Saturday, October 13, 2012

Letting Go....With the Help of My Friends...

Andrew smiling and saying, "Dad, have a great time!
I am right there with  you as you let go!"
Anxious, but I "let go" and took the leap of faith!
The anxiety immediately gave way to joy and peace!
I landed on solid ground! 
This afternoon, my friend John and I took the plunge literally and went skydiving for the first time.  John and I were scheduled to jump a couple of years ago, but right as we finished orientation, it started raining and we tabled the skydiving until today.  I must tell you, I was quite emotional this morning and I really was trying to grasp the essence of my emotions.  On one hand I was excited, but on the other hand I was a bit melancholy.  I think it had a lot to do with Andrew.  I decided the day before, I would carry some of Andrew's ashes with me and perhaps that is why I felt the way I did.  I know the ashes represent Andrew's earthly body, but I could not help but feel a sense of sadness he wasn't here with me.  But juxtaposed with that feeling, I was happy he could be with me.  His ashes were in a chest pocket on my sweatshirt, covering my heart!  How appropriate!  Right before I jumped, I got this picture in my mind of Andrew smiling his famous grin and encouraging me and by saying, "Dad, have fun!" 

I think the jump represented a point of release or just letting go figuratively and literally.   Since Andrew's death, my life has been a whirlwind of grieving and my life seemed so upside down at points.  I was paralyzed to an extent in my fear about what was the next step in my life.  Fear to the point I didn't want to start my life again in many ways.  Not only was I dealing with the death of Andrew, but I was anxious about my next step as far as an occupation.  I have gone back to school, but I am looking for a job in the teaching field as an assistant and jobs are not easy to find.  I owned and operated a business for 20 years, before I sold it last fall  and that's all I have known since being out of university.  My life since, has been taking care of Andrew full time until his passing.  Skydiving today was a symbolic of how I am trying to let go and let God.  My grieving and anxiety is getting better and the skydiving couldn't have come at a better time.  If you look at the picture of me first jumping out, you notice a very pensive smile.  In fact there is a bar on the top of the door the jump masters use to position themselves called the "Oh Shit" bar, called so aptly for jumpers who may try to back out and hold the bar they are not suppose to hold.  I was tempted to put my hands on the famous bar, but as soon as I was in position with my hands on the harness and feeling pretty helpless, I let go with the help of my instructor and I immediatelyI felt a rush of adrenaline and joy.  I let go!   My "leap of faith" was rewarded.  It reminded me of a verse I whispered in Andrew's ear daily as he lay in the ICU for a month.:

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:13

As I mentioned, I exited the plane by the assistance of my instructor, actually it was him pushing me out.  It reminded me how blessed I am to have those type of people who have been pushing me to take a leap of faith as far as my future and just simply spurring me on.  I am grateful for friends like Dan Sung, who has been there to grieve with me, affirm me and even admonish me in love, especially during this incredibly difficult season in my life.  He has pushed me to take the leap of faith and trust in God that He has my back.  Dan has been a total godsend.  We sharpen one another as we go beyond the surface.  We get deep into one another's soul and spur one another on, he has walked side by side with me.  I know all the Christian rhetoric and what it preaches, but I need to be reminded consistently by others of how God has great plans for me in the midst of my trepidations:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jerimiah 29:11

I hope you all have friends like I do who can nudge me and even push me at times to let go.  I am grateful for John Irwin as he took the initiative to call me and reschedule the jump.  Without him, I would have never have gone.  He nudged me to go and I am grateful for people like Mr. Irwin and Dan.  Do you have a Dan or John in your life.  If you don't, I know God has these type of outstanding people ready to walk side by side with you, you just have to take the initiative sometimes.  Ultimately, I hope you can seek God first.   Matthew 7:7 speaks of this truth:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.


It's with heavy hearts we walk without Andrew, but we walk in memory of  him.
We love you Drew and we will never forget your legacy of kindness and courage!
We miss you immensely Champ!
As most of you know, Andrew and our friends and family have walked in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk to raise money for this great organization which has helped Andrew and our family as Andrew courageously battled to fight cancer. This year we will walk in memory of my wonderful son.  Because of my grief, I have not had the energy to fund raise until recently and boy have I been blessed to have such generous persons help in achieving team Andrew's Army goal!  In less than a week, Andrew's Army has raised more than $6000!  We are close to our goal and I am asking you to consider giving whatever you can in Andrew's honor.  We thank you and so does Andrew.  Here is a link to my fundraising page: PRESS HERE!
For those who want to walk with Andrew's Army, the walk will be held at Berens Park in Elmhurst on October 20, Saturday.  We will start gathering at Berens Park starting at 4:30pm, meeting at a tent set up for us (being one of the top fundraisers in the western suburbs) with Andrew's Army on it and the walk will begin at 6pm.  Here is a link for the park: PRESS HERE.

Please email me if you are going to attend:

I ask you to share the fundraising link to others as some of you have and if you have found any encouragement or benefit from this blog, please share this as well.  

God Bless You All!  Thank you for continually lifting the Park Family in prayer!



  1. Hello to Joe, Jennifer and Girls,
    We are thinking about you and always praying for your family's peace. Thank you for letting us know how you are! With you in prayer, LynnFrankLaurenKendall. Love too!

  2. Dear Joe,
    My heart is breaking as I'm reading your blog about your beautiful son Andrew. I want you to know that I accidentally came across your blog while researching bone marrow donation. I donated blood for the first time today and felt so great about it that I wanted to see what more I could do. I'm half Korean and found that there's a great need for donations from mixed-races. It's because of your blog that I'm making this important commitment to become a bone marrow donor. My only regret is that I didn't register sooner to potentially have helped your son. I am truly sorry and can only hope that more people will step forward and give this precious gift of life. I wish you eternal strength and peace. Blessings to you and your family. - Kimarie Celse

  3. I pray that you and your family have felt Andrew's presence and love embracing you during this Christmas season and always.

  4. i pray that God's unshakable peace and love to cover you and your family. even though I didn't know Andrew personally, I consider it such a great honor and privilege to receive your emails and to have known Andrew, one brave warrior of God. I'm looking forward to meeting him and getting to know him in heaven :) God bless you.