this bittersweet journey

this bittersweet journey

my daddy went to be with Jesus on October 24, 2015. he just went to sleep, snoring like he always did. looking back these 7 months, rereading my journal, has been bittersweet. it brought some hard and some amazing memories back to me. being the caregiver to my father was not easy by a long shot. but it was a JOY. the day he was told that hospice was recommended, he looked at me and said, “these past few months have been wonderful.” we both cried. it was so wonderful getting to know the first man who ever loved me!!

i miss him desperately…every day. i have a tape that he made for me that i cannot finish for fear that there will be no more new words. i cherish EVERY SINGLE ONE!

at his funeral, i had the privilege to speak.

“I would like to thank you all for coming today to memorialize
this amazing man! I’d like to start with a few words from my children and from my sister:
My daughters will always remember the fun times they had with Papa during the summer in his
backyard playing with the water hose, the times that they had dinner with him, and his first Christmas
with us, where he stayed the night on Christmas Eve and opened presents with us.
My sister wants you to know that “ No matter what happened in life, she never doubted that Dad loved her.
she will always be grateful for that.”

We all grow up seeing our parents through rose colored glasses. Seeing them as perfect, as
heroes, as who we want to be. We, through no fault of our own, all put our parents on a
pedestal. The pedestals our parents sit atop of are never strong enough to hold them for long!
I placed my dad on one such pedestal when I was a little girl, and then life happened and he
fell off of that pedestal the same way I will someday fall off of mine. But the amazing thing about the
rose colored glasses we see our parents through and the pedestals that we place them upon,
is that it’s all made up. There is no pedestal and there are no rose colored glasses.
Our parents are just people who do their best to raise littler people who don’t come with
instruction manuals. We are all on our best day, winging it. Trying our best to love the best we can
and praying to God that He fills in the cracks.

There are many things that I could say about the amazing man that raised me…so many
things. Things like how much he loved donuts, setting off fireworks, joking around and doing silly
things, and how he loved to embarrass his children with his love of passing gas. But most
importantly, how much he loved us. I don’t know if loving us more was even possible.
3 years ago my daddy moved from the warmth of Texas to the not so warm Illinois.(I don’t think he
ever did warm up after I moved him up here.) The reason that he moved here was not just for me,
but for the two little girls that sit with my husband this morning.

Over these past few years
I have watched him fall in love with my girls, and I have watched them fall just as madly in love with
him. And without trying, I fell deeply in love with him too.
This past year was the hardest year of my life and my father’s, but I think it was also the most
rewarding. God changed us, shaped us, stretched us, and never EVER left us. I say “us”
because God allowed me to hold my daddy’s hand as he walked this path in a cancer ridden body.
God showed me the amazing man that my dad was. God allowed me to see him as he was
and to fall head over heels in love him.
He was a strong man, a brave man, a hard working man, a man who loved deeply. He was
a man who believed in his children and grandchildren. He was a man who loved his brother and
looked up to him as a friend. He was a man of simple faith who loved the Lord Jesus Christ with
all that he had! He cherished his faith and grew to love this parish and to cherish her priest.
I have been honored to be his caregiver, his eldest daughter, his partner in crime, but most
importantly his friend. His last words to me on this earth where “I will love you forever.” and
that was the best goodbye that there ever has been or could ever be.

I don’t know how to do this life without him. I don’t know how to raise my children, love my
husband, or even face a day on the planet where my hero doesn’t walk. Oh, but I look forward
“to the city whose builder and maker is God!” Where my daddy is singing in a rich baritone voice
praises to THE FATHER! and Before I know it I will be joining him!

beloved,

thank you for taking this journey with me. i pray that my words…my tear stained words helped you, even a little bit. life is hard. pain is real…oh but THIS IS ONLY PRE-LIFE! there is LIFE after death. no, not some weird mumbo-jumbo that Hollywood makes so much money off of, BUT LIFE!!

you have a choice where you spend it!

Heaven or hell…THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE!

i know that my father is in Heaven today. not because  he was a good guy, did good things, or even because he went to church! BUT BECAUSE HE GAVE HIS HEART TO JESUS CHRIST!

