It is hard to believe that this day is here already. Today marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing. He was one of my very best friends and he is greatly missed. I used to go to him for advice on just about everything. He was a great man who loved (still does) God, his family, friends, and church.
My dad had kidney cancer. He actually had it for many years and never knew it. We first found out that he was having physical problems around Easter 2006. He told me that he was going to have some tests run and was concerned about what the results would be. On April 27 2006 we were told that it was cancer. At that time there was some hope that surgery could be performed to remove the kidney and that he would be fine. The doctors set a date in early June for the surgery and things were looking good. Then a blood clot was found in his neck around his shoulder. Since he was on blood thinner for the clot they had to move the surgery back to the first week in July. He was found to be responding to treatments better that anticipated so the surgery was once again moved. This time to June 30th. This was a ray of hope for us all.
Some time early June he had to go back in the hospital for pancreatitis. Further tests were run and it was determined that the cancer had spread to other organs. On June 15th, while still in the hospital, we were informed that the cancer was terminal and that he had around 6 to 12 months to live.
June19 the cancer was found to be in the lymph nodes and the time was shortened to a couple months, but dad didn’t think it would be that long. On June 21 he drove himself to church and I went with him. On Sunday, June 25, I helped him dress, put him in a wheel chair and drove him to church where a friend of his sang “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns, my dads favorite song. On Monday, we moved him to his parents’ home and Hospice was called in. We now thought we had a couple weeks left with him. However, the cancer was spreading more rapidly than we could have imagined. On Tuesday night around 11:00 p.m. after kissing his grandkids goodnight and spending the last few moments with his children, he surrendered to the call to go “home”.
His family and friends gathered in my grandparents’ house that evening to say goodbye and celebrate the life he had lived. The next few days were the longest and shortest of my life as we planned for a funeral we had not anticipated for many years to come. We remembered good times and laughed amidst the tears. We poured through old photos as we prepared collages for the funeral and packed up his belongings. The funeral was held on Monday, July 3 with a military burial. I think dad would have appreciated the patriotic timing.
Although we still miss him, we have hope in being reunited with him one day. We mourned for his loss, but celebrated his journey to be with Christ and suffer no more.
My dad used to say “If I die I get to go be with Jesus. If I live I get to witness for Him. I’m ok with it either way.” (Philippians 1:21- loosely translated). In all of this he never once complained. He was always upbeat and comforted those that would be left behind.
This site got part of its name in honor of my dad. The X341 in the name is the grave location where his earthly body lies. But I know that he lives on even now and that I will one day see him again.
If you want to know how you can have the same peace that we do and my father had, follow this link to learn more.