It is no secret that we navigated a death in the family recently. My husband’s father passed away on Nov. 12th surrounded by his wife of 41 years and his children. A fiercely private man in life, he would not have wanted his death to be any other way.
I must admit that Jim and I did not always see eye to eye on many things. It was really neither of our faults. We were vastly different people who had opinions that conflicted. When autism consumed my life, I barely had time to sleep. I didn’t make time for people that I viewed ,right or wrong, as not helpful. In hindsight, I can see that he wasn’t trying to be unhelpful. He simply didn’t understand what was needed and I didn’t tell him. It was a really dark time in my life and he was one of the people that I pushed away.
|cleaning fish @ Lake Pierce 2009|
The past few years brought a renewed relationship between us. I tried to get more involved in both his and Barbara’s (my mother in law) life. I attempted to keep them informed of what the children were doing and how they could help or be involved. I took an interest in things that were important to him like fishing. I felt God leading me to pray for both of them. I made the extra effort to be sure that no more than a month passed between our visits.
|Sept, 29, 2009|
So, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I completely put his needs before my own. It was tough and I stepped out in total faith. God gave me strength to do what needed to be done. You know what? Amazing things happened when I followed God’s lead. When Logan had a gardening question, I suggested he call Grampa who was an avid gardener. On birthdays, I made the extra effort to pack the family up and drive to their house to celebrate. I included them in all of the children’s activities and openly spoke of our many struggles with autism. Our relationship began to grow and blossom. Imagine that!
When he was diagnosed with cancer in June, my heart was heavy. I prayed without ceasing that he would be cured. I felt that I needed to serve him in his hour of need. I have never felt more sure about what God wanted me to do than when I was with Jim during this time. My family sat with him during chemo treatments. We talked about gardening. We talked about autism. We talked about fishing. We just talked and talked and talked.
In the last 3 weeks of his life, Jim was sick and hospitalized. I sat with him at the hospital serving both him and Barbara in any way that I could. This meant bringing coffee to Barbara in the hospital. It meant being the big mouth to the doctors and nurses to get what he needed. It meant putting my needs last in everything. Was it hard? Yup. I was beyond exhausted. Lessons were postponed indefinitely. I did crossword puzzles with him which I absolutely hate! But the Lord provided everything I needed exactly when I needed it.
I am so glad that I did it. I truly learned so much about Jim. It also gave him the opportunity to tell me things that he thought about me. Like he had no clue how much work Logan had to do in relation to his autism. How glad he was that I was willing to do the hard work that Logan needed. Things that probably seemed unimportant to him but I really needed to hear. God knew that I needed to hear those things before Jim passed away.
I will aways treasure these last few weeks. I watched my first Rambo movie ever and actually enjoyed it. I will fondly remember watching football with him while holding his hand. He hated football as much as I hated crossword puzzles. But it was something I enjoyed so he wanted to watch it with me. That meant the world to me. God blessed me for my obedience far above anything I could ask or imagine.