John 3:16- 17 says:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

and 1 john 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

now, you’ve probably heard it before: how “giving your heart to Jesus makes everything better,” and i’m not here to confirm that statement.

“BETTER” is a relative term, isn’t it!?

for me, this past year wasn’t “better” because i know Jesus. it was Hell on earth, to be perfectly honest.

BUT on my worst days, on the days when i yelled at my kids and wanted to strangle nurses. days when i wanted to MAKE GOD TAKE MY DAD HOME and then desperately wanted to just sleep…on those days i was a mess!

and the ONLY WAY i made it through them was because of Jesus and His sweet words in my ear.

His “you’re doing fine, baby.” and “it’s OK TO HATE THIS! I DO TOO!”

the ONLY WAY that i’m OK today is because my Daddy is ALIVE IN CHRIST! He isn’t dead…he is finally Alive because HE CHOSE JESUS’ FREE GIFT OF SALVATION!

so NO, choosing Jesus won’t make it “better”…it will make YOU BETTER!

He makes you Better!

He is the ONLY LIFE GIVER!

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

i’d love to tell you more about JESUS and all that He’s done in and for my life.

loving you,

s

Advertisements
10/1/15-10/11/15

10/1/15-10/11/15

10/1

what do you do when your instinct is to do nothing else?

“don’t put your life on hold.” BUT IF THAT’S WHAT LOVING HIM DOES, THEN IS IT WRONG?

WHO SAYS ANYWAY?!

Abba, i know that i don’t have to beg, but i don’t know if my asking will change your plan. BUT i’ll beg of YOU anyway: Please, in YOUR infinite mercy, take him home!! for his sake and for mine. i try to take “me” out of it, but i’m tangled in this mess along with him…my hand in his. not wanting to let go, yet seeing his deterioration. knowing how much he can take and that there’s not much more. so please, please ABBA release him from this shackled planet. 

i wish that i could draw! i would memorize his hands, the way he smiles, the curve of his ear, his cute bald head. how the chemo/radiation took all of his hair but a tuft at his collar. when the “all we have is time” starts to run faster through the hourglass, i feel myself running to stop it!

10/4

i see her on the other side of loss. i hug her neck and she whispers, “the pain doesn’t get better on the other side, but theirs does.”

i know an ‘eventually’ will come.

for her.

for me.

as our parents leap for joy in Glory, some day we will rejoice with them. but only as the missing of them becomes easier…

10/6

i saw him as DAD today. not as “my child” or my obligation or responsibility. but as MY DAD!

capable of making his own choices and decisions.

i’m not “taking care of him,” i’m just being here. maybe that’s what he means by

“____ will understand.”

I’m his child. He looks out for me and cares for my by saying “no” when a choice is his.

stubborn or not, he’s my Dad. I’m the child.

10/11

“Not by might, nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT says the Lord of Hosts.” Zech. 4:6

it repeats in my head.

NOT BY MIGHT

NOR BY POWER

BUT BY MY SPIRIT

SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS

my prayers have turned to begging. “please Abba, take him home!”

this part of cancer is not what anyone expects.

i expected the hair loss, weight loss, pain and sadness and RAGE.

not the excruciating pain where he asks me to literally shoot him.

i know it’s in jest…but some truth looks out of those blue eyes with pupils a bit too large.

he’s exhausted…begging for sleep to come…for just a few hours of relief.

hospice comes today. soon actually. maybe death and HEAVEN aren’t long in coming either.

i know that Jesus hears me…sees me. hears and bears ALL THINGS–even Dad’s cancer, pain, fear of saying “goodbye” for the last time.

“i don’t know what people do without Jesus.”

