Great courage and profound peace…

peaceDuring the last 8 weeks, I have been honored to witness how peace prevails in the midst of illness.  There are so many spaces that my parents could have lacked peace. Yet from the day of my Dad’s seizure to his unexpected death, through the diagnosis of cancer and in difficult conversations about if to seek treatment, the presence of peace was undeniable.

I remember my Dad clearly telling a Doctor who came into his room before his biopsy was even done that he doesn’t like to discuss all the “what if” conversations. He wanted to wait until the biopsy came back and then consider what we know to be true. He had a way of setting the tone and ensuring that my Mom and Dad did not clutter their minds and hearts with unneeded thoughts.

As my parents processed that my Dad had a life-ending diagnosis, it was clear to so many that peace prevailed. In their conversations, their communications, their presence, and their hearts their words carried peace.

Here are a few snippets from a variety of communications:

one of the things that has surprised me some is the calmness with which (so far at least) we have been able to accept the reality of what is.

We find ourselves in new space and are discovering that there are unexpected blessings also in these moments. 

We are mostly at peace with the realities thus far though still in some shock about how quickly and silently this has developed. 
We are walking a path where many others have been. We pray for grace to go on, and we do have peace in our hearts.
We also continue to be blessed by being surrounded by encouragers, family members, friends and helpful advisors. Most of all we rest in the providence of the Living God who holds in the hollow of His hand.

My prognosis will have to await further information, but we wanted you all to know that we are doing well, are grateful for each day, and rest in the assurance that all of our days are in God’s hands. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

IMG_2410I share this and record this, so we can always remember that my Dad did not fear the end of his life. He was committed to living one day at a time and trusting God to care for him, my Mom and each of us!

I am so grateful for how I have been reminded that to live in peace does not mean that life is without trouble. There are questions, and there is sorrow, there is uncertainty, and there is the hardship, but none of that can erode peace if our faith is strong.

My parents lived with great courage and profound peace in living and in dying.

 

 

Where to begin?

 

kindnessrock.jpgI have been overwhelmed with the amount of kindness that our family has experienced in the last week. It is hard to believe that one week ago we were all filling a hospital room as we awaited the end of my Dad’s life. God has been gracious to us all in the last week as we have journeyed a road we did not believe we were ready to yet travel.

At the start of this year, I had hoped to blog every day, or close to it. I started out strong, and then my Dad suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with an endocrine tumor that started in his lung and advanced to his brain. Life felt very different as we committed to living as normally as possible in a space that held a new kind of unknown. And yet we learned or at least practiced focusing on faith and living one day at a time.

There were many times I sat down to write during these weeks, but there was something that did not feel right about posting my thoughts, questions, and musings. Although there was nothing wrong with them, they crossed over into telling my Dad’s story, and it was his story to share. I wanted to respect the space he was navigating living with a terminal illness. And I so admired his commitment to focus on living and not some unknown prognosis of dying. But for that reason, I opted to set aside my blogging until a later time.

That later time is now here.

It has been important for me to remember why I blog.

I blogged about that once. 🙂

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In the coming weeks, I plan to record for our family history the journey of my Dad and his impact and legacy.

So many of you have graciously encouraged me to keep writing. I have missed writing, and when I write from those deep places of my heart, writing is both hard work and a tremendous opportunity to see God at work. I am ready to marvel at how God is at work, even during the difficult seasons we encounter.

Until tomorrow….

 

Oh how I will miss you…

Today I lost my Dad.

It feels really odd that it was only today. 2 am seems like so very long ago. So much has happened today and so many very kind people have shared words of comfort. The stories I read of my Dad’s impact around the world are inspiring and I find myself longing to ask him more about each name or face or experience you all shared.

I will never forget when my Dad’s cousin Joke said it looked as if I had walked right out of my Dad’s mouth. We had so many similarities and also our very unique differences. I find that my heart aches for the spaces I long to continue to learn from him. In the last 5 years he taught me to play golf and I feel as if I just recently began to hold my own and understand what club hits how far and what strategy is needed when hitting out of a variety of spaces. I will miss my golfing partner.

Your words have been such a gift and it has only been one day. My Dad’s death came as a surprise in some ways and my system feels like it knows it is real but my processing has to come up to speed. It is good to be with my family as we remember, weep, laugh, share meals and remember Papa in so many ways.

We are planning a private family committal service, a visitation and a memorial service. We are learning of friends who will fly in to share with us in the celebration of his life. We feel the closeness of those who live in our neighborhoods and are a part of the day to day life we carry out.

We are aware that he lived well, and how we would have liked him longer. We are aware he left such an impact in our world, and how we would’ve liked for his impact to continue. We feel that deep sadness, and we are aware of the gratitude that mingles with the sadness in almost every moment.

I lost my dad today, I am deeply grateful for his life. I will miss him, and I will live as he modeled: One day at a time!