Sunday, November 25, 2012

Death Sucks

My father in law is dying.  I know I have mentioned it before but now it is getting serious.  After a year and a half of threatening to die I think he actually might go and do it in the next few days.  And I am exhausted.

Why am I exhausted?  If you are family and reading this you might be really thinking that.  I mean I haven't been sitting at the house for 8 hours getting up and down with him and mom, I haven't taken any night shifts, I wasn't there last night for all the crying out in pain and emotional turmoil as they waited for someone to deliver the morphine and the wait for it to take affect.

I  have done nothing. Literally. I have done nothing for the past few days.  I am just standing at the ready.  Afraid to involve myself in any project, just sitting and waiting.  A million things on my to do list, my son home from college and yet here I am.  Waiting.  My job is support.  I mainly support my husband but try to have a loving word or scripture for the family as well.  But mostly I am just waiting for John to come home and talk to me, tell me the latest, and experience the emotions.  Normally I get to break down but this time it is his turn and I will be the rock.  And it is exhausting and I don't want to do anything.  I don't even want to write this but I am trying to force myself to do something this afternoon and I usually find it helpful to write out my feelings.  So I am sharing with you that I would rather be doing something destructive.  Eating everything in sight or, better yet, a little retail therapy, buy everything in sight!

So now that you know I am totally not feeling it right now I am none-the-less going to share a few scriptures that I am finding encouraging.  I  have brief moments where I decide not to run away from my emotions and here are a few things I have found during those times:

Ps 100:4-5 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and is love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

I am calling that one the verse that starts off for Don and ends for the rest of us.  Don is going to enter the Gates of heaven but his faithfulness, Don's steadfast and unwavering devotion to the Lord, continues through the generations that come behind him.  The generations that he has influenced.  And while we are quick to think of his family Don has made a difference in the lives of men and women well beyond his family through his teaching both of the Word at church and through his teaching of Advanced First Aid (now EMT) at Normandale.  Many a Minneapolis cop got their initial first aid training from John's parents in the last 80's and early 90's.  How thankful we all are, how blessed and rich our lives have been because of the gift of Don.

I read other things and think of Don:

Is 21:3-4 "At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear and bewildered by what I see.  My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me."

I know, that isn't encouraging at all.  But I love how the bible can express pain as well as give hope.  I don't know why some people have to die so painfully.  It doesn't seem fair.  This is not a man who deserves this death.  Even yesterday when I was over there we were laughing as he started asking John's mom if she knew the Truth.  As his mind goes what is left is the Truth of God's love and his continued need to share it with others.  John drove their car home last night as Jake and I both needed cars yesterday.  On the floor of the passenger side are the scripture memory cards his parents continue to read and memorize. When I mentioned Ps 100:4-5 at the house John went to get the bible to read it.  John's mom kept saying, "recite it".  I bet she already knew what he was going to read.  God doesn't promise us freedom from pain or trials in this life on earth but he does promise us that freedom in heaven and soon Don will follow Jesus through those gates and into that peace.

And finally, and again this isn't really for encouragement here just something I read and thought about,

Proverbs 25:20 "Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart."

When someone is struggling, it isn't helpful to be cheerful.  This sucks!  Watching this man die sucks.  Even if this wasn't a hard and long death, if he has simply died peacefully in his sleep, this would suck.  I will not be denied the right to grieve nor will I deny my family that right.  We are not alone, God is with us, and one day we will sing songs again but today we will feel and experience these moments of pain and grief and be stressed and overwhelmed.


Off to switch the laundry.  I like to be prepared with clean underwear in all situations.


  1. Good words...praying for you guys.

  2. Oh, Melanie - I know! When we lost my awesome father-in-law a few years ago, it was like I was standing behind people high up on ladders trying to catch them if they fell - constantly adjusting to help in unexpected moments in unexpected ways - and helping your husband be with someone so important as they cross over to that other side - it is the physical side of interceding. I also felt God just carrying us, physically carrying us through it all. Praying for you in the next few months - if you ever just need someone to join in with you, no explanation needed - send me a message - and I'll pray with you!