Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Almost everywhere I go people ask how I am.
If that has been you... thank you for asking. Thank you for caring.
Thank you.
However usually my response is "we are OK"
which is true.
Life doesn't look much different today than it did 2 months ago.
And I suspect as life changes we adjust our sails accordingly and absorb the slight shifts.
I also do not think there is a way to prepare for grief.
So most days I awake to the boys already being loud and stamping about.
We eat, play, clean and do.
Andy sleeps.
A lot.
And we all live the day before us, hopefully, to the best of our ability.
The only changes I have really noticed since we decided to stop treatment are the slight increase in the Captain's sleeping and the slight decrease in his ability to move his right leg well.
He falls about 2 times a week. Give or take. He has yet to hurt himself, praise God. And it takes great effort by both he and I to hoist him back into an upright and standing position.
We have received so many cards, emails, texts, messages. It is overwhelmingly amazing. We feel loved and cared for and blessed. If you have sent me one... please know, I have read it, I have most likely responded in my mind... and then my hands and brain start to do something else and your sweet correspondence gets buried in my list. I know I have let some fall through the cracks... and I apologize. Please know I have read everything... and been blessed by your kind words of encouragement and prayer.
Since the decision to stop treatment... which is a phrase and an action people, in general, do not like to hear or accept... the reality of what is before us has begun to take shape.
Andy is dying.
It was not a decision made in haste. It was not made lightly.
And it was not made without thought or guidance.
And even though I am 100% confident that the decision we made was best for our family, for us, for Andy... It is still heartbreaking.
However I have had many moments of encouragement these past weeks. A sweet lady was sharing what she knew to be true of God in her own life... and her words have raced around my mind for over a week... following my thoughts and entering my conversations.
She said:
 "Heaven is our reward, not our consolation prize."
And I fell in love with it.
Because it is exactly how I had been feeling, how I had been thinking, how I wanted to tell people Andy and I were viewing this situation but couldn't come up with the proper way to do so....
But there it is... beautifully succinct and wonderfully stated.
 "Heaven is our reward, not our consolation prize."
And then Sunday the sermon was on Ecclesiastes 7:1-6
And I heard:
7:1 A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
and was reminded that:
Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
This is the view I hold on Caden's death... I mean, we even have a celebration on her Heaven day...
Because in my heart I know that the day she went to Heaven to be with Christ forever was far greater than the day she was born.
And so it will be with Andy... Because Andy has accepted Christ as his personal savior... when he dies he will go to Heaven, to be with Christ... to be with Caden, forever.
However, we are human. And with this knowledge and belief we also know there is pain with the death of a loved one. There is a tension to the death of a believer... between joy and grief.
Because, quite frankly, it hurts. It physically aches to miss someone you love.
But that hurt will be mine... not Andy's.
and, I know, the pain does not last forever.
God is gracious in that way.
So although we know what is in store... we talk about it openly... we discuss what it means for me, the boys and our families... we do not lose heart, instead we take courage because we know...
Heaven is our reward, not our consolation prize.
if your interested in the sermon I spoke of, It's available here. 

Upside Down - Biblical Better and Worse



Emily said...

I thought of you guys during the message on Sunday. And I love that quote you shared. Just awesome! Praying for your family!

The Buchanan Family said...

Praying for you, your boys and Andy. I can't imagine what you are going through.

Iris Pederson said...

You have been in my daily prayers, Cari. Thank you for your openness in sharing. I feel like I learn so much about faith and graciousness and being transparent in the family of God from you. With much love from the Pedersons <3

Rhonda said...

I always love your words. We are brought up to not think about death and dying - we even have some nice euphemisms for it - passed away, gone, in heaven, etc. - just to avoid using the word. Very few ppl actually get the opportunity to prepare for it, and come to an acceptance of it. And when they do, it's a little uncomfortable for the rest of us. God has blessed your family with His foreknowledge. He is such a good God. Live and love today!

Carl Wilcox said...

I've been an RN for almost 30 years, & I know how much courage is displayed by people in your situation, & have an idea just how difficult it is to go through. (I will not say I know how you feel - I don't.) Please know you are in my prayers & those of my friends.

Anonymous said...

I'm grateful to hear the scripture that you passed along, and also that gem of a quote. So happy she crossed your path, and that you are sharing it now with us.

Prayers going up for your lovely family. For your rest, comfort, play, peace; for your bodies, minds, hands and hearts. Love and encouragement to you.

Lea said...

Been praying for you, Andy, the boys & rest of your families! I know that our Amazing God is carrying you through each moment! It was good to see you at Meijer last week (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago)!

Chrissy said...

I don't know you - a friend shared your blog on facebook. My father-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly 3 weeks ago. Our son is 5 months old, and it pains me to know he will never know his grandfather. Thank you for your words. It's really helped me put this time into perspective. I blog at http://chrissysdullmoments.blogspot.com

love to your family.

Cari said...

I've been holding you all near my heart and prayers in recent weeks. We may never know each other, but your brave family has impacted how I interact with my family on the daily and in my conversations with God. Heaven is a reward- so SO true. Praying LOTS of blessings among you all, today, tomorrow, and in the weeks and years ahead! Thank you for sharing your journey- even when it's not easy.

Anonymous said...

Your openness and your love for God is truly amazing and something that I have learned from. I think it is truly amazing that during this time you are not angry towards God or not overall angry towards God. You may not like God's plan but you are rejoicing in the reward. Thanks for sharing your life so that others can learn from this. Know that many are praying for you and your sweet family.

adrienne said...

I am from Friday Mops and ever since I heard the news I have been praying for u guys... U are a very strong person and God must think so.. I love the phase

lindasix said...

Cari, we have been praying for your family. Know that Jesus' blood is covering you and His peace is your. Love you all and will continue to pray for you. Have just finished reading your blog and your life and testimony glorify Jesus in all you do and say. I know He is with you.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman...giving and showing so much strength and encouragement throughout all of this. We are praying for the Captain, you, and your precious family....even with the promise of Heaven, I know there are some hard days ahead for all of you....so we, your brothers and sisters in Christ will help by continuing to lift you up in prayer! We love you!