered quite plainly, “Roy, He is in a Massive Party. It is bigger than Christmas that has just gone. It is bigger than Songs of Praise. It is bigger than anything that you can imagine on Earth.” That changed my whole day—and it was the most victorious funeral I have ever been to. Even The Veterans came with their banners and did “The Last Post” for him. It was very moving. Dad was in the Royal Artillery in Belgium 1939, when the ‘Gerries’ arrived. He survived Dunkirk and went on to support the Convoys to Russia.
He is now enjoying “The Victory of Heaven”
I recently underwent surgery for an ‘Olfactory Groove Meningioma’—a big one—the surgeon was surprised that I survived. But I knew from The LORD that I still had work to do. “It was not my time to go.” I’ve had a supernatural recovery, and every root has gone. Praise The LORD.
And I am back in Action again—for The Kingdom.
Many blessings and Great Sympathy Clarence,
Don D.
As Jesus was in His last few hours before the Cross, He promised His peace to His disciples. I pray this for you too, Clarence. A friend of ours lost his wife in similar circumstances just last October. Ravi Zacharias’ son shared this after his father’s passing last week: “My heart is at peace because of where he is now. But my heart is still broken because of where he isn’t.” May this grief only reveal to you the depth of the love that you shared; may His grace carry you through these painful moments, each and every time another wave of sorrow hits you. Be blessed, brother.
Pamela T.
Psalm 12—the Lord is with you, watching over you in this time of grief. What a blessing to have been able to hold your wife as God took her home. My husband’s death was sudden—no warning, no preparation, no time to talk or say goodbye. I recently read a statement that has been so encouraging and hopefully will be for you as well. God is at the foundation and boundaries of my suffering. God will provide meaning and conclusion.
Praying for you and your family in this difficult time; may He give you his peace.
Ray C.
Dear Clarence, my heart goes out to you at this time. Yes, your beloved Dawn is with the One who is Love and you will be together again. However, this is not in any way a reason not to grieve fully for your loss. Our Lord will be with you in your grieving and will enfold you in His loving arms and carry you until you are able to walk with Him again with steady feet. God bless you.
Marilynne M.
We know Dawn has gone to be with the Lord. For her, it will be a new day dawning. You, who remain, have the hope in the Resurrection. Our prayers go with you. Blessings.
John D.
I'm so sorry for your ‘loss’, even though she’s not lost. But, so glad you have peace in knowing that we have a blessed Hope in the resurrection, and have a relationship with the Prince of Peace. May Jesus continue to hold you in His comfort and love.
John C.
Clarence, all of us who have passed through the deep waters of grief for a loved one in the Lord can empathize with you. We will be holding you and your family in our prayers. God has given you a skill in sharing your heart plainly, sincerely and from the heart of love He has put within you. Many, including Del and me have been blessed in you expression of your grief and your hope in the resurrection. You and Dawn, because you were one flesh before the Lord, have used your spritual gifting and sensitivity in your ministry through CMI over the years, effectively challenging the church to cling to the inerrant word of God, as it is written. You have also enabled your students to stand fast as you do. You have enlightened minds darkened by the lies of the enemy. As you continue to serve Him and us believers be assured that the “gifts and calling of the Lord are without repentence”. May He continue to bless us through you in the future as He has in the past. Thanx for your sharing, with me personally and now more widely in this timely article.
Clarence, I am so sorry for your ‘temporary’ loss. I experienced this same loss eleven years ago. My Hansi was diagnosed with a GBM two weeks after our return from a glorious ski trip in Austria. He lived for one year and one month from diagnosis. I thank God that despite the tumor, he remained mentally sharp and could talk with me about the Lord and Creation. May God bless you and keep you strong until you see your Dawn again.
Dejvi K.
May the Lord give you comfort and peace in these difficult times.
Joseph S.
God bless you and your family, sir. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story and I know you will see her again.
Michael S.
Thank you for this heartfelt outpouring of your heart, Clarence. I am so sorry for your loss, and at the same time grateful that, in the Lord, our separation is always temporary until, as you say, we can hold our loved ones in our arms again. May the Lord keep you firmly focused on him as you go through this time of grief. Lots of blessings to you!
Jose O.
A long time ago I stop trying to understand GOD’S will and I started just living under HIS wisdom.
I firmly believe that HE wants the best for us, and when it was hard the transit toward HIM, I did ask relief from HIM—and I received plenty of peace.
Steven C.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. We cared for my father-in-law, a WWII veteran, though his last year battling brain cancer. So we understand completely this tragic situation. Thanks be to God that all things will be restored for those of us who love Him!! Blessings to you and healing for your heart.
Thomas D.
On 16 March 2020, I found my 79-year–old wife Daphne (married 62 years and 15 days), sitting in her chair at about 8:10am; she had endured a massive stroke. This occurred during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Mental pain has been almost unbearable and I weep almost uncontrollably every day. The Hospitals were on lock down and no visitation was allowed. I only got to see her one time before she passed into the arms of Jesus on 17 April at 3:10 am, and I do not know what she must have thought of me for not being with her to the end. I take great comfort knowing I will see her again in Heaven with our families.
Thomas D.
I truly feel your mental pain and physical burden.
David and Charlyne C.
I’m so sorry! May God send the Comforter to bring you comfort and courage as you mourn this nearly unendurable loss. God’s promises shine brighter than ever. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15. I especially love the promises in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.
John S.
I’m very sorry for the passing of your wonderful wife. I pray God gives you comfort in this extreme time of sorrow and loss. You were blessed by this wonderful woman and she saw in you what a strong man of God you are. You know what the reasons are for death and what led up to it. You know it was not in God’s will, but by the love of God, we will have eternal life so spectacular it is a hope we cling to. A hope that pulls us through this life. Even in your deep sorrow you don’t blame God because you know what God and Jesus Christ did to get us out of this mess. I’m so glad you are among fellow believers at CMI. Again, my sincere condolences.
Linda R.
Our recent times have shown all of the world that our days on earth are not guaranteed and are very short. For some it can be a full life of 70+ years; for others hardly any time at all. The pain of having our loved ones wrenched from our side does not leave, merely dulls with time. But what it teaches us is that our days are numbered by God Himself and not under our control. What IS under our control is the decision whether or not we choose to trust Jesus Christ as our Saviour. If we do, we will be reunited with our loved ones with Jesus in Heaven. If we do not—eternity away from God and our loved ones looms ahead.
We do not know when our time is coming. Make the most of the time we have left; seek God and His Son before it is too late.
Robert S.
This article may be the most powerful article I have ever read from CMI. Thank you for sharing your heart concerning both your dear wife and your Lord.