“me either, Dad. me either”

thank You, Abba for these months of healing for our relationship. for time to become his friend. “HONORED” ISN’T ENOUGH OF A WORD!! thank YOU that it’s YOUR TIME that we await. that as i go back and forth between, “i’m not ready to say goodbye.” and “take him home?!” that YOU KNOW THE DAY AND HOUR! that Your Spirit will usher him into Glory! OH, WHAT A JOY!!! To be free of Pain! To breathe easy and free. CANCER WILL BE A MEMORY. will he even care then?

and for us, Sweet Jesus, we will cling to the memories of laughter.

the girls doing his nails. 

silly parties with cupcakes, cookies, or balloons and silly string.

playing cards in the hospital.

his off color jokes that make ya giggle while shaking your head.

his gas. his laughter about them.

his face.

his hands.

his snore.

maybe those things aren’t by might or power either.

BUT BY YOUR SPIRIT too!

9/16/15 my memories…

9/16/15 my memories…

“I’ve decided to not be in pain…I’ve got to live while i have time.”

Dad said that today. 🙂 I told him how happy i was that he came to that decision. That i needed, my girls needed, as many memories as we can get.

we are at the end of treatment, and as i look back at this silver covered journal and i wish i’d have written more. not of just the CRAP DAYS, but of the memories that we’ve made along the way.

silly faces made at him during the hard times of treatment.

calling him a cat with the mange when his hair fell out in clumps 2wks ago.

my girls giggling at his antics and blatant farting when he walks…or stands…or moves.

our trips to the grocery store…buying things he just wants to try.

GREAT pictures taken at random.

watching him doze off and snore so loudly i want to plug my ears but yet don’t.

his craving for 7up and fried squash swimming in “more butter, please.”

looking EVERYWHERE for Patty Pan squash that apparently NO ONE has heard of in Illinois!!

how amazing My Mister’s parents have been!

driving down roads just to see where they go.

learning how to push a wheel chair without hitting the walls or taking out his elbow.

telling him that i’ll rubber band the loose skin on his arms to make them look young again.

playing the lottery AND NEVER WINNING!

Becoming his friend as I see him as he is!

Learning to love him…not because i’m his daughter and i have to, but because HE’S A GREAT MAN!

there are NO REGRETS! and a little less sadness than i’d assumed as we start to make 6month appointments that he won’t be here for. knowing that he will be in GLORY and i’ll be jealous of him.

7/30/15 (i was right)

i have to find my last birthday card from Dad. i realized last night that the things i will miss the most are his voice and his handwriting. i hate that i even think of these things, yet denial won’t help in the end.

i asked God to just take him last night. prolonging the inevitable seems harsh…but asking for the end seems even more so. it’s the watching and waiting that is the hardest to face. watching my hero turn into a frail dying man, hearing him say how “tired of it all” he is, how much he hurts, how sick of it all…saying “goodbye”, yet not.

I’m not strong enough to face more, not by half.

BUT i know that Abba only gives us one moment at a time for a reason.

will YOU help me to only focus on this moment and not the next? help me not to anticipate the pain that will the next one will be full of? Show me again and again how tightly You are holding our hands? Will YOU help me to feel that you are holding MY HAND? Thank You for daily reminding me that YOUR GRACE IS SUFFICIENT.

 

5/17/15-6/15/15 “we are a vapor”

5/17/15-6/15/15 “we are a vapor”

James says:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.

We ARE  A VAPOR!

we appear for a little time and “vanish away”, that’s how the NKJV reads.

modern medicine is such a catch 22! we take drugs to prolong a “vapor.” Chemo then radiation…then what?!  will it even matter in the end?

this is such a hard road…a CRAP filled road!

i told my girls today that Papa would not get better.

I never want to EVER lie to them-either by omission or blatant lies.

But listening to their gut wrenching cobs was devastating. I SO WISH I WAS WRONG…that cancer isn’t what it is.i want to shield them–hold them away from the pain that is lurking in the shadows. but i cannot. I know that ABBA will hold them together just like he is holding me.

i hate this…all of it! FOR US. for my friends who are hurting…for my Daddy. i hate it that so many of us know the craptastic pain that cancer brings.  I hate that my Dad cannot be on chemo forever…that we found it too late.

i hate that after so many years spent unhealthy in our relationship that i only get 4 SHORT YEARS with my Daddy.

I HATE THE enemy!!

