Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble Gobble

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4

I am so thankful for that promise in God's word, aren't you?

This is Monday of Thanksgiving week....... for most it's a time of making the grocery list, ordering the ham, and buying the turkey. It's about cleaning for company, and getting ready for shopping and putting up decorations.

That's always been true at our house, but it's also a time of remembering.
This journey had a beginning ~ that dreadful day when the doctor gave us bad news. And that news that changed our lives forever.

Frank had an MRI on the Friday before Thanksgiving (2002). Monday, we were awaiting a call from the spine doctor that ordered the test. But instead, our Internist called and wanted to see Frank that afternoon. He said the other doctor was on jury duty, and he asked him to see Frank right away. We both thought we were about to get news that Frank needed back surgery. But as you know, it was very different news.

The rest of the week was busy, hectic and everything was urgent.... doctors, xrays, biopsies, surgery, telling the kids, all the family, his Elliott family.... and I remember every detail.

I'm sure there are many days about the last 7 years that I will not remember as clearly as time goes on. But that Monday - and that Thanksgiving week - isn't one of them. It's as vivid as the day it happened.

As Frank's family was saddened to hear the news, my family was still trying to process Jim's cancer diagnosis just 3 weeks earlier. That shock had not worn off and here we had another diagnosis to process. I have often said, "2 sisters with husbands the same age, diagnosed within a month of each other, both with blood cancers. That's probably as likely as lightening striking the same place twice."

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Thanksgiving that year was one of the most precious times our families had together. I remember it being a sweet time, lots of laughter, and tears, a some excitement thrown in for good measure. Dave, Neely's husband fell in the attic and came through to the kitchen! He made a matching hole in the ceiling where I had done the same thing a year before!

Yes.... that day - that week - will never fade from my memory. The thing that sticks out to me, is that in light of everything going on, we rested on a firm foundation that God had not left his throne. And we were not alone. We had all the emotions normal for the situation at hand, but they filtered through that truth as we processed them.

"For this God is our God for ever and ever, he will be our guide even to the end." Psalm 48:14

As we approach this Thanksgiving, 2009, we will approach it the same way. Frank's family is coming to town (Dave won't be allowed in the attic) and we will join families and celebrate God's goodness. God is still on His throne.

A lot has changed since November 2002. Neely and Dave have 3 children, Jim is cancer free, Julie is engaged to be married and much more.... and two precious people will be missing from our table.

My heart is heavy as we experience Thanksgiving without Frank, of course, but my heart is also aching for other friends and loved ones I know are hurting too. Everywhere we turn, we know others going through hard times. Friends in our Hope family are walking a similar journey this season. Friends fighting cancer, Lyme disease, and grieving loss. I ran into another widow friend at Chase's swim meet. We shared our anxiety about the holiday season. I walked away committed to pray for her and others every day of this season. I pray God will comfort them and shower them with His grace and mercy.

"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You." Psalm 33:22

Last Wednesday, November 18th, was our anniversary. Another first. We would have been married 20 years! Frank tried hard to make that one - we talked about it on occasion.

I watched our "once was lost, but glad we found it" wedding video. (It was "lost" under Zach's bed.) I thought I would cry my eyes out the whole time. I started out with a few tears, but it quickly turned to laughter as I saw - how can I say this?..... as I pondered the choices I had made in planning our special day. The dresses were "interesting", the music was "mood altering", and the preacher was "interested in his topic". That's a nice way of saying the 80's styles were ugly, the music yucky and the service was way too long!

But one part I payed close attention to. The vows. They were just right. I loved hearing his voice as we told each other we would love each other in plenty and in want, in sickness or health until death parted us. In the end, it's all about vows. Little did we know then what our future held together. But I am so thankful for 19 1/2 years together, and for the 3 children God blessed us with. And I am most thankful for a marriage that ended as good as it started.

As we go through our first holiday without our Franks, I am thankful for the blessings God has given us as a family. I still thank God for each person that prays for us, encourages us, provides for us, and continues to love us. We thank God for you, and pray His blessings on you.


Peggy, Chandler, Zach and Chase