Carole lived with everything she had – and saw to it that others did the same

Carole Neal

Carole Neal 1943–1998

Just weeks before Carole died of breast cancer, she was still going to work in her office at Rifton Equipment. Above her desk hung a sign with the motto CARPE DIEM!

Having struggled with depression most of her life, she once told her husband, Dale, that “compared to depression, cancer was peanuts.” In fact, she initially laughed off her diagnosis. “We joked that it would be a terrible shame if I died of anything else, since I’d worried about cancer all my life.” Carole first fought her illness successfully with chemotherapy. Later it returned, but she declined further treatment: “I’m not going to spend the rest of my life in bed, vomiting. I’m going to live with everything I’ve got.”

Asked for her thoughts about death, she said: “I’m leery of any emphasis on the hereafter. I say, forget the holy prayers. The best way to face death, I think, is to live.” She banned hymns from her bedside in favor of the sounds from the volleyball court outside her window: “I need energy, strength for the fight. The fight for life.

Let us give up our work, our thoughts, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into His hand, and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about, or to make trouble about.
Hudson Taylor, physician and missionary

Meanwhile, she saw to it that Dale would go on living too. In a letter to a pastor shortly before her death, she wrote:

I know this may seem strange or unusual, but I have given Dale my wedding ring. I cannot see putting it in a grave. I want him to remarry, and we have talked openly about this. It is a mystery, something I hardly understand – giving Dale up and yet feeling so very close to him. . . . I am sure that if we really live and die in God’s will, our hearts will be together forever.

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