Friday, November 21, 2008

When death hits close to home

Today has been an extremely disconnected day. I received a phone call around 8:30am from a friend of mine in town. She asked me if I'd heard about our friends Jeanette and Pete. I thought she was talking about their problems at work with their company. Recently they'd been told the company had gone into bankruptcy and they lost all their $ in their 401Ks. Both worked for the same company. That was in the past week and a half. My friend continued talking and she asked me if I'd heard the Pete had a heart attack and died last night.

In complete disbelief I said something about there being no way because I would've received a phone call from Jeanette. I'd talked to her around 9pm last night. We talk a minimum of once a week. This past week had been more because of work. I told my friend I was going to call Jeanette and I'd get back to her.

So I called a few times with no answer. I decided to call the school since our kids go to school together and they know me really well. I asked to talk to the principal and she wasn't in. So then I asked to talk to the secretary. As soon as she started to respond to me about information, I could tell by the tone in her voice that my fears were coming true. I hung up and started calling Jeanette again.

When she answered I asked her, "tell me it isn't true." Jeanette asked me how I heard and that she couldn't tell me that, that Pete was gone. I broke down on the phone. What do you say to someone in this situation? My heart broke for her and her 3 kids: Aaron-9, Evan-8, and Brianna-6.

We talked for a bit and she was concerned about picking up the Cub Scout popcorn tomorrow and then not being able to have Aaron help with the Toys For Tots set up. I told her that she only needed to worry about today. Nothing else mattered. At one point she told me she was going to miss him so much. They were best friends. They didn't have a perfect marriage and no one does, but they had a great marriage.

Pete was a hands on dad. He was a man's man. He loved to tinker with things. Pete enjoyed going camping with the boys for Scouts. He was always willing to help with the boys if I needed a guy thing done with them. Pete found a lawn mower for me this past summer and fixed it up good as new. He was a large man with a large heart.

Now in the blink of an eye, he's been taken from this world. How can that be? I saw him at the Den meeting on Tuesday. He looked fit as a fiddle for a 6 foot-something guy. Did he know what was happening to his body? The doctors think it was heart related. They worked on him for a number of hours I believe and just couldn't get the heart beat back.

I went to lunch with a different friend and we talked for a couple of hours. It was the only time that I didn't think about Pete and Jeanette. Actually, we spent the first 15 minutes, at least, talking about what had happened. As soon as I left my girl friend, I was blasted with thoughts all over again for the family.

I knew what I had to do. I had to go to her. I had to be with Jeanette. To love on her. To minister to her however the Lord would want. I went and bought some flowers and headed to her house. When I got there, she was gone making funeral arrangements, but the house was busy with activity.

The kids were there. Aaron missed the 4th grade field trip and it turned out he had to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat. Brianna was playing cards with an older neighbor they call Grandpa Chuck even though there's no relation. Evan was trying to put together a fishing reel he had taken apart. Aaron was playing computer games.

Jeanette's sister was there. Grandpa Chuck's wife was there. A neighbor was there with her daughter and son. The daughter is a senior with my daughter and has been babysitting the 3 kids for the last couple of years. Thankfully we are a small community and this news spread like wildfire. One of my closest friends told me to call her as soon as a food schedule was figured out. So, we started making phone calls. Cub Scout families, church families, school families, neighbors, and so on just wanted to help in any way possible.

Another close friend called me and told me not to have them wash any of Pete's stuff because the kids would want clothes that smelled like him. I kept thanking the Lord that he had people thinking about such things. By 4:30 pm, the first meal had arrived. Pete's sister showed up with another family member and a while later Pete's brother and wife came.

When I first arrived, Brianna came and sat on my lap and gave me a reallllllly long hug. I broke down and had to go to the bathroom so she didn't see me. When one of the Scout mom's brought a fruit basket, Brianna heard the knock on the door and said, "mom and dad are home." The boys said, "no, it's just mom." It was evident Brianna didn't understand daddy wasn't coming home.

Jeanette got home just after 5pm when I was getting ready to leave. She came and gave me a hug and started crying. Of course, I couldn't hold back and started crying. I told her, "I can't do it Jeanette. I can't be strong for you." I know that's entirely selfish, but I'm an emotional person. I made sure to tell her I loved her and to call me if she needed anything. She reassured me I was on speed dial.

If you are reading this still PLEASE pray for this family. In the blink of an eye she became a single mom. The kids won't have their dad for the rest of their lives. Their reality has shifted in a way that is hard for me to comprehend. Please pray that the Lord would comfort them. Also that I would let the Spirit lead me as to how to help them adjust to this new life.

For each of you, if you don't wake up tomorrow morning, do you know where you will spend eternity? Do you grasp that your life is a mist, here today and gone tomorrow? None of us knows the number of our days. Very few of us go to bed thinking that tonight could be the last night I will ever see anyone, touch a loved one, tell my kids I love them, etc. We all believe that we will wake up to a new dawn.

One day, we won't. We will be standing before the One who created us. He will tell us, "Well done good and faithful servant," or we will hear, "depart, I know you not." 40-100 yrs is a drop in the bucket in relation to eternity. Can you wrap your mind around that? Please understand that this is truly a life or death choice. We will all die a physical death. DO NOT leave your spiritual life up in the air. Make a choice today what your eternal reality will be. God does NOT want to be separated from you forever. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. That is why He sent His son Jesus. Through Jesus's death and resurrection we have been given the gift of salvation. Choose Jesus, Choose Life.

If you want to know more about having a personal relationship with Jesus, let me know. I'm no evangelist and I don't really know the first thing about leading anyone into a relationship with Christ since I've never done it personally before. I don't have all the answers, but I sure can get some for you. I have close friends that can help me help you learn more about giving your life to Christ.

Blessings in our Savior's holy name, Mimi


Sandee61 said...

So sorry to hear of your friends passing, and will keep this family in my prayers.

Sandy G.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.