Two years?

Where has the time gone? Two years, how can that be?  

There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real. The other day I was thinking about you and then reality hit me that I will never see you in the flesh again. You aren't just a phone call away. 

The legacy of your life lives on through the people that love you. You were a living testimony and I talk about you to people and I share your testimony.  

Tomorrow will be a day of mixed emotions. There will be sadness because we miss you so much. There is also rejoicing because two years ago you met Jesus. Face to face. What could be better than that? 

April 8 is a significant day in the Dake house. We are bringing our German shepherd puppy, Luger home after two years of Osa has being gone. We will be together getting to know our pup and reminiscing about you. There was never a dull moment with you. We are better people because of having you in our lives so there will be tears and laughter.

I miss you Doug! I am so lucky to have had you as my brother. You were simply the best! 

Photo credit: Digital Memories by Debbie Koehler

Photo credit: Digital Memories by Debbie Koehler

Can't have hope without grief

I saw this quote today. Thank you Debby for sharing! This week we lit the advent candle at THQ (work). Bernie read the passage and I lit the candle. How fitting it was for us to talk about hope. I'm tattooed with hope and so is my family because almost two years ago we claimed hope for my brother who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We have a hope and his name is Jesus! This resonated in my heart today.  

"It's precisely because everything hurts that we prepare for Advent now. We don't get to hope without having grief. Hope dares to admit that not everything is as it should be, and so if we want to be hopeful, first we have to grieve. First we have to see that something is broken and there is a reason for why we need hope to begin with." Sarah Bessey

photo credit: lauradake

photo credit: lauradake

A year already?

April 8, 2014. 1:28am.

I can't believe that Doug has been in heaven for a year! It is insane to think that is possible. A year ago my family sat around my brother's bed, trying to make him comfortable, we laughed, we cried, we had "sleep overs", we joked, we played music, and we prayed. 

It's interesting how your prayers change from, God we beg you for a miracle, for a healing to take place to God take this child because his pain has consumed every part of his physical being.

Some people tell me it will get easier and thinking about him every day will become less painful as the years go by. It is true that this day last year I could not comprehend that I would be where I am today but I have thought about Doug in some way or another, every day! Sometimes it is in the form of laughter. Some through tears! Sadness. Happiness. Thankful that I had 43 years with this soul but the pain is still there. Sometimes it doesn't seem real. But it is SO real. 

Sometimes it is the smallest things that will trigger a memory. I was in Target the other day and at the end of an isle there was a display of small fans. I immediately texted Melissa a picture. Melissa purchased this fan for my brother to keep on the table next to his bed. The air circulating on his face helped keep his breathing under control. The fan was a part of his collection of things he had near him like his flashlight and lip balm. :)

I am most grateful for Doug's testimony and his love for Jesus. The little brother of this big sister prayed for me to be at peace when I wasn't. Prayed for me to not be angry with God. There was a time when Doug was very far away from the love of God. Thank God he was the one not far from Doug. Because of Doug's surrender he lives in heaven today with Jesus. 

Thank you to our faithful family and friends that prayed Doug would see Jesus for who he was. Faithful. Loving. Generous. Forgiving. And...Healer. Not necessarily the way I wanted him to be healed but in God's perfect healing and timing.

I miss you Doug just as much today as the day you left us here on earth. The day you were healed and made perfect. I will never let your memory fade away. I promise! 

April 24, 2015 we are participating in a relay for life at Lilburn Park at 5:00pm. If you would like to contribute to cancer research in honor/memory of Doug, please click on the link to donate.

Oh Happy Day

Yesterday we sang a worship song called Happy Day by Jesus Culture. I love when we sing "contemporary" worship songs in our church instead of "traditional" congregational songs. I don't say that to offend anybody, it's my style. The way I like to worship. The way I connect.  

I was singing the first verse. The chorus. The guitar strumming. The drums. We get to the second verse. Tears. 

When I stand, in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours, Jesus You are mine
Endless joy and perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive, He is alive

Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That you saved me
Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious name

I sent a text to Bernie to tell him what I just experienced. I couldn't even read the words again without tearing up. Even now.

I have been DEEPLY affected by the death of Doug.

Forever changed.

Doug claimed Jesus as friend and master. He stood in that place. Face to face with his creator. We prayed for peace and calm. Joy comes in the morning. The earthly pain, which I can't even begin to describe, ceased. He is finally alive!

I pray that I live a life worthy.

Photo credit: lauradake [swiss alps #madewithvrsly]

Photo credit: lauradake [swiss alps #madewithvrsly]

Birds singing and sunshine

It's a holiday. Memorial Day. A time to reflect on our soldiers that give of themselves for our country. It also means a day off which for me at this point in my journey I need.


