Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Round and Round....



Yesterday was a hard day.  I went with Emily to Hinsdale Central to get her i.d. and walk around her schedule.  Along the way, I sought out and ran into many of Andrew's old teachers.  Remember y' all this was suppose to be Andrew's senior year and the year he would have watched over his "little" sister.  Well, Emily conveniently decided to walk around with her friend while I got to speak to Andrew's teachers.  Convenient in that Emily doesn't like it when I get emotional in front of her.   Andrew's teachers spoke so fondly of Andrew and his great character and smile.  The teacher I really wanted to see was Kelly, Andrew's freshman year geometry teacher and turns out she is Emily's teacher this year.  I have known Kelly being a Christian.  She didn't have to tell me at first, I just sensed something.  I sought her out knowing the common bond we had in Christ.  It turned out we were ready to go home, but the pouring rain made us wait for a bit and in turn I looked for Kelly and I found her.  She later wrote an email that made me cry and grateful for the impact God made through my wonderful son:

Hi Joe –

Thank you so much for stopping in today to say hello.  It was good to see you and so nice to meet Emily. 
I have and will continue to pray for your family, for and God’s peace to overwhelm your hearts, and for sweet memories to enter into the hole that remains.
Andrew has been a tremendous witness to the King we serve.  I am so proud of Andrew, and so grateful to God for how he has and continues to use your incredible family for His glory.  It’s a beautiful thing here at school to hear all of the teachers talking about Andrew, as well as your blog, and to know the light that you have shared with those that do not know Christ.   I know that Andrew is laughing on glory’s side, waiting to see you each again.

I will be praying for both your daughters as they embark on this new school year, with new adventures and new memories. 
I will remember Andrew fondly, and feel blessed to be a part of another Park family members life.   Emily will be in good hands here at Central.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help as Emily adjusts to high school.

See you soon,


So, I am on a roller coaster ride of emotions.  On one hand the difficulty of seeing Andrew's teachers and school where he would have been a senior to the joy and thankfulness of hearing the impact he made.  On top of that, I am in the library at Trinity reading an article for a  class that starts tonight.  I just went to the bathroom and looked into the mirror and asked if I can do this.  I keep on seeing Andrew jumping up and down and saying, "Daddy, you can do it!".  So all I can do is, pray for God's grace to get me through this night.  I guess it has already, I just found out from my advisor the course I am taking is by a professor who lost his child when the child was......17!  God's will?!?  I think so.  God is good, even though I don't feel like jumping up and down.

Please continue to pray for me, Jennifer and the girls.  Emily starts her 1st year of high school tomorrow and Bry starts 5th grade the day after.  Jennifer Chung Park and I had a good discussion last night on where God is leading us and I pray you all can pray for wisdom and discernment for the Park Family's future.

By the way, we cleared Andrew's room out in two emotionally filled days.  There were so much wailing, tears and sobs!  One of the toughest things to get rid of was Andrew's boxers.  Andrew would roam around in one of "tons" of funny boxers all the time at the hospital or at home.  We donated most of his clothes, but it was the boxers where Jennifer and I lost it and I just started shouting, "NO!  NO!  NO!". We noticed how many "cancer" related t-shirts he collected over the past few years and Jennifer and I decided to make a quilt out of them.  If you know anyone who would is good at sewing/quilt making who may want to take this task on, please us know.  We got through the last of his stuff and that was that.  Some of you may be worried we rushed things, but actually the timing was right.  Some of you may know my cousin Robin, who spoke at the Celebration Service, is setting up a new church in the city and he needed a place to stay.  Andrew loved Uncle Robin and how Robin would play x box and goto shell with him whenever he wanted.  In fact Robin was in town in April to spend time with Andrew and that was the last real time Andrew had fun and was somewhat healthy before his transplant and ultimate death.  Thank you Robin.  Anyway, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I needed to physically do something to start moving forward and Robin needed a room.  I can totally hear and see Andrew so excited his room is being used for his beloved Uncle Robin who is starting a church so others may possibly experience the love of Jesus Christ and ultimately the joy of being in heaven in eternal joy one day!  Thank you Lord!  Thank you Andrew!  Andrew giving again.  Remember, for those who attended Andrew's celebration service, "This Little Light of Mine".

So as I wrap things up to read the class article, I try to cling onto the a old trusted verse:

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



  1. Thank you for sharing this Mr. Park...

  2. Joe & Jen -
    I may indeed know someone from our church who makes quilts from t-shirts. I will contact her asap and get back to you. She is a highly talented quilter and would do an amazing job. Peace and blessing and prayers to all of you.
    Liz Monson

  3. Joe,
    I keep coming back to read more of your blog and to see your continued journey. It has inspired me to want to volunteer my "talents" to families like yours. I would love to get involved with families who have children fighting the same fight. I am a hobbiest/semi-pro photographer. I have no real skills to donate, but would love to volunteer my time snapping photos for families who are facing the prospect of not having a full family in the future. I tried reaching out to the Lurie hospital, but they have their own services, so I wanted to see if you knew of any organizations/families that would be interested in what I can provide. It's not much and there's no way I would say I'm good at it, but I've been moved to do something thanks to you and your words and I don't want that to fade away as other attempts at philanthropy have. Please email me at if you feel that there is a need for my services in any way. Thanks.


  4. Dear Joe and Jennifer,
    When the words just won't come....

    We love you!!

  5. Amen Joe, Amen. Thank you so much for sharing this post! It's so easy to get caught it up in the daily motions of work but I felt so peaceful while reading your post. Praying for His faithfulness and love in your family's life daily, Joe.