Monday, July 03, 2017

When a Word Changes Everything

Well, not everything exactly. But it might feel like it. Maybe you've heard one of these words in your home or family:


___________ {fill in the blank}

One of those words has been part of our family conversations for a long time: cancer. But this time, a new word has been spoken a lot lately: hospice.

I'm noticing that Hospice is one of those words that people recognize. It means something to them. Whereas cancer can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, hospice usually means something else and carries more weight with it.

While we were in Colorado, my parents visited with my Dad's oncologist and found out that after almost nine years of trying anything and everything presented, there are no more treatment options available for him.

That last paragraph is weighty and I'm not exactly sure how to go on after saying that. Except to say that I'm so glad I was there during that time. We are home now and settling back into our South Carolina life but part of our hearts are always in Colorado.

With the words the doctor spoke, there have been a lot of new things to navigate. Hospice workers are amazing but at the beginning it can seem like such a flurry, almost a parade of activity. We met the social worker, chaplain and more than one nurse all just in a few days.

I like to see this as a care team - people who come alongside and support both my Dad and my Mom as his caregiver. You can see the understanding in their eyes, the care in their manner and I wonder how they do this hard job they have taken on? How do they face this every day? But I'm so glad they do.

Right now, the main focus is pain management which has proven harder than I thought it would be to normalize.

This street sign is right near where my Grandma lives and it seems appropriate here. We stand at the corner of peace and hope - we have peace that God is in control when things on earth seem out of control and certainly out of our control and we have hope knowing that what waits for us eternally is so much better than anything we know of earth. No pain or sorrow will exist there and our truest selves - our soul is what will go with us to be in His presence forever more. For those loved ones that trust in God, we know our goodbyes are really until we meet again.

Today, I invite you to leave a note of encouragement, prayer or support for my parents: Dan and Ruth. Let's wrap them up in a big virtual family-of-God hug. And even as I say this, I know that many of you have hard hard things going in your lives as well. I hope you might leave a comment too so I can pray for you today as well.

Sweet blessings and God's peace to you today friends!


Heather said...

I just wanted to let you know that I will include them and all of you in my prayers. You have done such a wonderful job of being there with your parents and your kids have such great relationships with them...I love seeing that in your photos! We lost both of my rather young, in-laws and endured a very rough 2 years from diagnosis to unexpected loss of the other parent, to hospice and loss of the 'sick' one and dealing with the aftermath. My husband is an only child, so it all fell to us and our three small children. Hospice workers are amazing and really meant the world to us. The councilor we had access to met with our children and with us and all of us as a family for an entire year after her passing. They would have even arranged councilors for her siblings that lived out of state if they had wanted to meet with someone. Also, they had a neat 'make a wish' program too. I just pray for peace, for good days, and for all the support you need. Big virtual hugs to you all!

Lisa M. said...

Many prayers to your family. Thank you for sharing. Your parents seem like wonderful, faithful loving people. God's blessings.

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry that your family is going through this. Prayers for your dad, your mom, and you and the rest of your family as you navigate this step in your journeys.

Jen said...

Thinking of you and praying for you and your parents during this time. I lost my dad 4 years ago after a 9-month illness that involved many caregivers, home health nurses, and a short nursing home stay. Like you, I was blessed with an amazing, godly dad and, while I miss him every day, I am so thankful for the hope of heaven and the assurance that I will see him again for eternity. Praying that God's unspeakable peace and hope fill your family during the difficult days ahead.

Ginger said...

Oh, Monica, the tears are flowing as I read this. As you know, cancer has touched me personally as well as my dad. It's been nearly 10 years ago (July 6) since I heard those words, "Well, you do have cancer." Mine was colon; five years later my dad heard the same words. Fast forward to now; Dad is 89.5 and having immunotherapy treatments for spots on his colon and lung (which a colonoscopy and lung biopsy didn't show but a petscan did). We don't know what the future brings, for sure, but we do know where we will spend it. I try telling myself that it is only until I see Dad again (to prepare myself for the inevitable one day). We want to hold on to this life so badly, but the next is truly where we will spend eternity. This life is but a breath, a wink, a blink of the eye. Stay strong, all of you.

