God be with Dennis and Dawn and all of young Denny's siblings as they grieve the loss of their boy. I can't imagine the kind of pain they must be in, nor the gaping hole in their lives right now. Please, Father, wrap them in Your arms and give them extra comfort while they go through this tragic time of sorrow. Our hearts and prayers go out to this family.
Chad and I were spared having to say goodbye to our son last August. Our girls faced the possible loss of their brother but never had to lose him for real. We looked death in the face, but God kept us from needing to wait until Heaven to see our son again. Dennis and Dawn are hurting so badly right now, I'm sure, and yet---I truly have no idea what they must be feeling, what thoughts are swirling around in their heads, what images they see when they close their eyes for some much-needed rest. We were very blessed to have loving family and friends gathered round us; never, at any time, we were ever alone through those first weeks. I pray this family has someone who will stand there with them and listen to people for them, as we did, so that they will not need to focus on anything at this time but their own family, their little ones and each other. It was such a relief to know that there was always someone else nearby who could "handle" the small stuff or listen to the nurses' advice and relay what they thought we needed to know.
Though I do not know this couple and do not know how each of them will best get through this tragedy, I do know that everyone grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way to handle grief. Katie and I wanted to stay by Dale's bedside and never budge; Amanda, our oldest, needed to be "doing" in order to work through her stress; Ashley and Emily, our youngest two, wanted to be close by but needed to be distracted from the drama so as not to be sucked under by it. Chad.......there are no words to describe the awesome man I married. During the most intense, stressful, traumatic time of his life, he was solid as a rock. He cried and prayed. He joked and grieved. He sat by his son's bedside and then went out the waiting room to be sure each person who came felt our gratitude for their support. He even faced, with manly decision, the need to return home that Sunday night, not yet knowing if Dale would survive. I thank God for our pastor, who decided to pay Chad's salary for the week, allowing him to remain at Doernbecher with Dale and our family. Chad determined to keep the family together, driving back to Washington late Friday night in order to pick up our girls, snatch a few hours' sleep, and drive back to Oregon to be at the hospital. He was absolute strength for me during those hard days, and I will always hold in my heart the way he looked when he said, "There will be a tomorrow. We will still serve God."
On a lighter note, we had a great Memorial Day weekend. Contrary to the weatherman's dire prediction, it is still fairly nice out with no rain to speak of. (Here in western Washington, that equals less than three inches!!!) Chad, me, Emily, and Dale started out Saturday morning intending to look for a couch to replace the one that didn't survive five years with our kids (!). During the course of the morning, we picked up the other three girls and all managed to crowd into my husband's truck---which really only seats six, but don't tell anybody! We drove to the Old Cannery Warehouse furniture store and looked around. We'd been there once before (five years ago, but the broken couch didn't come from there!), and the kids were excited to go back again. The warehouse is decorated "old-timey" style with talking mannequins here and there and a miniature train that runs on a track above the heads of the crowd. And it was crowded! Not enough to be elbow-to-elbow, but enough to cause Dale to have to focus more. He, Katie, and I only made it through about 1/3 of the store before Ashley and Dad came ambling back to say they had found the right couch. (To my credit, not until this very moment did I even realize I didn't get to do any actual shopping!) Dale sat down in a convenient chair and commenced eating some (free) popcorn while Chad and the saleslady took me back to see the couch. (It's deep brown with a burgundy tint; it reclines on both sides of the loveseat; it doesn't push my head forward when I sit in it. In other words, it's fine!) Once we filled out the necessary paperwork, our family wound our way back through to the front entrance where we found Amanda and Emily, who had been on their own tour, finishing up their (free) hot dogs and (free) soda. We all grabbed some and enjoyed the Memorial Day sale's perks! It was a fun family outing for us all and one that served to remind us again how good God has been to us.
Sunday was a great day, as usual, because we got to go to God's house and be with His people. But also, after the service Sunday night, we all went out to the gym and had cake and ice cream in honor of our pastor's birthday, which was yesterday. Dale even had two pieces because his friend, Aaron, got him a second piece! It was a relaxing time, fellowshipping with our church family and adding to our waistlines. What a blessing to be a part of this incredible church! We are surrounded by good, godly, giving people who inspire us to be the best Christians we can possibly be for God's service. Thank You, Lord, for our church and body of believers.
Monday was spent lazing about the house. (Did you really expect anything different?) The kids all enjoyed Dale's new video game---which he wanted to play non-stop all weekend. We finally put a ban on the game just to get a little quiet cartoon time! The older girls went to a friend's house and then to the mall. They had a good time and returned stuffed to the gills with good Samoan food. They also got new look-alike shirts at the mall, so they were happy. Ashley tried her best to convince me to take her to the mall so she could spend her Claire's gift card, but I resisted. I spent my day off doing as I pleased......which meant doing pretty much nothing of importance. I did fix the meals and drove the girls to/from their friend's house, but I drew the line at going to the mall! Seriously---the mall on Memorial Day? All those crowds and people wall to wall? That's like going shopping the day after Thanksgiving! No way.
I have to close for now although there is so much more to tell. Suffice it to say, God has been good to us. He is all wise and completely trustworthy. It is our pleasure, to say nothing of our duty, to live for Him.
Psalm 37: 4 - 5 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."