May God’s comfort and consolation be fully yours.
Barbara P.
Very sorry for your loss Clarence. I too lost my healthy husband in 42 days from Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis until passing into God’s glorious haven. He will be one of 3 husbands in heaven. At first time is the enemy in grief but then becomes a friend. Grief remains but intensity lessens in time. Marriage for 28 yrs, 10 months and last 10 yrs has not changed the intensity of grieving. Finality of death hurts. God our creator lost all creation in one action by Adam and Eve and King Jesus made the way back to our Father’s Kingdom. So while we live out our precious lives here in His Kingdom our spouses are living eternity in God’s heavenly Kingdom. I like to remind myself of this reality and my sorrow can turn to joy for all 3 spouses and I’m glad there is no marriage in heaven. You can understand why. A little chuckle for all who read this one. cct
Bryan V.
I am reading this the day after Memorial Day here in the US. It is a tough day for me as a war veteran. On one of my deployments, I had the privilege of joining a group of hundreds of fellow military members in a Ramp Ceremony, where we honor brothers-in-arms killed in action with a send-off of sorts, loading them onto a plane to go home, where those closest to them give them a last salute. I reflect on the parallel of us believers sending off our fellow believers, sending them ‘home’ with both tears at our loss and joy at their inheritance (and our seeing them again someday). What I did in that ceremony, I do here: I weep with you. I hope to laugh with you when you laugh as well. Thank you again and know that you are supported and loved by God and the rest of us here still with you. I commend you on staying faithful by teaching us even during this difficult time. Well done good and faithful servant.
Beth S.
My deepest sympathy at the passing of your beloved wife. When I went through the death of a loved one the death of Stephen at the end of Acts 7 gave me such comfort. It is the only place in the Bible that I see Jesus standing up from being seated at His Father's side. I believe He went to welcome His son home with an embrace so full of love from His precious
Saviour. I know your wife would have received the same. God be with you till you meet again.

