I Blog For Books

19 January 2009

Blessed

Eighty days ago, I numbly sat with my siblings, stepmother, and other family members as my father was laid to rest. He fought a valiant battle, but the cancer was too strong. I am better able to deal with the loss because I know that he was at peace, with God, with going home. (written 23 Aug 07)

The older we get, the more we realize that death is indeed a fact of life. We are going to lose someone. At nine, I lost my uncle Sugie in a brutal murder that took not only his life, but the lives of his father, his uncle, his two brothers, and his sister-in-law. At seventeen, I lost both grandmothers. My maternal grandmother died in July, my paternal grandmother just a few weeks later. About 13 months after grandma died, grandpa Abel followed her. As I grew to young adulthood and began my own family, there were a few funerals, great-aunts and uncles, but none closer until my cousin Terry chose to end his life in 1993. Even though we were not as close as we were when we were young, that one hurt. Terry and I were two months apart in age.
That period of my life, as far as losing someone goes, is at times a blur. First Terry, then my sister lost her husband in a car accident, Uncle Jimmy died, and in November 1995, my stepfather died. That was my children's first real experience with the death of a close family member. I think that was more difficult for me than dealing with my own grief and trying to be there for my mother. Fast forward a few years, it is now the fall of 2000, and granddaddy loses his battle with the colon cancer that ravaged his body. Losing granddaddy was like closing that final door on childhood, even though I was 36 years old.
Why, today, do I reflect on the passing of family? Earlier this morning I had a conversation with my stepmother. As if daddy's cancer battles, open heart surgery, and loss were not enough, Kathy was told just shortly after daddy died that she had breast cancer. It was as if I'd been hit in the head with a brick. I cannot even begin to imagine what she has been through these past few years, only to be hit yet again. We spent a few minutes reflecting, and she shared with me that she felt blessed. Blessed because the cancer was not invasive. Blessed because it was only in one breast and not both. Blessed because she was alive. What a joyful thought! God has been with her, and she does not hesitate to share that.

The lesson I learned? Be thankful for what you have, instead of complaining. I have so much in my life to be thankful for! Yes, daddy is gone now, but I was blessed to have him for 43 years. I thank God today, and every day, for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me. I pray for His guidance, His strength, and His wisdom. He gladly gives those to me ... all for free. All I have to do is ask, and believe. How incredibly awesome is that?

"Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds-his name is the LORD-and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." ~Psalm 68:4-5 NIV

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