My niece Kristin, is 26. She has battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma for a number of years, and her battle is coming to an end. They gave her 6 months to live, and she’s passed that milestone.

But she probably won’t be with us much longer.

This morning, I woke up thinking about what I could have done better in how I treated her. I started first by looking at what I didn’t like about her. Doing this was difficult for me given her current condition.

What came up in me was how spoiled I thought she was, how her mother, my sister, doted over her all her life. Even though she was a good girl, it used to upset me to no end.

The upset says more about me than it does my niece or my sister. Maybe I was upset because I believed I never got that kind of love and attention. Maybe I was upset because she spent a lot of time thinking about her needs and wants. Maybe I was upset because I projected that I wanted her to be independent.

Maybe I was upset because I saw that her mother never had much of a life after she was born because she was doing all of the doting on her daughter.

Maybe all of that. Maybe even more.

But they all could be excuses in me.

From the lens of her dying, all of these beliefs, thoughts, excuses… they all fade into another realm.

A new perspective seems to be very clear in me right now. This perspective is a huge reminder to not too harshly judge anyone.

The new perspective is that maybe God knew that she would only live a third of her life. Maybe God wanted to give her as much love, attention, mothering, and the things that she wanted in life compressed into her short 26 years.

It would be great to have hindsight beforehand.

What would I have done differently if I had to do it over… I would have likely left her and her mom alone about the doting, kept my well-meaning but unwanted advice to myself. I would have just allowed things to be as they are, be okay with whatever happened.

And I would have been more giving to her myself.

What do I do for others from here on out… I do my best to remember that each of us has a Cross to bear in some way or another. And none of us get to judge whose Cross is harder or worse or more difficult or more easy.

I might even do this for myself as well. I could use the self-forgiveness.

While I was writing this, my aunt (who has been more like a close older sister to me) called to let me know that the test for cancer on her lymph nodes came back negative. She just found out last week she had breast cancer and had a fast mastectomy a few days later. We’re all thankful.

Remember we never know…doenst mean its a licence for you to put up with abuse…but you never know