It’s been nearly a month since I last posted and so much has been going on. I received a message the other day from a reader who said, “I’m a long time blog reader and the lack of posts had me concerned.” Then she found me on Instagram (which I usually always update) and she realized that my father-in-law had passed away since my last post and that’s why I haven’t been on the blog. But I finally have some time to myself this morning so I’d love to catch up with you. (And to that special reader who was concerned, a big hug and thank you.) 🙂
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- A peaceful death for my FIL.
- The countless support and prayers of family and friends.
- The hope of salvation and eternal life.
- Brian’s strength, courage, faith and love that runs through our entire family and keeps our eyes on God.
- The sound of giggles and the brightness of the smiles on my children’s faces that can clear any gloom away.
- The repose of the soul of my father-in-law.
- My mother-in-law and family members that they find peace and comfort.
- All those who have lost loved ones, especially for those struggling with depression because of it.
- People suffering from violence – whether within their home or their community.
- Victims of natural disasters, especially lately.
- All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
- The souls in purgatory, especially family, friend and those most forgotten.
- For Brian’s doctor’s appointment that all goes well and he is still cancer free.
I’ve naturally have been thinking about my father-in-law. He lived such an interesting life. He’s seen war, lived in a refugee camp, immigrated to America as a young man, joined the Army, graduated with a masters in political science, fell in love and married, made his name in the business world, retired, became active in church ministry and lived to serve others. I’ve learned a lot from him in the 16 years that I’ve known him but I want to save those thoughts for a future post. Right now I am thinking about the last day I saw his eyes open.
It was a Wednesday and I stopped by the nursing home to visit with him. After his third stroke he was no longer able to speak but I chatted with him about the kids and Brian. At one point I felt like an idiot, not knowing if he even knew who I was or if he understood what I was saying. I was hoping that my voice wasn’t like an annoying buzz in his ear. He looked at me and smiled but there was no connection when our eyes met. He drifted off to sleep and I was going to leave but I thought I would stay just a few more minutes.
He woke back up and he looked at me and smiled but then he looked at me more intently and I saw it in his eyes, that glimmer. He smiled deeper and I saw the recognition. He knew it was me. I chatted a little and them he tried to talk to me. He grunted and tried to speak with emphasis but his words came out like gibberish. I listened then smiled and kissed his cheek and said, “I know, dad. That’s great.” He smiled back at me contently and I rubbed his shoulder until he dosed off again. Finally I kissed him good bye and let him sleep. I’d never see him open his eyes again.
The next day Brian went to see his dad on his lunch break and the nurse said he was not doing well. He was asleep in bed and unresponsive. They could not get him to wake up to eat or drink. They told us that he’d most likely pass away in a day or two. Luckily the kids were off of school for Easter break so we all went over to the Center to sit with him, hold his hand and just be with him. Afterwards we said our final goodbyes to Opa and told him we loved him in case he passed away in the night while we were gone. I took the kids home and Brian stayed with my mother-in-law. Later he came home and my MIL stayed until the nurses told her to go home and get some sleep and they’d call her if anything happened.
The next morning Brian took the day off work and instead went to sit with Opa. He had a feeling today would be the day. He took the first shift to sit with Opa and then we’d meet him there after I fed the kids breakfast. Brian texted me and said Opa was just the same as yesterday. He was still sleeping and his heart rate was still low. While Brian was there he prayed for Opa and read to him the scripture about the Jesus’ resurrection. When he finished reading, Opa opened his eyes for the first time in two days. He stared off into the distance and then turned his head and looked at Brian. Then he closed his eyes and fell back asleep. Then he passed away. Brian said the whole room was filled with peace. Moments later I arrived with the kids. Brian told us that he just passed so we went in and kissed him goodbye again one last time. I took the kids back to the car so they would not have to see my MIL grieve over my FIL’s body. It was a piercing scene that leaves me in tears whenever I remember it.
