Easter week for him

holidays are the hardest.

last Easter i went to church with him. my mom, sister and her family were here. dad was happy. reading and posting entries from the journal i kept last year, brings everything to the forefront of my memory. how it felt to hold his hand when we got the diagnosis. how it hurt to watch him cry. how i knew that i’d miss his snoring. Feeling Holiness touch me as I sat with him our last Easter.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. I wondered for a long time why it was called that.

Hebrews 12:1-3 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

i get it now.

For the JOY set before HIM he endured the cross…Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The JOY set before Him was US! MY DAD! ME!

Jesus Christ Died so we could live!

He chose to die because Life with US for eternity IS JOY! His CHOSEN JOY!

AMEN?!

 

Father, it is hard not to be sad. So very hard. I miss my Daddy…terribly. Thank You for calling me to journal his last year, and that You for asking me to share it. I don’t know who will read it, if anyone will, but I know the remembering for me is healing. If there’s anyone who needs to know it will be ok in the end…that mourning ebbs and flows like the tide, but you survive it. If anyone wonders how they will make it…I hope that by reading my messy thoughts, they see YOU! Your Hand that guided me through. Your hand that held us both as we walked the cancer path. Your arm that is now around my Daddy’s shoulders as he sits and talks with You. So, Thank YOU ABBA for loving my Dad and for dying to set him free!

HAPPY EASTER, FATHER!

 

 

I hope you are well, dear friend. Trusting Jesus when life is so hard you can hardly breathe, isn’t easy. maybe it is for some people, but it wasn’t for me. it was a moment by moment gasping-for-breath clawing-at-my-neck kinda of gasp for help. and it came in the gentle answers, the whispers of the Holy Spirit, and the reminders that God would never leave me nor forsake me. I could only be strong because HE is! and you can too, beloved. Just ask HIM. RECEIVE HIS HELP IN THE GIFT OF HIS SON, JESUS! Celebrate this Easter knowing that there is light at end of the tunnel. and His JOY is waiting for us!

 

i’d love to pray with you. comment and i WILL reply!

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Mar. 10, 2015 (beautiful bald man)

Mar. 10, 2015 (beautiful bald man)

3/10/15 

Uncle J has come and gone. As much planning for after was done, as possible. (I HATE THIS!!) Home care is set up for a few hours a week…maybe i can just be his child and make memories without the worry of up-keep on his house. 

I shaved his head today…the hair fell out more than was cut off. It’s just hair and I hope he was OK when we left. 

Playing it Day by Day is harder than it sounds. 

But JOY is a choice.

I made a spreadsheet of his groceries and meds tonight–just trying to prepare and make things easier somehow. I keep reminding myself that this is not happening to me. Dad has cancer. Dad is dying. NOT ME.

Yes, I’m sad. Yes, i wake up with “what if___” playing on repeat. Yes, I’m afraid. Yes, I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH HIM SUFFER. But, it’s not me who will suffer.

So, I’m praying for him as he says, “goodbye.” Praying that ABBA will be merciful and tat Dad will not suffer too much.

Uncle J said that he hopes Dad just slips away in his sleep and doesn’t have to suffer through it. AND I DO TOO! I think the watching of it will be the hardest part. Knowing i can do nothing.  

That “terminal” is ugly!

Be merciful, Abba! Let him say “goodbye” then take him home. Home where he will not be weak, sick, or in pain.  Help us to see JOY in the everyday. Will YOU live with him and help him see You in each day that he has left on this side of eternity. “Be Thou My Vision, Oh Lord of my heart!”

Mar. 6, 2015 (it hits the fan)

Mar. 6, 2015 (it hits the fan)

DAY 12: it’s been 7 crazy-been-hit-by-a-MAC-truck feeling days! We got the diagnosis of STAGE 4 SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER last Friday. Dad was admitted to the hospital at noon that day with chemo starting soon afterward. It is already in his liver, lymph nodes, fibs, spine…PROGNOSIS: 3-12 months give or take. 

