We have been running and unwinding and visiting and celebrating and grieving over the past couple of weeks. We celebrated my sweet father-in-law two weekends ago. It was such a sweet time with the whole family. There were so many emotions that weekend- we laughed at stories about him, we cried as we experienced new “firsts” like being at the house without him, we hugged lots as we saw people from so many seasons of our lives, and we celebrated God’s faithfulness to keep his promises to us. We looked death in the eye and said it would not prevail. We thanked the Lord for his immediate taking of his saints to be with him. We answered lots of questions about where our grandfather is now, how eternal life works, what is he doing now- so many good questions and good conversations about death. We believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain and that weekend allowed us to talk about and live it.
My mother-in-law was amazing all weekend and really set the tone for the celebration of his life. She embraced the beauty and the pain of the experience and therefore, all our family did too. I am so grateful for her- for her example of loving for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. She shared all weekend what God was teaching her, and my children and I saw that God is an ever present help in times of trouble and He gives hope in the midst of tragedy. I have watched her faithfully care for him over the 14 years that I have been part of this family-and I am so grateful for it. Her determination, thoughtfulness, and wisdom allowed us to enjoy him for many, many more years than we expected.
We returned to a sweet community that welcomed us home, filled our refrigerators, and sent flowers and contributions to our church in Wayne’s memory. One even made us a blanket that is simply beautiful!
God used my father in law’s death to show us His kindness. He can take all things and make them beautiful in his time.