God bless
Wayne W.
Brother in our Lord Jesus. I am so sad to hear of you and your family’s pain. I am at the same time rejoicing in the hope you and we have that death is not the end of the story. It’s only a bridge on a path that leads to a glorious future where we will be like Christ for we shall see Him face to face as He is! Furthermore we do not mourn as those without hope because His resurrection guarantees ours and indeed the resurrection of our loved ones in Christ! You will indeed get to hold your beloved again one day and that joy will be made all the more sweet by the complete realisation that our Beloved has never let us go throughout our days of sojourn in this realm! May you and your family know His comfort and peace at this time.

Much heartfelt love to you all in Christ.

Wayne Webber
Joshua O.
Very edifying. Glory to the Lord Jesus Who has broken the power of death!
Lewis John G.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”—1 Corinthians 15:20
Kevin K.
Praying. 1st year of 1st is sooooooo difficult. I held my 13 year old son as he unconciously breathed his last after a 5 year battle with medulloblastoma. My heart hurts for your tragic loss, brother. Looming forward to the day of Christ! Thanks to God for his work thru you and Dawn.
Roslyn E.
My prayers are with you and your family. No mortal can offer you the comfort that only God supplies. May you have His peace and love in abundance.
Pauline T.
Hi Clarence
My heartfelt sympathy for the real pain of your loss while still here on Earth.
I lost my husband to MND about 2 years ago. As far as I know he was not a believer—but I’ve trusted our gracious Lord with him anyway for many years even before he was diagnosed with that awful disease. I know very well the our God is far more merciful than we generally reckon—so I’m trusting Him to do the ‘right’ thing with my husband anyway.
I want to thank you for sharing such a personal experience, and for putting it in the context of our God’s faithfulness, mercy and love. I hope and pray your brief article will be a tremendous blessing to all who read it—especially those faced with the reality of the loss of a precious one.
May the Lord God Almighty grant you His wonderful peace, comfort and assurance as you and your family grieve the loss of your dear wife.
Clarence Janzen
Thank you for sharing your kind words and personal story. It is my prayer that God will comfort and keep you as well.
Philip P.
Thank you Clarence. As someone who has been separated due to my wife's dementia I take great confidence in knowing that some day we will be together gain in heaven and it is good to be reminded by you and Russell that my faith in that is real.
Raewyn F.
So sorry to hear of your wife's passing. Sending you love and prayers from across the world in New Zealand. It is a huge comfort to know that she has just gone through another door and is waiting for you on the other side. May God truly bless and comfort you and may you feel His Presence in such a sweet way as you abide under His Wings.
Leon M.
Clarence, thank you for sharing your grief. Until we meet in the kingdom, I will never know you or your family or be able to hear your stories of your dear Dawn. Mittagong, Australia is too far away to personally hear your story. What a joy it is to have the assurance of eternal life with those we love and with our Redeemer. May the peace and grace of our Lord be with you to comfort you.
Anthony (Tony) L.
You have my deepest sympathy. I know exactly how you are feeling as I lost my wife and best friend of 52 years in March last year. My only consolation is that she is now home with her Lord, without the suffering she endured during the last months of her earthly life.
Clarence Janzen
Thank you, Tony, for your kind words and heartfelt sympathy. They are truly appreciated.
Laurie S.
Hi Clarence,
Thank you for sharing your story of love, sadness and hope.
We join you in your loss and empathise with your grieving.
Because of the Hope we have in Christ we can think back on all our blessings God has given you together.
May you be comforted at this time.
Bless you.

Terry D P.
Commiserations, from the Word of God (aka Jesus) made flesh:
«/ Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and I am life. If a man has faith in me, even though he die, he shall come to life; and no one who is alive and has faith shall ever die. Do you believe this?’ — Jn§11:25-26 /»
The Spirit of God breathed life into the lifeless body of Adam whom he had just formed from the dust of the earth (not through evolution). Later, the Spirit of God breathed life back into the lifeless Body of the crucified Jesus.
«/ Moreover, if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells within you, then the God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give new life to your mortal bodies through his indwelling Spirit. — Ro§8:11 /»
Amen. Praise God.

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