Hearing the Oncologist say that Dad won’t recover…that the chemo will slow it down but kill him in the end, was the HARDEST THING I’VE EVER HAD TO SIT THOUGH!!

We all talked with dad (my sister, my husband, myself) and Dad wants to stay here, die here. 

It’s hard to process how I actually am. Writing down these facts is easy! The certainty that this is his last year with us is hard to grasp. Hearing him say, “i’m terminal” and telling my girls that he may forget who they are as cancer progresses. seeing him cry. it’s all so abstract.

Seeing his weakness where his strength once was…

Watching him watch my girls with eyes that aren’t ready to stop…

it doesn’t seem real.

like it’s a dream or a phase we just all happen to be playing a part in. Hoping that this will all be a nightmare we wake up from! We’ll realize we are being lied to and he’s actually healthy and hasn’t smoked for 40+years.

The sad thing is that this is reality. 

I don’t want to accept it! The thought of saying a final “goodbye” is haunting at best.

My uncle is coming tomorrow. I have to ask him what to watch for, what to expect, when to call everyone–THAT’S GONNA SUCK! But knowing that the plan is in place and everyone will try to come is helpful.

Mom called this weekend and they talked. Dad cried. it as a BEAUTIFUL moment! I left the room to give them some privacy. It was always my childhood hope that they would have a “happily ever after” together. Even after 20 years, those little girl tears came. 

Today has been Dad’s only sick day from chemo. I know it will prolong his life a few months, i just hope he doesn’t suffer from the side effects like so many do. I told him I’d shave my head for him, but he won’t ask me to. His spirits are still quite high all things considered. 

We’ve had two “celebrate life” parties this week. Mom’s idea 🙂 “Happy Tuesday” was a day of cookies, beaded necklaces, punch, party cups/plates/napkins, and glow sticks that turned into swords. Wednesday was “Shake Day” followed by Disney movies. It is such a joy seeing my babies care for him. 

I told my Mister last night just how much I HATE “OK” & “FINE”

IT IS NOT GOING TO BE “OK” OR “FINE”!!!

Different? YES! HARD? YES! CRAPPY BEYOND COMPARE? YES! 

FINE? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Will I survive? yes!

Will my dad be with healed with Jesus in the end? YES!

it’s the getting there that i dread.

yet, i will try not to dwell on these thoughts. I will live our new mantra:

“one moment at a time, making each moment PRECIOUS.”

Feb. 24-26, 2015 (roughness begins)

DAY 5:  Today was rough. I didn’t have a sitter, so I had the girls with me as I did Dad’s errands and took him to the doctor. Obedience is hard on N when worry is added. poor thing.

Priorities! my girls are my #2 and my Mister my #1. God is before him. Dad is #3. I can only do what i can do! ONE THING AT A TIME! My babies are not an inconvenience! NOW OR EVER!! N will learn to obey and A will learn how to share and be gentle with her words. We are all growing. I will learn not to react in anger an to breath before i act. It will be God’s mercy that brings us through. one moment at at time.

I talked with Dad about home health tonight. He seems to think he won’t need it. That he’ll be back to work in a week. I HAVE SERIOUS DOUBTS ABOUT THAT. 

 

DAY 7: no news from oncology yet. my uncle called today to ask what he could do to help me. i told him i don’t know. Only that I won’t be able to care for him if/when he worsens, even though my daughter heat feels like a jerk for saying it. I don’t want to look back and resent the fact that i COULD NOT! I know my family, especially my daughters, are my priority…i just feel like i should be doing more for him. 

After an afternoon of rest, I have decided that i cannot be my dad’s mother or his wife. i am not qualified to be his doctor. I too quickly lose my temper with him, which is unfair to both of us. So, I returned his car to him and STRONGLY suggested he not drive, letting us drive for him instead, although i know he will do what he wants to do anyway. I just hope he, nor anyone else is hurt. 

