In The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo wrote, “There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it, another heart to be warmed by it.” I feel the same is true with the stories of our lives. Oftentimes we feel like we are the only ones going through a particular challenge; no one else could possibly understand our circumstances. But that is not true, and this is why I have chosen to share personal stories about my faith in previous blog posts. Perhaps a reader will relate to my experiences and maybe that person will find hope in a situation that seems hopeless, comfort in a season of chaos, or peace in a time of uncertainty. The same holds true for this post and the exciting announcement that follows.
April 20, 2008
Travis and I took the girls to Morgantown, West Virginia, to surprise my almost-102-year-old grandma for the weekend. Upon our arrival, we learned she had fallen and had been transported to the emergency room with a broken shoulder. As I rushed to the hospital, the girls were entertained by the cows and tractors on a relative’s farm. Doctors predicted my grandma would not survive the surgery, but she surprised us all and pulled through the procedure. She passed away a couple of months later from unrelated issues. My time with her as a granddaughter and as the temporary guardian of her care was monumental in my spiritual journey. Over the next twelve years, I would lean into that experience by her bedside to get through the toughest season of my life.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you.Deuteronomy 31:8
April 1, 2011
About twenty-months after the diagnosis, my beautiful mother-in-law lost her battle with brain cancer. Her absence in our lives was devastating, specifically for our young daughters. This picture was taken on the day of the funeral. Tears were shed, of course, but we were able to smile and celebrate her life, focusing on our favorite memories of the times we spent together.
In the three years that followed her passing, my husband also helped coordinate care for his terminally ill father. My role was to try to maintain a sense of normalcy in our home while my husband was across town with his dad. Not long after my father-in-law’s death in 2014, I started writing with the hope that my stories would help the girls through their grief.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10
March 21, 2020
My dad passed away on October 18, 2020, after battling congestive heart failure complicated by endocarditis for sixteen excruciating months. He spent the last half of that time in hospice, a challenge made even more difficult during the pandemic. But despite the suffering, we witnessed abundant blessings. This video highlights one of my favorite memories from that time. In celebration of the Detroit Tigers’ unofficial Opening Day, we stood outside my dad’s window and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” together. This video continues to be a gift.
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.Romans 5: 3-4
Aware of our unique journey with my dad, my agent gently encouraged me to consider writing a piece for an Eldercare edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I reflected on the various experiences and encounters over the past twelve years and selected as the focus of my story one of my most treasured memories from those months my dad spent in hospice. I am honored my piece was selected from the thousands of submissions proposed for consideration. This collection of stories offers inspiration, practical advice, emotional support, and humor to those caring for their loved ones. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Navigating Eldercare & Dementia will be released on June 22, 2021. You can preorder a copy here. Order the collection for yourself, give the book as a gift, or donate a copy to a local elder care facility.