The grief completely drained me but later I was able to feel relief that my FIL’s physical suffering was over. I am glad that his last days were filled with smiles and his eyes lighting up when he saw the kids. Even if he could not speak, we treasured the moments when we could see his joy in the simple pleasures of a kiss on the check or a picture the kids drew for him. He will always live on as we remember his loving smile, his tenacious spirit and his generous heart. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
On Tuesday, the vigil of my FIL’s funeral, we said a rosary for him with family and friends. Thankfully I found this PDF from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church that I adapted to hand out that evening.
Brian giving the eulogy for his dad.
The funeral was achingly beautiful and bittersweet, filled with longing that Opa was still here with us but also thankful that he was released from his pain and in the God’s hands. We pray for him each day that his soul is at peace with God and we ask him each day to watch over us and pray for us. He is gone yet somehow, feels even closer to my heart.
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Not all the family news has been sad, however. As the circle of life goes on, Matthew turned the big 5 last week!
On Saturday Brian and I celebrated the 16th anniversary of the day we met in person and had our first date. (We met online and wrote/ emailed/ called each other for 5 months first.) Life has been a little rocky lately but thank God it has brought us closer together and made us rely on each other more. When I am weak, he is strong and vice versa. Today (actually at this very minute) he has his routine testing and blood work to make sure there are no signs that the cancer may be coming back. It is always a little nerve wracking and writing this post (and praying under my breath) is helping me not to stress as I wait for his call. (UPDATE: I just got Brian’s call. His blood work and lymph nodes all look good. Praise God! 🙂 )
And as you may have noticed in the above picture, I now wear glasses (ah, the joys of getting older) and got a MUCH NEEDED haircut. I feel like I have been stress eating and letting myself go so I needed a boost to motivate me to eat healthier, get back to my walking and just feel better in general!
Lastly, yesterday we woke up in the wee hours of the morning to send Bella nearly 3,000 miles away on her week long class trip to Washington DC! (And other historical states/landmarks.) I miss my baby already but I tracked her flight on my iPhone so I knew when she was flying over each state and we have been sending texts and snapchats to one another to close the distance. 🙂
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In the Kitchen…
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I’m currently reading…
I haven’t had much time to read but I only have two chapters left of the gripping…
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I put this aside during my FIL’s illness and the funeral prep but I will start this one again this week.
Divine Mercy for Moms by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet.
Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
ALSO, have you heard about the new project by Jullian Fellowes? (The creator of Downton Abbey.) He has written a novel but it will be released in 11 weekly installments. Austenprose.com explains:
Released in 11 weekly installments, each episode of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia will conclude with twists, turns and cliff-hanger endings popularized by the novels of Dickens, Gaskell and Conan Doyle in the nineteenth century. Delivered directly to your cell phone, tablet or desktop via a brand new app, you can read the text or listen to the audio recording narrated by acclaimed British actress Juliet Stevenson, or jump between the two.
Each week a different blogger will be featured with reviews, insights and background info. It sounds really exciting. Get the rest of the details and more insight here.
The first installment was released on Thursday and I just downloaded it. I’m looking forward to reading/listening to it. 🙂
The song “Uptown Funk” has been overdone BUT I think this classic movie/musical video version is my favorite so far. Love it.
And a close second would be this book lover parody. LOL.
Listening to …
I’ve been loving “In Your Arms” by Chef’Special. Part of it reminds me of saying goodbye to my FIL. Part of it reminds me of Brian and how much he strengthens me. I can’t thank God enough for my gem of a husband. Sigh.
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[Insert the sound of crickets.] 😉
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In the blogosphere…
There’s not much reading time but I’ve recently enjoyed (or have in my reading queue):
- We’re All Screwing Up Our Kids – by Carrots for Michaelmas
- Porn Proofing Our Kids: Emotional Investment (Part 1 in a series) by Mama Needs Coffee
- Unique Gift Guide Summer Gift Giving by Whole Parenting
- Good Music Monday Spring 2016 by Carrots for Michaelmas
- Finding Myself on Pinterest by The Littlest Way
- Girlfriends Podcast Page: The Truth About Prayer (and Interview with Hallie Lord) by Danielle Bean
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So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Do share.
Have a great week!
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