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. main.acsevents.org/goto/DougHale

A New Day Is Dawning

Fear can paralyze. Knock you to your knees. Sucker punch you square in the face. Take your breath away.

That's what happened yesterday evening. After a series of events my brother found himself frustrated, an elevated heart rate (170 beats per minute), unable to breathe, and I imagined scared to death. The ambulance came and transported him to Fair Oakes Hospital. They were able to stabilize his breathing (130 beats per minute) although still above normal but stabilized. Chest x-ray, ct scan and other tests were done. Fluids were pumped into him. Since Friday, swallowing has been difficult so he hasn't had much to drink and hasn't been able to take medication. His white blood cell count is high. Not surprising because he hasn't had treatment since January.

I asked my mom why hospice wouldn't give him fluids or a feeding tube but that isn't the job of hospice. They just make you comfortable and try to manage the pain. There is a part of me that thinks this quick decline could've been prevented. That there has to be a different level of treatment between chemo and hospice.

Maybe I'm grasping at straws or trying to blame somebody because I want my brother to live. Maybe God's plan is coming to fruition just the way He planned. I'm having a difficult time trying to understand why God, the loving God, the Healer, the worker of miracles, the God of second chances isn't saving Doug. 

I believe, God, I do. Doug has been brought to you time and time again. You gave him second chances. You give all of us second chances.  He came back to you, chased after you and loves you. Then out of no where...BAM...sucker punch.

I've claimed hope. I've been inked as a reminder but as a friend reminded me today, the greatest of these is LOVE.

Deep in my heart I know Doug will be made perfect when he gets to meet Jesus face to face. He won't be in pain and he will have his beautiful infectious smile on his face. But for those of us who love him here on earth are left with a deep void. God, help me see you in all of it. Help my heart so that it doesn't become hardened. Keep it tender.

So, today we wake up. Today is a gift. I can only live for today.  

The transMission song, All Things New, is playing in my head. It's amazing how much the music and lyric can speak truth and cause your heart to be stirred. Thank you to my friends that have the ability to hear God's voice and produce melodies.

photo credit: lauradake

photo credit: lauradake

All Things New
Words & Music by Phil Laeger
Arranged by Marty Mikles

In early twilight when the day is breaking, edging out the night

My song will rise to You, my life will sing Your praise and breathe Your light

Your perfect love is like this radiance that warms the day anew

And I will join with all creation, singing, "Glory, God to You"

Your mercy and compassion

They are new every morning; a new day is dawning

Your faithfulness and Your tenderness

They are drawing me to You

And You are making all things

Your mercy and compassion

From time eternal Lord Your spoken Word brings everything to life

Your Spirit hovers over chaos, separating dark from light

While we were dead in sin, Your Shepherd voice was calling us apart

You shine the knowledge of the glory of Your Son into our hearts

Shine Your Son into our hearts