Susan was moved this morning to the hospice unit at the hospital.  It is a bigger room than the ICU, with a good space for her and another for family, with a sofa and some chairs.  There has been no change in her responsiveness, not that we expected any.  Her body is slowly shutting down.  We know that she is preparing now for the next stage of her life.

Our family is making it, we are just very sad.  (understatement of the year)  Different emotions hit at different times, and the slightest thing can set us off.  Music tends to get me – several times over the last few days I’ve heard songs while driving back home or to the hospital that cause me to lose it.  I’m sure the other cars driving by don’t know what to make of me.  It’s hard to imagine the kids growing up without a mother, Susan’s parents living without one of their daughters, and me facing a future without my wife and best friend.

Susan and I love the musical Les Miserables (not sure what this says about me) – she took me to see if for the first time in New York ten years ago.  It’s such an amazing story of grace, forgiveness, pain and redemption.  She has the CDs with all of the songs and at first I have to say I couldn’t stand when she would play them.  But I got used to it, and after I saw it live, I actually began to enjoy the songs.  There’s a line in the song “I Dreamed a Dream” that keeps hitting me in my sadder moments, where Fantine says “But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms we cannot weather“.  It’s just a truth of life, and a tough one we are living now.

Not all dreams come true.  And you can’t make it out of every storm.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  -Psalm 23:4

God doesn’t promise that all of our dreams become reality.  At what point did we start believing this?  He is not a genie in a bottle.  The promise is His presence.  And I will say this – I am feeling His presence in a tangible, practical way today.  I know that Susan is too.  God is walking with us through the land of shattered dreams and uncontrollable storms.  His grace is all over our kids right now.  And that will be enough.



19 Responses to “12.31.10”

  1. Pam Says:

    My thoughts are with your family in this trying time. You
    have been a wonderful guide and provider for Susan. God love you
    for being you.

  2. Brent J Says:

    We continue to stand watch with you, brother …

  3. Nancy Jones Says:

    Jerel, Martha, and Bill and Dana and Brian – remember this song “It is well with my soul”. Though you are so sad and you should be for yourselves not for Susan – rejoice with her – being with her Lord .What the words say and what happened to the author that brought this song about. You guys will be living as he does. Our prayers are with you’all and this is a terrible loss. We all are very saddened also and tears keep flowing. We just can’t believe it. I’m sure it will not be long now but the Lord is being merciful to you and to Susan – she is not suffering – living has been painful with suffering for her and you to see her like that. What a legacy she is leaving her children with all the memories. Know that all of you are being prayed for all over. Dear Lord, thank you for these family members and your special grace and comfort that only you give them. Thank you for your saving grace – in Jesus holy name and love. Nancy Jones

  4. Joyce Hicks Says:

    Words are failing me in this time of immense sorrow, so I
    will continue to put them directly into prayer for your family. For
    He knows what we ask before we can speak it. I could not end the
    day without letting you know I care and am thinking of you. Biggest
    hugs and great admiration for the courage and grace you are all
    exhibiting in this storm.

  5. bob Says:

    New Year … same prayers. Thanks for being honest; thanks for pointing us to God. Love you guys …

  6. Lynn Marshall Says:

    We are sad with you and are so thankful that your are feeling God’s presence. Your post reminds me of the song by Ginny Owens with the lyrics, “I will walk through the valley if you want me to”. We pray that God will continue with you and Suan and your family on this journey.

  7. lisa Nageotte Says:

    You are an inspiration to us. So brave and so strong. Will not stop praying for you and your dear family.

  8. literarybabe Says:

    Jarel, I am one of many who have heard of Susan’s and your family’s story through a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. Thank you for sharing such an intimate time with us with such grace and eloquence. It is clear that you and Susan have left a legacy of friendship, love, and respect for your children to model, and that is something that cancer can never take away.

    I heard this read in a eulogy and found it to be a refreshing perspective on how we view the passing of a loved one, the letting go. I do not know who to attribute it to. As I have prayed for you, Susan, your children, and your family and friends, I also pray that you will be comforted in knowing that she will be greeted with great anticipation and adoration.

    The Little Ship
    I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea. The setting sun tinted [her] white sails with a golden light, and as [she] disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered, “[She] is gone.” But the sea was a narrow one. On the farther shore, a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation. Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, “[She] is gone,” a glad shout went up in joyous welcome, “Here [she] comes!”

    May the love of God embrace, sustain, and carry you,

  9. Misty Says:

    We lost our 4th child, our newborn son last year. I sit here, and I read your words, drinking them in, and I cannot fathom the loss you are facing. Cannot fathom. At all. God bless you, keep you, watch over you, guide you, and bare you up. I am a stranger, but was directed to your blog by a friend. I am edified today by your spirit, your wives, and also your testimony. What you are sharing has made a difference in my life. I will cherish more, love more, and enjoy life more with my husband and children.

    Love, Misty Nielson

  10. Chris & Jenny Thompson Says:

    I am grateful to be your friend. I, and so many others, are so proud of you. God is good. You and Susan and your family have displayed God’s goodness with such confidence and grace and beauty even in the midst of such sadness and loss. I love and appreciate you, my friend. May Gods’ grace and comfort and strength and wisdom and love…and His very presence only increase in and through you and your precious family.
    Your friends,
    Chris & Jenny

  11. gillian Says:

    Continuing to pray for your family – for peace and for His incredible peace and love to continue to be felt by all of you.

  12. Jerry Says:

    Our love and prayers with you all

  13. Darren Sim Says:

    I heard about Susan and this blog via Dianne Bailey … am all the way in Singapore and join with you all united in prayer! With love, Darren

  14. Ali Hogston Says:

    Continued prayers … I also love the musical Les Miserables and can somewhat relate. GOD is with you all, as you know.

  15. Christie Says:

    People you don’t know (like me) are lifting up your family, thankful that His presence is so steady and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8) I’m so thankful for His grace for each of you! Praying this morning!

  16. Karen McMackin Says:

    I do not know you, but I have been praying for you, and your family, ever since I read about you. I was asked to pray by a friend. I cannot tell you how touched I have been by your story and I have been compelled to pray for you several times a day. I have even been awakened the last two nights at 4:30am with a sudden urge to pray. I heard this song yesterday while cooking dinner and as tears streamed down my face I was also joyful that God keeps His promises.

    “I Will Rise”

    There’s a peace I’ve come to know
    Though my heart and flesh may fail
    There’s an anchor for my soul
    I can say “It is well”

    Jesus has overcome
    And the grave is overwhelmed
    The victory is won
    He is risen from the dead

    And I will rise when He calls my name
    No more sorrow, no more pain
    I will rise on eagles’ wings
    Before my God fall on my knees
    And rise
    I will rise

  17. Kathy Ramseur keith Says:

    Thinking of you and your family during this tough time!!!!!

  18. Charlotte Lennartz Says:

    Still praying – we love you!

  19. John & Laurie Says:

    You all are in our thoughts and prayers. You are an inspiration in the manner you have dealt with this storm and continued to love and trust God.

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