September 30, 2010

Notes to Glen

Funerals serve the valuable purpose of bringing closure for surviving family and friends. Gathering loved ones together amidst a time of grief and sadness, it helps us move toward greater healing and acceptance. Unfortunately funeral ceremonies primarily revolve around adults, providing little for the children who have suffered loss as well.

With this in mind our family decided to add a children's event to the end of dad's funeral. Sparked by an idea from Calvin, my sister's six-year-old grandson, we wrote notes to dad and sent them off in balloons. Calvin's mom, Jeanna, brought a portable tank of helium and all the supplies for the little ones to write their own note.

Using a classroom off the gym, she set out the supplies so that after the dinner we could help the children write notes to their great grandpa. A funny thing happened in the process though. As we helped the kids with their notes, the adults began writing messages to dad too.

Just before launching.
Calvin (the idea man) is far left.

The launch.

God's beautiful day.

The balloons clung together until
we could no longer see them.

What a wonderful way to close a funeral. The balloon messages provided closure for both young and not-so-young. We couldn't help but smile as our notes ascended into the sky. One day we'll see dad in heaven, until then he is resting in God's arms fully healed and restored.

This little event turned out to be one of my fondest memories. Thanks Calvin for your wonderful idea!

September 27, 2010

Missing Dad

Six days after dad was put on hospice, he went home to be with the Lord. My brother, sister, and I spent the last three nights with him at my brother's home since he was so short of breath. We knew congestive heart failure was taking his health but had no idea his time was so short.

I'd spent Sunday night (the night before he died) with him and he seemed to have rallied. In fact early Monday morning he looked so good I offered him coffee and toast, which he gobbled like a starving refuge. The next morning I told my brother I knew dad needed 24-hour assistance but I hadn't done much for him that particular night. The next night proved a different story, however, when my sister called at 1am asking if she could give him more medication to help him breathe. I gave her instructions, then waited and wondered if it provided him with any relief. I assumed it had but still could not sleep. At 2am she called and told us dad had passed away. His struggle to breathe had taken its toll on his tired 86 year-old body. He could no longer take the strain and died in my brother's home with his eldest child by his side. He knew he was loved.

With the heavy news on our hearts, Jimmy, Dani, and I headed out to my brother's home in the countryside after we received the call. It was a stormy night as sheets of rain, flashes of lightening, and claps of thunder surrounded us on all sides. The 30-minute drive brought us to dad who was now at rest; a true light gone from my life and one I will not see again this side of heaven. I wasn't the only one to sense this great loss either. Just moments after our father's body was taken away my brother commented, "we have no parents", to which my sister quipped, "we're orphans!" We giggled at the time but the truth was sobering.

No amount of preparation could have prepared us for the obvious. Dad was our last parent and now we are left to carry on. Absorbing the loss of the generation before us, my brother, sister, and I huddled together like little baby birds in the days following his death. We've laughed, cried, reminisced, and praised God for the wonderful parents He's given us. To be raised in a simple, stable, fun, and funny Christian home is a treasure we each value and carefully pass on to our own families. We are grateful for our past and the parents who made it possible.

I miss you dad. Thanks for the memories!

September 12, 2010

Family First

Life can be filled with a host of many different things; friends, work, sports, and hobbies just to name a few. Lately my main focus has been targeted on getting through a busy season at work and running the 5K's that are dear to my heart. As important as all these things may be, in the end second only to God, family it top priority.

With this in mind, it's time for our family to shift priorities by putting our dad first. Just four days ago he was placed on hospice care and within 24 hours his congestive heart failure had him bedridden. He can barely breathe and needs someone at his side continually to give him medication for relief. Our family's goal is to be at his bedside at all times, so my brother, sister, and I are taking shifts to provide that care. Our presence gives dad great comfort and as difficult as it is to watch his life ebb away, honoring our father in this way is worth it. We appreciate your prayers during this time.

"Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land
the LORD your God is giving you."
Exodus 20:12

September 4, 2010

Autism Run

FINALLY... nice weather for a 5K run. Leaving the house at 0645, our drive to the Royals Stadium sparked instant marvel at the spectacular sunrise. With the crisp fall air creating a misty fog over warmer ponds and streams, it was as if God painted the beginning of this new day just for us. Wondering how anyone could ponder the notion that creation was somehow automatic and devoid of a creator, Jimmy and I both agreed without question a beautiful horizon such as the one before us confirmed the great I AM truly does exist.

The beauty of the day was a gift to all running for Autism research. My friend and co-worker Shauna, along with her husband Steven, came along in support of our daughter Dani. We mixed and mingled before the run visiting various booths offering information on Autism and then headed out to run around the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs Arrowhead Stadiums. It was peaceful, fun, and worth every ounce of energy. I don't know how many times I asked God to bless those running in honor of Autism research and pondered how the lives of those around me have been affected by this disability.

Dani's clan

Dani by the "floating" marble baseball

Stretchin' the old bones

We're off

Slugger visits a little girl


Autism Run (cont.)

Slugger entertains the crowd

Royals Stadium


Resting after

September 1, 2010

A Trip with Daddy

Dani's been super interested in nail polish ever since we gave Abby her get-well nail polish and lipgloss gift set. Now, every time she and Jimmy drive past a drug store she signs "Mom" and "nail polish." She so consistent with this routine Jimmy decided to take her to Walgreens so she could get some fun colors. Colors boring ole mom doesn't wear. I thought his idea was a fabulous one, so I wished them only stipulations was black. Jimmy agreed and off they went to the drug store.

Dani ganders the plethora of colors.

She zeroes in on a bottle...

Cocoa Bean gets a peek at her purchase.
Selecting cool blue and refreshing green, I have to admit Dani's picks are darling. She pranced around this week with blue on for days and it's about time to dawn the green. The smallest things make her happy and these tiny purchases will give her joy for days to come.

Thank Jimmy for acting on your great idea!