It's been a few days and finding the words are proving to be difficult. The viewing and service celebrating Doug's life took place Thursday and Friday. Traveled Saturday. Decompressing. Learning what it means to live life without Doug. Overwhelmed.
We are so blessed at how many people came to pay their respects. We saw people from years past. We saw and heard from people we went to school with. We saw people who didn't even know him but came to support me. I love to hear the stories.
I want to tell you a little bit about who Doug was. My parents talk about how he was a wonderful son and the bond that each of them had with him. He was a faithful and loving husband to Melissa. She loves her "Shnooks!" He was an awesome brother who taught me a lot about how to be strong and how relying on God is the only way to get through life.
He was raised to love the Lord. He was a prodigal for a time. Who hasn't been? He found Christ again and wanted to follow Him. He wanted to be the person God made him to be. God kept perfecting him. He wanted all of what God had for him. Doug's faith was strong. He lived out his faith. He was passionate and caring for others.
When Doug was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer, Doug and Melissa made a covenant decision that through this trial if one person came to know Christ it would be worth it. We have read and heard stories of people publicly recounting stories of their own faith journey because of Doug's example. One great story is one of their friends reached out to Melissa and asked where she could get a bible. Doug was still able to communicate so Melissa told him she was going to give her one of his bibles. This friend told my mother that she will never be the same because of Doug.
My brother had a lot of things. I wanted the afghan mom made him for his birthday this past January. He loved that thing and used it all the time. But more importantly I wanted one of his bibles. Melissa gave me the bible he liked to take to church. I was looking through it to see if there were any markings. I found a few that were dated around the time of his diagnoses. A passage from Psalm 119:153-156 was highlighted. He prayed this to the Lord just 10 hours before he found out the cancer was stage 4. His faith never wavered.
Doug clung to Jesus. He knew that he was going to see Jesus! He is living in Heaven. He is perfect. No pain! His prayer was answered...he is at peace resting in the arms of Jesus.
We shared some great times these last few weeks. He made us laugh and smile despite the extreme pain he was in. I will treasure these moments for a lifetime. I miss him! There is a void left in this family. I love you Doug, with all my heart!
So we celebrate this life of Douglas Edward Hale III
A son, brother, husband, a child of God.
January 19, 1971 - April 8, 2014