Free From Earthly Burdens

The above picture is of a grave marker designed by a grieving father in Utah. This photo has made the rounds on the internet for many years. Captions vary, but they all seem to include that the father created it to represent his paralyzed son reaching up to the sky from the wheelchair he spent his life in. It is said to represent that his son is finally “free from his earthly burdens.”

This image popped into my mind this afternoon as I walked into the church where my 10 year old sister-in-law’s viewing took place. My wife and her family were there before I arrived. I took Ella and Andrew to the baby sitter and joined them afterwards.

When I walked in, a video played with photos from Grace’s life. Her smile ever present. Instrumental Disney songs played along with the video. Grace loved Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

There was a beautiful blanket with her picture on it and “Always in Our Hearts” written in a Disney font off to the side. Surrounding her was a stuffed Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy.

I once again remembered the image above. Grace is free from her earthly burdens. No more wheelchair, no more feeding tube, no more pain, and no more suffering. I personally believe, based on my knowledge of Scripture, that she is feeling a joy that none of us has ever experienced. She is walking, talking, and singing. What a wonderful thing to know.

As with any death, it is hardest on those who are left behind. There is a void. There is the adjustment that has to be made to their being absent from our lives. There is the grieving process that has to happen for each one of us (and every one will grieve differently). It will not be easy.

My heart sank as I read a Facebook post from my father-in-law the other day: “This morning was so different. Normally Pam starts Grace’s breathing treatments while I make my coffee, then Pam gets Grace’s meds made up while I finish her treatments. Drinking coffee with no Grace brought tears to my eyes then I remembered her body has been restored and she doesn’t need treatments anymore that made me smile. Pam and I are trying to adjust to our new normal. Thanks for all the phone calls texts visits and prayers.”

The “new normal” isn’t normal at all. There will be many adjustments and life goes on for the rest of us and there will be many emotional hurdles to get over in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

Grace’s memorial service will take place at noon Wednesday. I would appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts for my wife, her parents, and our family. It is going to be a very hard day.

Me: From A to Z

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By far not the most original blog idea, but this stems from a daily writing prompt.  What is cool about something like this, is that I can probably return to this idea a few times and come up with some different answers.  The idea is to take all 26 letters of the alphabet and describe yourself with each one.  It shouldn’t take too long.  Why not do your own in the comments?  Here is Me … from A to Z:

A     Always early (“If you’re on time, you’re late!”

B     Blessed (with friends, family, and so many things)

C     Coffee drinker.  (Not sure how I’d make it through the day without it)

D     Daddy to Dante’, Dimitri, and Ella (I love them all so much!)

E     Emotional.  (I am probably too emotional.  I cry at sappy TV commercials!)

F     Friend.  (I have some of the greatest friends.  I treasure those friendships.)

G     Gaining weight. (About 25 pounds over the course of my wife’s pregnancy)

H     Happy. (I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.)

I     Italian.  (Proud of my Italian heritage.)

J     Jokes.  (I love hearing them.  I love telling them.)

K     Kind. (One of the greatest things we can be is kind to one another.)

L     Laughs a lot. (Laughter is important.  Life is better with laughter.)

M     Music lover. (“Where words fail, music speaks.” Music is SO important to me.)

N     Night Owl. (Yeah, I work midnights, but I have always been a night owl.)

O     Old Stuff. (Love old TV shows, old radio shows, old movies, etc…)

P     Procrastinator.  (One of my bad habits.  I tend to wait till the last minute to do things)

Q     Quotes.  (Might be a line from a TV show or movie, or a famous quote to apply to life)

R     Radio Personality. (The thing I wish I was still doing full time.)

S     Sam’s husband. (She has made me the happiest man alive.  She is my one true love)

T     Trumpet. (Wish I was still playing it in a band.)

U     Unique. (The easy answer, but it’s true.  We are ALL unique!)

V     Vague (Like this answer, for example)

W     Weird Al Yankovic.  (We’re both weird and I have all his albums.)

X     XOXO (I always kiss and hug those I love!)

Y     Young (Something I wish I was again!)

Z     Zoo (I love the Zoo.  Love going with my kids.  Favorite animal:  The Otter)