Friday, August 30, 2013

Keeping Grounded

Last week when my mom and I were discussing the progression of my father's lung disease, we were trying to find the right words to put into perspective the pace it is changing.  For nearly two years, he has been chronically ill with fibrosis of the lungs due to environmental exposures from his occupation.  We have watched the slow progression over the years from just being a little extra winded, to needing full blown oxygen 24/7.  Over the past few weeks it is as though the rate of decline has sped up.  This is certainly the last thing that we want. But, in November of 2011, we had doctors telling us he would not see Christmas that year.  He has certainly beat the odds. 

My prayer in 2011 was for God to keep him comfortable and for us to have enough time with him that everything everyone needed to say to him could be done.  I asked for a little more time so that my children would have an opportunity to etch memories in their minds they can carry as they get older.

The reality of losing his beloved Ghe Ghe has been especially challenging for my youngest, Conner. It's as though his soul was marked with a connection to my dad from the time we gave him his middle name, Charles.  There has been a bond tighter than fabric between those two. I am grateful for the past two years for Conner to hear all of the old hunting and fishing stories.  Matthew has enjoyed just sitting and listening to daddy talk on. 

Watching someone die right before you a little each day is very hard to put into perspective.  All we can do is pray for God to keep him comfortable and when He decides it's time to welcome him into His kingdom, that he goes peacefully.

My mom was the one to finally make sense of how we all feel about the increase in progression of his disease  She said, "It's kind of like watching your kids grow.  You know they are growing and getting bigger, but it is ever so slight and subtle changes over time. So you don't necessarily see it each day.  But, when you don't see your nieces or nephews for weeks or maybe months, you can visibly see and process the growth." 

I am thankful to God for keeping me grounded and giving me the time to grow and mature in understanding the process of life and illness. I only pray he gives me the courage and strength to endure the next stop in that journey.  The finality of death and grief.  It may not be today, tomorrow, next week, or next month......but there will come an end eventually.  Then, because of the lessons my little boy, Matthew, has taught me, I know that he will finally be at home.  He will be surrounded with the kind of beauty and glory that is unlike anything we physically feel on earth.

I love you daddy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

And We Have a Release Date!

March 2014 is it! A Boy Back From Heaven will be released in the early spring.  Writing this book has been therapeutic for me in ways most will never know.  To know that your child's last breath was within inches of your face is riveting.  Trying to understand and make sense of what was so clearly evident has been renewing.  From the moment Matthew sat down with us to provide the intricate details of his experience, we knew there was a power much greater and higher than humans can grasp. 

All of the "churchy" stuff we are taught growing up as kids usually isn't fully realized until we seek God in immediate ways.  Death, illness, sorrow, change.  All of the things that force us as Christians to really take a hard look and turn to God in prayer.  To fully realize the scope and magnitude of God's love and great plan for each of our lives is enlightening. 

After spending hours, days, months, and years on this book project, it has helped me to heal and grieve situations I know that I will face personally in the very near future.  There are circumstances in my life that will require me once again to seek comfort in God's word and the vision that Matthew so eloquently and innocently shared.  A vision that leads me to know that when death reaches those we love, there is not darkness or scary scenes.  It is pure, unobligated love, peace, and beauty.  A beauty that makes you never want to return.


The only legacy that will be important when I have passed on will be that of being a great mom.  If my two children can't look back and say they had a mom that put their needs above all else, then I have failed.  Is it easy?  Nope!  Do they drive me crazy sometimes?  You bet!  But, through all of the oops, fails, giggles, and silliness they are the driving force for me to be a better person. 

We all know the old cliche', kids don't come with a handbook.  But, with a little common sense, and the ability to laugh off the minor stuff, it can be pretty easy.  I have a few simple goals in life.  One is making sure that I raise two young men that know and understand how much they are loved by God and their parents.  The second is to make sure that I equip them with the means necessary to brave life when it's time to leave the nest.

It is inevitable that we will all stumble along the way.  My toes have been broken, A LOT, in the past 11 years! But, I know that the ride is all worth it.  Those smiling, giggling faces are everything.