 

Come, Lord Jesus! Rescue us from all of this pain, sorrow, wrong that is this planet and short pre-life. Come and bring us life! Sooner rather than later. I am so glad that this is just a drop in the bucket of FOREVER with Jesus! That this is a pre-life VAPOR! Will You help me to empathize with the hurting? To love people to You? Use this love, this pre-life…that it would be worth something…even when my Daddy’s finally more than a just vapor.

 

 

 

4/30/15 THE WALL

4/30/15 THE WALL

4/30/15: 

THE WALL is high

it’s steep

it’s rocky and ugly

gnarly and scary. 

yesterday i snapped and crumbled before it. screaming, crying, throwing EVERYTHING i had at that WALL! my anger, however, did nothing to it! It just humbled me and showed me more of my weakness.

sometimes even the most solid in faith need help!!

Anxiety & Depression are nasty foes that follow the messes of life. the enemy knows our weaknesses…maybe even better than we do. and HE IS A THIEF!! THE LIAR! 

he may have won a battle yesterday- BUT HE WILL NOT EVER WIN THIS WAR!!!

my “plate may be full”…live may be crazy and stressful but i am HELD in Abba’s arms! HE is shielding me! Giving me the strength i need is this moment. and this one. and this one…

Tears are NOT WEAKNESS!!! GIVING UP IS!!

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the rest of this entry is full of Scriptures that God taught me to cling to for the next 6  months. Cling to them as well, beloved!

Philippians 4:8 THINK ON SUCH THINGS! (true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy things)

Ephesians 6: 10-12 “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty Power. Put on the full armor or God…”

Matthew 6:34 “Don’t worry about tomorrow…”

Psalm 1:1 “…meditate on His law day and night.”

Psalm 139:23-24 “He lead me in the way everlasting…”

1 John 4:18 “There is now fear in love. But PERFECT LOVE casts out fear.”

Matthew 6:25-27 Don’t worry about your life

Psalm 119:105 “His word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.”

Psalm 139:14 His works are wonderful

Isaiah 49:16 I am engraved on His hands!

Psalm 23:4 I will fear NO evil!

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and salvation. Whom shall i fear?

Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge & shield; I have put my hope in Your word.”

Psalm 91:1-2 He is “in who i trust.”

Psalm 112:7 Trusting in the Lord with a steadfast heart.

Isaiah 41:13 He holds my hand.

Isaiah 51:12 He comforts me.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NO WORRIES!

Joshua 1:5  I will never be left of forsaken!

Matthew 11:28-30 “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Galatians 6:9 Don’t grow weary in doing good.

2 Corinthians 10:5 “take captive every thought to make it OBEDIENT TO CHRIST.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 HE IS THE FAITHFUL GOD

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 LOVE NEVER FAILS!!

Abba lead me to a fellow blogger (http://thehumbledhomemaker.com) when i needed these scriptures listed for me! all references written out here.

4/24/15 hard day

4/24/15: yesterday was hard! i felt very alone and unable to call or text anyone. somedays i just need to feel and not have to be right in those feelings.

round #3 of chemo was yesterday. dad is delusional/in denial about chemo “healing” or curing his body. STAGE 4 HAS NO CURE!  sometimes i think he knows that…others i’m not sure.  it doesn’t matter in the end anyway. ABBA has already determined his DOD. not amount of treatment will stop or prevent that appointment.

in a RAGE moment last night i said, “prayer does nothing.” My mister knows that I didn’t mean it! But i’m still not sure what prayer does. 

does it change me? Yes.

does it change God’s mind? i don’t think anyone has that power.

we pray all the time as Believers, yet i’m still so unsure of why. I can’t even describe or define my thoughts on prayer. may it’s not important that i know how or why it works…only that it does.

 

 

i’m learning and seeing so much about myself while watching and being with dad. my rage moments are a trait from him. my interrupting and commandeering of conversations are from him too. 🙂 when i catch myself “elaborating” on the truth…that’s from him too. my indecisiveness is also his. AND MY LOVE OF MY FAMILY…THAT’S HIS TOO! 

it’s crazy how much God shows us of ourselves as we watch others. maybe that is the “no man is an island” thing that people say. “I learn about me from watching you…”