Amazing grace

Four years. it’s been four years today since my wife Karen died and my world — and those who knew her and loved her — changed forever.

Throughout Karen‘s diagnosis, I tried to stay optimistic, looking for that miracle. She knew better, but instead of dwelling on her death, she used the time to reflect on her life and put things in order {putting things in order was her specialty}.

After five months of diagnosis and treatment, 10 days in the hospital — including our 40th anniversary — and two more weeks of radiation, it all came to a quiet end. Those days are etched forever in my mind.

During her radiation treatment, she started complaining of pain, but refused to have any more tests. We had a doctor’s appointment Tuesday and her oncologist came in with the dreaded news, the cancer had returned – both in her liver and lung. There was
nothing more that could be done. It was too soon to restart chemo and too extensive for more radiation. The best they could do was
keep her comfortable until it was time to let go.

The doctors estimated a couple of weeks. We got a couple of days.

Karen was so weak, but she was still stoic. We conference called you the kids Tuesday afternoon with the news and, thank you
from the bottom of my heart, for their response and quick arrival. All she wanted was to see her kids again.

The plan was for me to give them the letters and sentimental
“things” to remember her by after she died. But when they all got
there by Thursday night (Sept. 25), she wanted to say goodbye to her kids personally.

I know it was emotional for them, just as much as it was for
Karen and me. But she wanted me to let them know they all were her life. I recommend reading Deanna’s blog, “Thankful for the Legacy” at for her and her siblings’ perspective.

In her letter to me – yes, she wrote one to me as well – she wanted me to make sure each of our children knew, though she made a lot of mistakes along the way, she did her best and above all, she loved them with all her heart and soul … unconditionally.

Karen had a rough Thursday night/Friday morning, but we were able to talk alone, walk down Memory Lane again and say the things we wanted to say to each other. Early Friday morning, she said she was tired of hurting. I told her it was okay. It hurts – and it will hurt – but we would rather hurt than her. When she was ready, just go. Our Lord was waiting.

She was basically unresponsive all day Friday, Friday night and Saturday morning, but her breathing became more and more labored. At 12:35 p.m. she opened her eyes and we all gathered around her to tearfully say goodbye. She took her last breath at 12:38 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27.

I don’t know much about the mechanics of death, but I do know Karen faced it with grace and dignity. There was no apprehension. There was no tension in her hands.

It may not be scientifically nor theologically true, but I believe her eyes opened to the glory of eternity as she saw her Lord and Savior come with open arms to embrace her and bring her to the Father.

She wrote to me, “Ready or not the Lord is going to bring me to a new home. I’m not sure He’s ready but who am I to question? I do wonder what it is like. I guess we are always afraid of the ‘unknown’ and, trust me, I’m no different. Eternity is a long time. Do you think I’ll be charged with cleaning? Maybe cooking? Wow, can you imagine the kitchen I’d have there? I could do the cooking and be in heaven … literally.

“The only thing I know for sure is that there will be no more cancer, no more tears, no more tiredness or sickness, swollen bodies from fluids and poisons. Just, joy, laughter, praise, worship and glorious peace.”

My prayer is when it is time for me to join her, I have the same peace, grace and dignity.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my journey since that day.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Every day, tell your spouse, your children, those who mean the most to you how much you love them.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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8 Responses to Amazing grace

  1. Pingback: In the Blink of an Eye | Father Says…

  2. What a poignant post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pingback: We Had So Many Moments | Father Says…

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