Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Final Goodbye

(CJ drawing for his Poppa)

Thank you for your outpouring of love and support through this blog. This is the second time the comments have helped our family through an unexpected trial. We do not know what to say or how to adequately express our sincere gratefulness in words. The comments, the meals, the cards, the love, have all been received as if you were handing us air to breathe and sustain us. It has kept us going forward moment by moment. Thank you!

It has been one week since we found my father and his wife dead in their home from a tragic murder suicide. The funeral services are over. I can not believe one week can bring this much change. One week and it is all over and life keeps barreling forward.

After discovering my father's body last Wednesday morning it seemed like nothing stopped. The pain never ceased and the tears only dried for brief moments as we found ourselves in a flurry of activity having to plan and attend the funeral service.

Then, I woke up this morning and everything was still. There was nothing to plan, nowhere to go, family members had left, and friends went back to work. I just laid there wondering how this could happen. How in 6 short days, my father could die, be buried and it's over.

There are so many questions swirling around in my head and so many emotions fighting for position in my heart. After 6 days of grief and unrelenting pain, that duo finally gave way to anger. As anger won out for position, I let that emotion rule the roost for a little while. It felt good. Anger did not hurt as much as grief did when it was ruling my heart. Anger introduced me to blame. I liked blame but I did not trust blame. Although anger and blame soothed me in a medicinal sort of way, deep down I knew they were no true friends. Like a drink that goes down smooth, they would be sure to betray me in the end.

A new emotion greeted me this morning. I awoke to the fog of confusion. I liked confusion. Confusion slowed things down. I could not see clearly. I liked the blindness offered by the fog of confusion. A good excuse for ignorance of what is really right in front of you. Blame got lost in confusion and anger was nowhere to be seen. But I felt lost in the fog. I did not want to stay there.

Finally, the cloud began lifting with grief vying for control again. Grief gave way to the tears that seem to have a limitless reservoir. Anger still sits in its corner offering distraction and blame, while confusion promises no need for answers. I am sure they will continue to battle for position and maybe even take up residency a time or two, but I will only surrender my heart to One. He already owns it anyway. And like the grand orchestra director...He will make sense of the noise and mess going on there.

CJ and his sister Allie seem to spend their spare time journaling and drawing. I believe it is therapeutic for them and they feel close to Poppa Jerry when they sketch because he loved to draw and sketch as well. As I read what CJ is writing in his journal about his Poppa's death I am saddened and stunned that a child so young should have to contemplate things so tragic. First the realities of cancer and now this.

As far as the realities of cancer, in the past couple weeks, three children we have been following lost their battle against this unkind disease. Or maybe they won it...I am never really sure which way that goes. Either way, they are no longer in it. Then last night we find out that another little boy, who we have come to dearly love, his bone marrow transplant failed and he faces another risky surgery this week. There are no words...only prayers.

As a mother, I am heartbroken for CJ, and the rest of my children, for all they have had to experience, know, and contemplate at such young ages. These are my first real exposures with any sort of tragedies of this magnitude and I am 35 years old. As a child, I certainly never heard of kids dying of cancer, murder-suicides, or half of the tragic things my kids have seen. But just maybe, in some odd way, they are the blessed and fortunate ones. Once again, I am never really sure which way it goes. Regardless, they are learning at an early age to "consider it a pure joy when they face trials of many kinds because the testing of their faith is developing perseverance."

We still do not know anything about CJ's counts yet. We will have his blood redrawn Friday and go from there. In the meantime we have held back all his chemo he takes daily at home to help boost his strength. So far he seems infection free, Praise God, because he did not want nor did he cooperate with wearing a mask at the funeral services. We have limited our exposure otherwise and praying for a strong comeback in his blood counts.

I would like end this post by sharing a little about Poppa Jerry with all of you to honor his memory. I shared this at his funeral and my husband has asked me to post the words that I spoke here. Click here: Poppa Jerry to learn about the legacy of this wonderful man who God redeemed and restored through forgiveness. It will remain our final goodbye until we meet again in glory. For those of you with estranged loved ones... I pray this blesses you and increases your faith in the miracles God can perform in a willing heart.

Thank you for letting me share my father with all of you in this small way.

As the sun rises on Thursday morning....I want to be the first to say, Happy Birthday Dad! Although I am desperate for you here and my heart is aching from your absence....I am sure you are experiencing a much better birthday in heaven than earth could ever offer.

My Father and I at Passover Seder 2009


mefea said...

Happy Birthday Papa Jerry! We love you and will always miss you. I'm committed to learning how to make the BEST Matzo Ball Soup EVER now...i won't stop trying until it tastes halfway as good as yours did *which could take a lifetime*. I LOVE YOU and can't wait to see you again one day in Eternity.

Your 'could-have-been-daughter' ;)
Melinda p

Anonymous said...

Love you guys, thanks for your words because they are so real and do not mask the awefulness of sin and temptation but they give way to the hope that we have in Jesus. As I read, I had the sense of light like in the morning when the sun is comming out and you start seeing the rays of the sun little by little until they cover everything. I pray that this would be true in your life (for you're whole family) that the light would finally shine forth and BEYOND what you can imagine.

From far in terms of distance but close in spirit and love.
Claudia, for the Abeggs

Wendy Whitlow said...

Dawn I hung on every word my friend. God is already using you in a mighty way through what is clearly tragic for us here on earth. I had to look for the "address" but I was quickly reminded of the the passages that brings us comfort...knowing there is a time for everything under Heaven. (Ecclesiastes chapter 3) My heart aches with every emotion that you are passing through...but I believe it is all a part of God's PERFECT plan. And your commitment to seek His face in the midst of this...is not unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. He IS the Father to the fatherless. He draws close to you...the brokenhearted. He loves each and everyone of your sisters and understands your pain. But while you feel the pain of being struck down...God says you are not destroyed.
Keep talking and sharing sister.
Love ya!
Happy Birthday Poopa Jerry...I too will miss you.

Anonymous said...

I once had a wise pastor tell me that a person's life was not to be judged for his final moments but for his life as a whole. What a precious gift you gave your children in choosing to honor your dad's life as a whole. Only through the grace, strength and love of Jesus Christ could you have written such a beautiful testimony of your dad's life..thank you for sharing that with us. I am sad I didn't know your dad but am blessed to know and love his daughter! Our thoughts, hearts and prayers are with you and your family! Love, Aunt Karen

Anonymous said...

Dawn this a a very hard season you are going through..But with the Love of Jesus who is able to lift us up we can hold on to that hope. The way (gift) that you have at expressing yourself is amazing it's raw, real,and should be captured in a book. Everyday is a new morning that the Lord gifts us with. May you soak yourself with His sweet love and begin a healing that will be used for His glory. We grieve with you and will rejoice with you. We love you guys and are praying without ceasing..the Cookes