Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peace in the Pain

2008 has been a difficult year. It's hard to believe that just three months ago we said goodbye to my dad as we have now had to say goodbye to Rod's dad. I never would have imagined that we would be in this stage of life at this moment. Still, if there's one thing we all know, it's that life never goes as we have planned.

The biggest gift we've been given recently has been the extra week we were given with Rod's dad. It was truly a miracle which allowed Rod to have specific conversations with his dad that he was longing for. It also allowed us to look back on the final days of his life with peace.

That's the greatest thing about both of these experiences with our dads. The final days of their lives were spent at home surrounded by their families. I couldn't think of a much better way to go when you have to go with such a terrible disease. There is great peace as we look back on both of these moments with our dads.

One thing we're attempting to do is to explain everything fully to the girls. We brought the girls back to the house later in the evening so they could see the body leave the house. My mom and Rod's mom both chose to keep the body at the house for a longer period of time than is common for most. There is actually a comfort to having their body in the house - even though we know they are no longer present with us. When the body is taken there is a finality that breaks the heart. Even so, we feel it important for our girls to see that moment to understand we are saying goodbye. I hope our choices during these times will make it a bit easier to cope with future experiences of facing death.

In times like these when pain continually stabs the heart, there is an overwhelming peace that comes with being able to say goodbye the way we did.

1 Thessalonians 4
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

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