 

 

 

Feb. 23, 2015 (in which a song plays a part)

Day 4: Wow, ONLY day 4. Feels like much longer.

Dad is home and tiring easily, but I think his stubbornness is keeping him afloat. His wound (from where they drained his lung) is seeping less tonight. i’ve changed it 4x since we left yesterday. I’m afraid that i’m doing the bandage wrong. We packed i with gauze and wrapped an ace bandage around it this evening-his skin has been pulled off in places by the tape we used before. I did laundry and his running this evening.

I realize that this journal may end up like a list of things i did to help. maybe it will help me feel like i helped in the end. whether or not it feels like i am now. 

Every song on the radio today was about Grace and God’s tendency to Always use any situation for His Glory! I’m convicted that i’m not praying for healing, but i don’t know whey i’m not.

Maybe because “miraculous healing” doesn’t have to come with “cancer free” as the answer. 

Do I know it’s more than just “a little” cancer?  am i being pessimistic? is it just because i am preparing for the worst, just in case it is the worst?!

Regardless, this song is on repeat in my head. 

 

What if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if 1000 sleepless nights is what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life are Your blessings in disguise?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?

What if trials of this life: The Rain, The Storms, The Hardest Nights are Your Mercies in disguise?

(Laura Story “Blessings”)

In the end, Dad WILL BE HEALED! regardless of location. 

i don’t NEED to ask God for healing. GOD IS HEALER!

AND I NEVER WANT TO BE DISAPPOINTED WITH WHAT HIS CHOICE IS!

~S

 

February 20-22, 2015

February 20-22, 2015

Day 1: Tumor found in dad’s lung. fear & tears & lack of regrets. Realization that tomorrow’s never promised and ornery Dad is better than not.

Day 2:Still at Hospital. It’s noon and I’m watching listening to him snore with his mouth open. (He’s having a reaction to the pain medication they gave him, so they could do another biopsy. Sleep will help.)

When did he get so old?

That face with it’s wrinkles and gray whiskers are still “Daddy”in an old man’s body. 

I realize that God is redeeming our story. Slowly and in His way. It may not look like i want it to-with health, but maybe it’s more like a conversation. Getting to know the man who has always been there.

The first man I ever loved. 

It’s different seeing him without his “Superman” garb. HE’S JUST A MAN. I’ve known that all along…I just hoped i was wrong.

 

Day 3: Dad was released from the hospital today. Although i don’t think it wise, i know he will be more comfortable at home. 

We were told by the nurse that the tumor is cancerous and that the surgeon could tell even before the biopsy. We will not know to what extent it can be treated or if other scans need to be done, until we get results back.

I’m scared that I will be unable to care for him. That I will fail him and my own family, if i try. He is so stubborn. I fear he will do too much and end up back in the ER or I will find him dead. It’s hard not to imagine the worst case scenario when “cancer” is what we are discussing. I hate that I don’t believe that I’m strong enough to be doing this…making these choices…anticipating harder ones. 

This morning’s sermon was about worship and how we are doing God a disservice by not trusting Him. I’d like to say “I TRUST HIM!” Part of me believes that i do, completely. The other part knows that I’ve never had to before…not really.

 

 

how to share my pain (introduction to “My Daddy’s Journey Home”)

how to share my pain (introduction to “My Daddy’s Journey Home”)

 

2015-09-29 16.02.57he passed away 5 months ago, and there is not a moment that passes where i don’t miss him. the most amazing man i ever knew.

i’ve tried a few times to sit down at my laptop and share parts of our last journey together. maybe it’s the freshness of the wound, or maybe it’s just not knowing how to say what my tears so easily whisper. i don’t know….but i do know that if there ever was/is a safe place to share, it is in this space. this space that is mine. where my thoughts can flow and tears shed are left unseen.

so rather than just cry and type, these are excerpts from the journal i kept during his last year on earth.

this is the story of me holding his hand, tears running down my face, as i walked him HOME!