Huskerbabe said...

What seems like many years ago now I was going through a terrible dark time. We had taken custody of our grandchildren and one of them was extremely ill and we didn't know if he would survive. At this time you were still doing your sister swaps and I joined. I was blessed to receive a lovely box from your mother and it was a great encouragement to me. I could tell from her box that she was a very thoughtful woman.
I will pray for your parents as they walk this journey. It's so helpful to know that as believers they will not be parted for eternity but only a season. I will also pray for your father, that they get the pain under control.

To Dan and Ruth: Thank you for being such a godly example to your children and grandchildren.Y You have given them a legacy that is rare in this day. I pray that God blesses you richly in the coming days. I will continue to pray for you.
Kris in Nebraska

Unknown said...

My prayers are with you and your family. May you feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and know that He hears You, and is right there with you. His promises remain true. Christina

Wendi said...

It breaks my heart to hear this. I read your post early this morning and didn't have the words at the time. I have been praying, thinking and Psalm 62:5 keeps coming to mind. As all of you walk through this I pray you find peace in knowing your hope is in the Lord. I will continue to lift you all in prayer.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leanne said...

I look at the picture of you and your dad, and cannot help but think how the Lord will mightily and tenderly say to him "Well done...good and FAITHFUL servant"... your family is a legacy of his own relationship with Jesus Christ... your love for him is so evident in all of your pictures of the two of you together... There is more beauty in that last picture of both of you, Monica, than in any other beautiful, sweet, amazing thing that you have ever posted on your blog...
I cannot imagine how sweet, painful, and beautiful these next days will be for all of you... I pray, especially, for your she takes on the next season of supporting her best friend... and you will be in my thoughts and prayers as the days go on!!!!
Love, Leanne

Terri said...

I will add all of you in my prayers. Have been through some similar situations...I must say you are most blessed to have had the luxury of so much shared time. Dad's are so very special to their daughters. I wish they could move closer to you at this stage of their lives. It is so wonderful living close and being able to be involved in everything.
Prayers. God Bless.

stephanie said...

Praying for you and your family as you walk this road.

Deborah said...

I will pray for your mother and father, and your entire family. Thank you for sharing of yourself and your faith for so many years. It is a great encouragement to me and many others. I pray that you will all experience the peace that passes all understanding. Much love.

Charlene Sayer said...

Dan, Ruth and family,
I am praying that our God of peace will fill you and sustain you beyond what you can hope or imagine. From Dallas, TX.
In Christ the Victor,
Charlene Sayer

Simply Handmade Farmhouse said...

God still heals, cancer doesn't scare God, He is the cure of it. We have a couple of people healed in our church from cancer last year. Prayers, to your family as you go through this. My son in law of 32 just won the battle of an rare aggressive cancer, after two years he is still cancer free. Sometimes God allows us to go through this, but we can rest assure that He is with us, and He will never leave us. Hold on the peace, and hope for those two words come from God. I will request prayer for your father in our church to pray for him. Hugs to your family...Teresa

Brenda said...

I'm so sorry Monica!!! I wish I had something lovely and comforting to say, but know that your followers are watching and praying and many can identify!! So thankful for God's grace and peace that passeth all understanding in times like these!

Gaylene said...

The relationship that you share with your parents is a beautiful treasure. Each time I read your blog, I feel the love that ties you and your family together! What a wonderful blessing it is to have parents who love Jesus and pass that faith along to you and future generations! I'm praying that our Heavenly Father will continue to wrap his loving arms around you all, providing peace, comfort and guidance now and in the days ahead. Your blog is a ministry. You've touched many lives. Today, I pray your lives will be touched with an outpouring of love and support. Praying from the state of Missouri.

elizabeth said...

I am praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Monica.
Love, Grandma

Sara said...

