Monday, February 16, 2015

Two Weeks Home

Dennis has been home for two weeks - healed, whole and in the presence of his Savior.  Can I admit I am jealous of him?  After 32 months of battling this cancer, he no longer has to face chemo, trial drugs, MRIs, radiation, fatigue...He is alive and well in a way that we can only imagine.  For him, it is only complete joy.

For us, there is deep grief, tempered only by the sure hope that Dennis is indeed fully healed. Brooklyn and I miss him every single day.  Some days we do fairly well and others are so hard. Yesterday I missed him so much it physically hurt.  

Two weeks ago as we left the hospice following Dennis' death, Brooklyn wrote "Dad" on the back of the car.  She has continued to refresh this anytime it starts to get covered in salt and dirt.  

She misses Dennis also.  Like me, she also struggles with sleeping at night. We know in time we will settle into a new normal and feel better overall but right now it is difficult.  She went back to school today and I think the routine will be good for her.  I'll return to work in March.  

Brooklyn is also expressing herself in her art.  She told me when she drew this that she didn't know if Daddy could see us but that maybe he could.  

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Dennis' Service

If you want to see the service and the slide show, you can go here:  If you want to just see the service it is here also:  

I'm so grateful for the people who have supported us along this journey and in the last several weeks. We are sustained by your love and prayers.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Saw Jesus In You

Usually when I write, I have been mulling around a thought or idea for awhile and by the time I sit down to actually write it, it has already been written and all I have to do is put it in print.  That is not the case today so if I am rambling, that may be the reason.

I really don't know where to begin.  Dennis was an exceptional man.  He loved the Lord passionately and it was at the heart of how he lived.  He was a man of integrity but his motivation was not to be a "good guy" but rather to let others see Christ through him.  I think this song is so true of his life.

I shared on Facebook a conversation I had with Dennis after he had been to a brain tumor support group.  The discussion that day had been about "bucket lists."  Dennis looked at me and said, "I really don't think I will get to heaven and say, Man, I wish I would have..."  Heaven was his "bucket list" and he finished it on Monday.  In the 32 months that Dennis battled this cancer he looked forward to heaven.  I never once heard him complain about having cancer or all that he went through.  At one point when he was doing really well he said, "Don't get me wrong, I think I am going to beat this cancer and part of me is really bummed by that."  He truly was looking forward to heaven.

The only thing he ever was concerned about was that Brooklyn and I would be OK.  He told many of our friends this as they drove him back and forth to his appointments.  The day before he died I asked him if he was concerned about us and he shook his head yes.  I reassured him we would miss him but we be OK.

Shortly after he had left for heaven, I looked at him and said, "I so wish I could see what you are seeing right now."  As I work through the loss of his presence, that is what I am trying to focus on. He is where he longed to be and in the presence of his Savior.  Our loss hurts deeply but a reunion awaits for those who love the Lord and I can't wait for that day.

Brooklyn and I have been doing OK.  We have been busy these last couple of days.  Each night I sleep a little better than I did the night before.  I'm sure Friday and Saturday will be both exhausting and encouraging as we celebrate Dennis' life.

I am very unsure about the new normal that will follow but God will be there to lead us into it.  He has a plan for what is ahead of us and I know we can trust Him.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Dennis.  We were at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Colorado and he was throwing a snowball at me.

Thank you all for your love and prayers for us.  We sense the strength they are providing to us each day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015


At 10:45 today Dennis left his cancer stricken body and was fully healed and in the presence of his Savior.   As he left his body, the hymn "It is Well with My Soul" was playing.  It is indeed well with all of our souls.  Dennis' soul is in the presence of his Savior whom he has longed to see.  I said to him moments after he had left, "I so wish I could see what your eyes are seeing."  Amazing.  He can walk, run, jump and speak.

It is also well with my soul.  I have a wonderful peace.  Yes, there is a deep sorrow too but a peace because of the assurance that I will see Dennis again.  I miss him already.  Heaven is that much sweeter because he is waiting for me there.

Details of the arrangements to honor Dennis' life and memory will be finalized tomorrow.  For now, the visitation will be at High Point Church in Madison on Friday and the service will be there as well on Saturday.

Please keep us in your prayers as we learn to live our new normal without Dennis.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Just Another Day...But So Different

In some ways today feels like just another day.  In the last 32 months we have spent time in the hospital three times and in a rehab center once so in some ways today feels like just another day.  Sitting by Dennis' side and being his advocate for whatever he needs seems like the ones that have gone before it but this one is not like the others.

This time I will not leave pushing a wheelchair, helping Dennis into the car and getting him settled in at home. Instead, I will walk out the door no longer a wife but a widow.  There will no longer be that companionship of a shared life and heart that has been our very blessed normal since God brought us together.  I will leave behind a large piece of my heart as I leave here.  That parting is drawing near.

The inside of Dennis' wedding ring and the edge of my diamond is engraved with the words, "God joined us."  He joined our hearts and our lives and that bond will remain.  I will carry Dennis forever in my heart.

Tonight I spend some of our final hours together.  A last kiss, a last whispered "I love you!", a last hand hold...BUT...a great reunion awaits. We know the parting we will soon make is temporary as eternity awaits where there will be no more death or tears.  Only this hope has kept us going in the last months and will keep Brooklyn and me focused on the rich blessings in our lives moving forward. Don't get me wrong, my heart breaks. I will always miss Dennis.  I wish we could have grown old together, watched Brooklyn grow up and hold our grandchildren but I trust and believe God when he says He works all things in our lives for good.  We don't see or understand all that He is doing in our lives or in the lives of people around us but He is at work and I trust Him.

The hours and days ahead will not be easy but God is faithful and will be there then as he has faithfully been in the past. Please keep us in your prayers as we spend whatever time we have left together and for the days ahead as Brooklyn and I move forward into whatever God has for us.

Breathing is Hard

This morning Dennis starting having problems with secretions impacting his breathing.  He is still very aware and able to understand and make his wishes known.  We have upped his Morphine dose, given a med for secretions, having him sitting upright and are waiting on an anti-anxiety med.  (We are in the midst of a big snow storm so pharmacy deliveries to the hospice are slow.)

These verses sum up Dennis so well.

2 Timothy 4:6-8.  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Pray for comfort and peace as we walk through these final hours together.

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning - Good morning.  Dennis had a pretty good night.  His breathing was not as slow as last night.  This morning he is having some secretions in throat that are hard to swallow but is doing better since I sat him up.  Please pray that these subside.  

Brooklyn spent the night here and Dennis Steward sat up with Dennis.  I slept quite well last night.