Monday, October 1, 2012

Up and Down...But Not Out!

Emily's date.  No worries, just friends;-)
But I reminded him what can happen if t
here is any monkey business;-)

Emily's First Homecoming!  I thought I would grow a beard to intimidate any future suitors.
They don't know I have a 357 Magnum hidden in what seems like a middle aged belly.

This weekend was Emily's first homecoming and I was a mix bag of feelings.  On one hand I was so happy for my daughter and the anticipation she had for the dinner, dance and hanging out, but on the other hand, I thought about Andrew and what could have been.  You see, Andrew had never gone to a high school dance for one reason or another.  And I remember him telling me when he was going through chemo this year, how he wanted to go to prom his senior year. Sorry, but I simply wish Andrew was here to so he could have gone to a dance and be a normal teenager.  But it wasn't meant to be.  However I know he is having a dance of the most joyous way in heaven, but even that knowledge doesn't console me.  I know Anna's parents, Sean and Lisa, have felt similar thoughts.  As grieving parents, we can't help but to feel these thought.  We miss our Andrew and Anna, but we are grateful for what he did through the lives of these wonderful children of ours.  Lisa wrote a journal entry the other day as it was Anna's 18th birthday:

So on this beautiful crisp morning, we give thanks to God for our beautiful Anna. We remind ourselves of her thankful, giving heart as she proclaimed God's goodness to all even in the midst of suffering. We will celebrate her life reminded so of her deep laughter and her love of life, friends, and family. We were all blessed because Anna lived. God's purpose was fulfilled in her brief seventeen years. His purpose will continue to be fulfilled in our lives and others. 

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. Jeremiah 29:11

I couldn't have said it any better.  My heart is thankful Anna and Andrew are having an eternal dance that will last forever!  We miss you both dearly!
Overall, I have been doing better.  I still cry for Andrew everyday, but it's less intense than before.  I shake my head at times, thinking is he really gone?  It seems like he has been on a long vacation or away at school.  The stages of grieving are not linear and go back in forth.  I really haven't been angry, but anger is a part of normal grieving and I have tried to give myself grace in doing so, as I have felt anger these days.  What does my anger look like?  I ask God why Andrew had to be taken at such a young age?  I have raised a fist or two at the heavens as I try to get it all out.  I know my God is big enough God to handle anything.  Again, everything seems to remind me of him.  At times, I have a hard time looking at his pictures, because of the pain they elicit.  The good news is I have been able to think of great memories of Andrew and not as many painful memories of his fight with cancer and his death.  Since my cousin Robin has been living with us, we have had many laughs (Yep, he is the one who spoke at the Celebration Service) all due to his funny nature.  At those times, we think how Andrew would always be cracking up with a huge boyish smile and laugh.  He loved being around family.  Andrew was the first nephew to be born and he grew up loving his aunts and uncles, having the penchant to laugh at all their stories.  I miss him cracking up where his smile blended into his round cheeks!  I really miss that!  

Jennifer and my close friends would say my demeanor has changed and I am starting to be my goofy fun loving self.  In my health and wellness class at Trinity, each classmate had to give a final presentation on various topics and one of my classmates, Dawna, presented on laughter and the benefits of laughing.  Proverbs 17:22 says:

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

And I  shared some verses sometime ago, but Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 4 says:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

The bible is so right on about laughter and a joyful heart.  These days, I have been able to start laughing at things and it has done wonders for my aching heart.  I am reminded there is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes, a time to mourn and a time to laugh!  I am so grateful to God He can heal a crushed and broken spirit and do it in the most trivial things: things that can make you laugh and heal your heart.  Jennifer often times reminds me Andrew wants me to laugh and enjoy life and that Andrew is rooting me on to do so.  So I will try to.

Please continue to pray for Jennifer, myself, Emily, Bryanna and the family as we grief over the loss of our precious Andrew.  I ask you to pray for me and Jennifer as we will be studying for new vocations.  As most of you know, I am currently going to school to get my teacher's certification and Jennifer has a goal to become a pediatric ICU nurse!  Thank you, we surely appreciate it.

I also have asked you all to consider donating to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's 
Light the Night event, where Andrew's Army has been walking the past three years to raise money to help cancer patients as they fight this insidious cancer and to help find a cure.  I have set a rather lofty goal and I pray you would consider helping out.  And by all means, please share this with friends and family as we do this in honor of all cancer patients who are still with us and who have gone on.  We do this is memory of Andrew.  Thanks! Press Here!

Just in case:




  1. beautiful, joe. i miss him so much. i cry, too. i can't believe it, either. it's so confusing.
    i'm so proud of emily. she looks wonderful.
    i love you, joe.

  2. What a beautiful picture! What a beautiful post. I continue to pray for you and know that the God of the Universe holds you and your family in the palm of His hand. I love what you said about the grieving process not being linear. Oh. So. True.
    Thanks for posting. Just yesterday I was wondering how you and your family were doing.

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