Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 1st...A Day to Celebrate our Grief

Weird Title?

I know!!

Last year this time we were gathered around my dear Father-in-law's bed in a skilled care facility. He was taking breaths that we knew had to be stopping soon.

Two years before this sweet man had been diagnosed with a spinal chord tumor. He had been through two operations and radiation...then he fell and really scrambled his brain.

Because the family home was in York and an hour away from us, and because we had a wonderful Skilled Care Facility close to our home we prayed and worked to get Gene admitted here.

Here is a new twist on a verse for you: "Faith without works is dead". I so believed that this was the Lord's will that I acted on it before it was even believed that it could possibly happen. I could have all of the faith in the world that Gene would be accepted in that facility but unless I went in there and filled out paperwork, then pleaded, befriended and cajoled them to reverse a decision that would have not allowed him to be accepted there nothing would have happened. I believed that this was where he was to be but it took work on my part to see it to fruition. I did work!
Mini rabbit trail there...

Anyway, Georgia moved in with my mother and we were in for a long, hard haul.

Gene was the sweetest person with a brain injury I have ever seen. There was no anger. There was only sweet patience. I love the time that I got to spend with him in his final days.

I may be the only person in our family to feel this way. It was so hard for everyone else. My Mom had so recently lost my Dad that this tore her up, Georgia was dealing with her own pain, Warren suffered seeing his Dad like this, the kids just couldn't understand how they could relate to this man, Grandpa.

But I just adored him. Even more than before, if that is possible. This had to be a gift from the Lord! HE truly does give more grace as the burdens increase!

We laugh, because since we have been married I have expressed to Warren that when we were dating I took a long look at his Dad and decided that if Warren turned out to be half the man his Dad was I would be very blessed indeed. Gene was extraordinary in his kindness, generosity, patience and he was solid as a rock!

So, as we stood around his bed...after a night of taking shifts...one sleeping in a room at the end of the hall while two visited quietly in the room there was a sense of finality. We read from the book of Revelation as it so wonderfully describes the beauty of Heaven...we sang...Gene took his final breath and as quietly as he has done everything else in his life...went home to see Jesus, His Savior and Friend.

The sadness got a bit back burnered as we were so relieved for him. His suffering was done! Forever! Praise the Lord, Gene and my Daddy and others that have gone on before will never feel the pain of suffering or the sting of grief again...EVER!

That brings us to today. Ohhh...the sting of grief is so real. You most likely know what I am writing about. The conflict of happiness for their peace but the heart wrenching pain of missing the people that they were. Missing the ability to ask an opinion or to see them smile. The ability to get frustrated with them over the tiniest little things. Just to be in their presence one more time...

Today, Warren is taking the afternoon off and will be spending it with his Mom.
I am so glad. Please keep them in prayer. Warren is an only child and this year has been so hard on him.

Thanks for bearing with this very personal post.

Thanks for being there!


Ellen said...

My prayers are with you and your family. May God replace the pain and sadness with peace and happiness. You will be thought of often today.


SweetAnnee said...

Gene sounds like a wonderful man and Warren must be also.
I understand the grief. and the
celebration that Gene is now with our Lord.

and YOU are an awesome daughter in law that was a blessing to Gene!!

thanks for the (bitter) sweet post..it's uplifting!!

fondly, Deena

Mrs. Rabe said...

Very percious words friend. My prayers are with you all.


Mrs. Rabe said...

I meant to say precious not percious. Sorry about that!

kara & jack's mom said...

Oh, Becky,
Thanks for sharing your heart-felt words. How true it is that at the exact same time we can feel such conflicting emotions... joy that our loved one is in Heaven without pain but pure grief because we miss their earthly presence. I will keep all of you, especially Warren and Georgia, in my thoughts and prayers today. May you all be surrounded in God's infinite mercy and comfort today. Judy

Anonymous said...

It is a great day to share good memories! I hope you all can do that today. Maybe even laugh at things he did that were funny!!

We do that with my dad. We laugh at the funny things he did and then that finds us all laughing and having a great time!!

Laughter is great medicine!

jane said...

((( tender embrace )))

Bless you.

Martie said...

My prayers are with you. We too buried my husband's youngest brother two years ago today. Sad to be seperated from them - joyous knowing they are without pain and in perfect bliss.

sue said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Becky K. said...

Thank you so very much for that wonderful heart warming blog. Yes Gene was a jem!! Jon and I hold your family in prayer always. You ALL mean alot to us.