I'm sitting outside on the patio enjoying the sunshine on my skin and listening to the birds sing their songs. I'm thinking about my parents and hope they have a safe trip home from Savannah. I'm thinking about Melissa. Thinking about how her journey has changed and how that looks going forward. Last night was the last night she slept at her house. The one Doug and her shared. The place they started their life. Moving is one more stepping stone. 

I think about Doug. Constantly. Always on my mind. How even now the tears flow so easy and fast. I hear the birds sing. I think about how much more God the father loves his children. Me. I think about Doug singing with the angels. He is in heaven with Jesus. He is not in pain or suffering anymore. It's not the case for us who loved him. My heart and head hurts every day. The void that is left is a huge crater. How will those places ever be filled again?

This day I will choose to be grateful that Doug IS in heaven. Perfect. I'm grateful for the 43 years I was able to love him and call him brother.  Today I choose joy!

I love you sweet boy! 


The struggle is real...but great the reward

I struggle to find the words. They aren't adequate to describe the emotion or the love I have experienced this week but I have to share.

We came as fast as we could. Doug had been rushed to the hospital because he couldn't catch his breath and spiraled into an anxiety attack. Heart rate at dangerous levels. I think this was the first time he realized that he was on borrowed time.  

He talked to mom and Melissa and he wanted them to pray for peace and calm. All he wanted was to go to sleep and wake up in the arms of Jesus. When I arrived he had the same talk with me. I wanted to be strong but this big sister was not. I told him I wasn't at peace. I was not ready for God to come for him. I needed more time. We needed a miracle. You know, the healing kind that God is in the business of doing. I sat next to his bed and held his arm and wept. He said he would  "pray for peace for me too and for me not to be sad."

Every morning I came down and told the sweet boy that I loved him and gave him a kiss. We talked and I said, "one day soon you will see Jesus. You will be perfect and in no more pain. " He said, "yup, I'll see Jesus."

Most of the week he was engaged. Communicating. Making us laugh...I mean belly laughing! We took turns staying with him. He wanted "slumber parties." He wanted family to be around him. He didn't want to be alone.

Saturday evening he became less responsive. He didn't speak. His eyes mostly closed. But even in that state, you could see he was trying to engage. A flicker of the eye. The corner of his lip up trying to smile.

It was so painful to see him suffer. We sat here everyday by his side. Comforting him. Taking care of him. Loving him. He struggled.

It culminated the evening of the 7th. The struggle was real! Arms up in the air, over his head, then crashing down on the bed. Chest moving up and down at various speeds. Clearly agitated. Clearly in distress. With family surrounding Doug, mom prayed over Doug, releasing him into the arms of Jesus but Doug was not ready. Fighting for a total of four hours.

After four hours at 1:28am on April 8, 2014, Doug left this earth and entered heaven to be with our Heavenly Father. He is no longer in pain and is made whole and perfect in God's sight.

We miss him so much but are comforted he is at peace with our father in heaven. 




Your Will, O God

In the devotional book Revealing Jesus by Darlene Zschech, today's devotional is entitled Your Will Be Done.  God doesn't force his will on us. He offers his unconditional love, but it's our choice to accept or reject it.

In the humanness of Jesus, he asked God if the cup that contained all sin, all evil and all the pain of mankind could be avoided. He didn't wait for a response. He knew his mission. He simply restated, "your will be done." Jesus showed us how to completely trust. He also teaches us the most important prayer we can utter: Your will, O God.

photo credit: lauradake

photo credit: lauradake

I don't want to be selfish. Watching my brother fight for every day, every moment, every breath is so difficult to watch. Even though it's difficult I would not want to be anywhere else.

I watch this man whose funny loving spirit is inside of him but is masked by so much pain. I am afraid of the void he will leave behind. For a wife. A parent. A sibling. But I'm comforted to know that he loves Jesus! He prays constantly to God Our Father. Even in the pain and suffering. There is no doubt that he will see Jesus and look into his Glory. 

So through tears, a broken heart, I need to pray like Jesus prayed. Your Will, O God! 

Water of Life

It's amazing how everything has changed so drastically in just a few weeks. I sit here and watch. I am disturbed. Sickened. Heart broken. This disease is debilitating, life changing and life taking.

I heard him say today that the glass of water sitting by his bed looked so good. He wondered why he couldn't drink and swallow anymore. Think about it...swallow. How easy was that?

This is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I'm trying to keep it together. I don't want to add any concern to his heart. But wow...this is stretching me. I love this boy so much! I know he belongs to Jesus. I don't want him to suffer with this excruciating pain but I'm also not ready for God's plan to come to fruition. We pray for peace.

John's reminder that Jesus is our thirst quencher.

photo credit: laura dake

photo credit: laura dake

Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst-not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life. -John 4:14