A Day to Remember

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CCE05112010_00000 (my college graduation, 2003, my stepdad Jim is on the right by mom)

5 years ago tomorrow I was busy as a bee making coffee and serving customers as a barista at Dunn Bros early in the morning.  After my shift finished, I turned on my phone that had been off all night and all morning.  The first message I heard made me stop the car.  Tears poured down my face as I acknowledged a reality we knew was not far away.

The night before, which would be 5 years ago today, after a battle against pancreatic cancer, my step-dad Jim passed away.  He went to be with Jesus, praying in the arms of my mother. You may remember the race I wanted to run and the race I did run in honor of him, last year in August.

People remember things; when the first man walked on the moon, when Kennedy was shot, when the Two Towers came down.  I remember when we found out he had cancer.  There are times when living out of state is not a benefit.  He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  No cure, no treatment plan for recovery, only treatment for quality of life, to give us more time.

History would be good here:  My mom and Jim started dating after my parents were divorced when I was 8.  They were married the beginning of my 6th grade year, making me 11.  He passed away when I was 24.  For 13 years, not counting the 3 years they dated, I lived in the same house with this “dad.”  I didn’t live with my dad, I lived with Jim and my mom.  We had our moments, many of them, from my distaste for how he did things, my immaturity in faith and endlessly judging him, and difficulty sharing my mom. 

But the funniest thing happened just before and right after we found out.  I came to respect him…God so softened my heart towards this man, this “dad.”  And during the months he was sick he was a pillar of faith for me.  My only regret was not getting to know this man as I did in those last months over the course of 12 years.  Without the stress of work and life, he came to life.  My eyes opened to the man my mother loved and I came to love every moment I spent with him those last months, just doing life.  I was traveling back to WI almost every weekend to just be there, soaking in all I could. 

It’s good to remember, I don’t want to forget who he was and how he impacted my life.  But my heart today, goes out to the 5 children he left behind, and their children, who may not remember Grandpa.  And my mother, who has endured many losses, especially that of the husband she so loved.  He was taken too soon it seemed, and yet with a Sovereign God we know he was taken at the PERFECT time. 

Jim, today we remember you, your humor, your heart and the life you lived, and the impact you had on us, myself included.  We love you.


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