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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another post taken from my old blog for some history.

Aug. 14, 2007 - Death is not only an end, but it can also bring new beginnings- Part 2

This second part has been on my mind since I posted the last entry, but I just have not had time to ...well... think. :)

So where was I.... ? Oh yes. We had arrived in CA just in time to say good-bye to MIL as she was dying. She died with her children and many of her grand children standing around her hospital bed singing in the front room of her house. My MIL loved music and had a wonderful voice. I had never before heard one harmonize in soprano, but she was able to do so. As she was drawing her last breaths we stood singing any and all hymns we could come up with that most present knew, and especially ones we knew she loved. She quieted down from the noises she had been making, and peacefully left this earth. That was on July 2nd.

What followed was a whirlwind~
A few neighbors and long time family friends had stopped over in MIL's last hour. The 2 good friends of dh's who had picked our family up from the airport and who had each spent many hours at his house and with my MIL during high school were there, just as we were, with tears streaming down their faces.

The next day was July 3rd. Which of course precedes July 4th.... July 4th has always been a family holiday (with friends invited as well) for those living close enough and was one of MIL's favorite. We were so blessed to have a long-time friend unexpectedly bring a huge dinner for us. My DH and FIL spent the latter part of the day gathering supplies last minute for the 4th of July celebration, complete with fireworks, that I was suddenly preparing the food for 25 people. :) Traditions are traditions after all, and MIL would have wanted us to carry on. :) Some neighbors, who had been such a blessing in visiting MIL and bringing food while she was bedridden, also attended.

The rest of the week was a blur. There were preparations for MIL's funeral to attend to as no plans had been made prior to her death. So everything had to be done from picking the casket to the plot. We tried to call everyone we knew who would want to know about MIL's death and funeral arrangements. Throughout the last few months I had also been keeping MIL's sister and FIL's siblings up to date on what was transpiring in regards to MIL's health. FIL was just too busy with the amount of care and time MIL required.

Death (and even ill-ness) bringing new beginnings is a new concept to me. But what I have experienced through MIL's death would fill her heart with joy. MIL was always there to lend a hand to anyone in need. And all those who knew and loved her, or benefited in one way or another from her gracious and giving personality, gave back in amazing ways, and even some who did not know her at all.

Neighbors and long-time friends kept my family and FIL fed (and fed well!) for the 2 weeks we were there. They went to Costco for us and bought basics and brought meals. I had been a bit stressed about the food issue as I have somewhat of a crew to feed and with all the emotions, the thought of cooking and meal planning was not one filled with joy.

The church was filled to overflowing for the funeral and our very small country church was a major blessing in providing most of the food for the reception following the funeral, and serving all the guests and family. The number of flower arrangements was astounding to me. It was such a blessing to see the love and respect people had for one who was so selfless and giving.

One new beginning belongs to my FIL. The morning immediately after MIL's funeral a dog showed up. A very sweet, yet hungry dog. FIL had talked about getting a dog or even two for a while and we had just discussed how the place didn't feel right w/o one. Well, the dog found the accomodations suitable and is still there with FIL. MIL was a lover of animals, so the timing of the dog's appearance gave pause. I told FIL mom sent him a dog. :) (In reality I know it was the Lord, if anyone.)

Our family has received many, many blessings immediately following MIL's death. I am still surprised and astounded. We have connected with old friends, we have re-connected and become better friends with some old acquaintances who we will be able to spend a day with when we travel back to CA this next weekend for a family reunion. We have reconnected with distant family. We have also found new family in our new location. Some friends we had only known for about a week and a half stepped up and offered to feed our cats and dogs while we raced to CA not knowing how long we would be there. Only they didn't stop there. They contacted other faculty- most of whom we had not met and some we still have not been able to meet. We were blessed tremendously when we walked into our home after 2 weeks away and it was sparkling clean and smelled fresh. There were flowers on the dining table, food enough to feed us for the better part of a week (only requiring heating), milk, eggs, bread...the very large yards had been mowed (a dirty job with the sparse grass and all the sand!) and weed-eated....and the dogs who had been relegated to outside for 2 weeks- had been scrubbed clean and smelled wonderful! Even our towels had been washed. There were sympathy cards on the counter, including a gift card for a local grocery store.
The day after we came back home a local church brought us wonderful leftovers from a church function as well as gave us a cash gift. Another church also sent us a cash gift a little later. All of these were such blessings and really ministered to us as the prior 2-3 months had been very exhausting emotionally, physically and financially.

I am reminded of the story in the Old Testament of Moses holding up the serpent in the wilderness and the help he received in holding up his arms when they became weary.

I am so humbled to be a beneficiary of God's wonderful love and grace and to feel the effects of that oft invisible thread woven in , around, and through my life.

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