I am praying for your family, Monica. I lost my dad to cancer 1 1/2 years ago, 1 month after he was diagnosed. The sadness and grief is real, but so is God's faithfulness, and more so! I will be praying that you will see His goodness. Hospice workers are angels in disguise, and I pray that your parents will have a ministry to THEM just as they minister to your dad and mom.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dan and Ruth,

It has been a joy and inspiration to have *seen* ya'lls family visits over the years. I love that you love time spent with your family!! Thank you for that witness and testimony. I pray the Lord bless you and keep you in His perfect peace. I pray for joy and hope everlasting for you all. May His Word be a lamp and a comfort to you. May He make His face shine upon you. In the name of Jesus.


Diana said...

So sorry to hear the news for your Dad. I will be praying for your parents and your family. It is such a hard time. Hospice is truly a blessing. They were such a help when my Mom was at the end of her road with breast cancer. They helped to keep us going and to get through all the difficult moments. I don't know how they do it, I just am thankful they are there to help. Much love to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your family, Monica. Love this photo of you and your Dad and I love how you all make every moment count. From what I understand, there are a lot of Christian Hospice workers.

Andrea L.

Sarah B. said...

Prayers for you and your family. Y'all have walked this road with grace and strength, and I greatly admire the faith you've shown throughout these last years.

Jen said...

Praying for all of you. We similarly had good experiences with hospice workers, even those who did not share our faith were respectful. It must be very difficult work, and really a calling to be able to handle it all.

I am a longtime reader with little kids and seldom manage to comment, but I enjoy the peace and joy you share with us through your blog.

Prayers will continue!

~katie~ said...

Dear Dan and Ruth,

Tears are many, and words are few. I have kept you both in prayer for years since I learned of the diagnosis on Monica and Carrie's blogs. I am so deeply sorry to hear of the pain you are enduring at this time. May our great God and Savior make His presence, comfort, and peace abundant. Your precious daughters have become friends of mine through their blogs, and I've had the pleasure of meeting both of them. Though I have never met either of you, I can testify by the fruit I have seen in them that you have created a legacy of Christ's love and kindness in the lives of your children. Through your careful shepherding of their hearts, you have impacted many lives as they live out their faith. They both are sharp iron and their kindness and friendship has been treasured. Thank you for your love for our Lord. You both serve as an inspiration to many. May Christ who giveth the victory shine in you ever brighter with each moment. You all are being lifted up in prayer. *Psalm 130:5; Philippians 1:6*

In Christ's love and grace, Katie & Family in Missouri

angie said...

Dear Dan and Ruth,
Your sweet daughter Monica entitled this post "When a word changes everything." Hospice is an incredibly difficult juncture to arrive at after such a long and hard-fought battle. But, I'm eternally thankful that there is another word that changes even that: Jesus. Praise God for the sacrifice of his Son so that we can face these times of fear with hope.
I pray for your family's time together to be filled with sweet moments, carrying on of traditions, and passing of your godly wisdom to the next generation. I've always admired your extended family's intentionality in planning time together. Now I see that the Lord was providing you with a lifetime of memories and hearts overflowing with love.
Lifing you up to our merciful Lord,

alice said...

I'm seeing this after vacation, so I am a little late, but I want to say that I hope that you still have hope and peace. Hope for comfort during this time, and peace with whatever the future brings.

God's Blessings,


Anonymous said...

Dan, Ruth, Monica and are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sad to read this. I just lost my grandfather to cancer after only 12 days of him knowing and he was on hospice. My husband use to be a hospice nurse and I know how dear and heavy that word is to many. You can really see the love your family has for each other and Monica, what a blessing you've been able to take your kiddos and spend so much quality time with your folks. Sending love and blessings :)
~ Misty

Gail said...

Praying for your parents, Dan and Ruth. I have walked this path and have said good-bye to my mom, my sister and my dad. May you all feel the Lord's arms holding you and you feel His comfort.

--Gail from Annapolis, MD