Another year...another anniversary

Here we are. Another year has passed. Let’s be honest, this year has flown by! Year after year time moves at warp speed.

January 19 was the day my brother was born.  I wish that I was throwing a big party for him. Making him his favorite foods. Celebrating him!

The last birthday we celebrated was four years ago. He went off chemo that month because it wasn’t doing it’s job. It’s one job was to shrink the tumor instead it was sucking the life out of Doug. 

Doug relied on his faith and in the journey that God had for him. I think we knew what that journey may look like we but prayed fervently that a miracle would take place. 

So here I am, four years later still trying to understand why. Why Doug? Why our family? I guess I won’t know this side of heaven. 

Today will always be your day! You would be 47 years old today. I will always celebrate you and what you meant to me. Today you celebrate in heaven and I can’t even imagine!

I will love you always! Happy birthday kid! 

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Today is your birthday. Your earthly birthday. The day God chose for you to be gifted to us. We had 43 years celebrating you! Loving you in a very tangible way. With a hug. A kiss. Laughter that was so contagious! A passionate, opinionated, caring individual. God chose 43 years was all that we would have. He didn't want to wait any longer. He wanted you home and so now you celebrate your second birthday in heaven with Him and the people who we love that have also gone on to heaven.

There are days that seem still so unreal that you aren't here. I can't call you to hear your voice. To tell you how much I love you! To tell you that you are the best baby brother a sister could ever have. You are missed more than I have words to express but I have memories that will never be taken away from me. Even near the end, I can recall things that you said and did that make me laugh out loud. I love Doug! Forever in my heart!

Happy Birthday Doug!

Today is Doug's birthday. I imagine we would have had a huge celebration for the milestone of 45 years. Instead, my parents and I will have dinner together and probably share stories of this individual that infiltrated our hearts and lives forever. My words will be inadequate for the love that I feel for Doug but I will do my best.

Forty-Five years ago God blessed this family with Doug. Douglas Edward Hale III. Three years younger than me. I always felt the need to take care of him and speak for him as he was learning. As you grow up you learn understand that you can't do everything for them but you have to learn things on your own. 

One time, as part of a bible study group, I was asked to write down three characteristics of my immediate family. I wrote these words December 9, 2013. The three words I chose for my brother were...Brave, Funny, Determined.

He was BRAVE. He took cancer head on and knew that he need to rely on God's strength. Some days were harder than others. Some days he had questions and felt like he wasn't getting answers. God had answers and they weren't the answers I wanted to hear but God's plan is greater. I know without a doubt that Doug boldly approached the throne of God on April 8, 2014.

He was FUNNY. He made me laugh. He had a smirky smile that you couldn't help but laugh and smile yourself. I remember having laughing fits at the dinner table that would totally get us into trouble. I'm sure he always started it because he always was an instigator. I still look at his pictures and I still smile even though sometimes it is through tears because I miss him so much.

He was DETERMINED. He had opinions and he was determined for you to hear them. He knew how to do so many things. He was smart and knowledgeable. He knew what he wanted and nothing held him back from getting it. He was determined to win souls to Christ and cancer pushed him even more to get that message across. He was determined to be faithful to God through ANY circumstance.

There is a song entitled And Can It Be, every time I hear these words I can't contain the emotion. I always wonder what it was like when Doug approached the throne clothed in righteousness and with boldness to claim his crown. 

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
— Charles Wesley, 1738

I love you Doug! I miss you as much today as the day you left this earth. You will always be in my heart and your memory and testimony is etched deep in my brain. Thank you God for giving us this special gift in Doug! Our lives have been forever changed because we knew him.

Photo Credit: Family Photo taken by