Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lifted Burdens

There are things I look back at now and see through the eyes of reflection that make me very thankful. They also make me hang my head and wonder why I allowed worry to engulf me at times.

Psalm 50:15 Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Having a child with a genetic disease means most life insurance companies will not insure them. For years this thought would creep up into my mind. How would I have the money to bury my son if he died before me?

CF is a very expensive disease for families. Lots of medical bills and medications. Travel to and from medical facilities, stays in hospitals and hotels, equipment and the list goes on.

There were times I trusted and there were times I worried.

So many of you have helped ease our burdens. Thank you. We are so grateful for all the support we received and are still receiving.

  • Thank you to all those who lifted us up in prayer. They were all heard and answered.
  • Thank you Derek for giving of all of your time for Mikey's funeral preparations. He would not allow one second of his time to be charged.
  • To Radar who would not allow us to be burdened with any amount insurance didn't pay for the ambulance ride home.
  • Thank you to Grandma VanDeurzen who allowed Mike to be buried on their plot.
  • Thank you to so many friends and relatives who gave money to help pay for Mike's medical and burial expenses.
  • Thank you to Uncle David, Aunt Renee and my girlfriend Jean for helping financially with Mike's expenses these last couple of difficult years when the expense became overwhelming.
  • Thank you to Brandi and Julie for helping raise awareness and money to help with Mike's expenses.
  • Thank you to my girlfriend Gail who came immediately and stayed until the end. Working tirelessly even though she struggles with her own chronic illness.
  • Thank you to my girlfriend Pam who brought food and shampoo and things I needed.
  • Thank you to the many people who brought food to the house. I don't even know who you all are. I didn't see anyone who brought food except my mom and Brandi (Julie brought salsa and cookies). It was just there when I would come downstairs. Bless you.
  • Thank you to all of the friends and relatives who helped us take care of Richie and David.
  • To Johnna, Cathy, Kay and others who took charge and put the food out for others to have. I was so out of it I didn't even offer Mike and Kay anything to eat or drink when they first came. When Mike and I talked to Mikey and I told them his dad could come and stay, I was extending an open invitation but then we got to our house and things got crazy. Thank you for your forgiveness you guys.
  • Thank you to Kay who brought water and hand sanitizer and all sorts of stuff.
  • Thank you to Amy who ran to the store or errands on more than one occasion yet was still there every time Mike called for her.
  • Thank you Amy S for the Chapstick.
  • Mike and Dianne P who counseled with Mike so many times and talked him through many rough patches in his life.
  • Thank you Rhonda, Amy, Pastor Parson's, Beth and others for my cokes.
  • Thank you to Mike's brothers who would come at a moments notice if we needed anything. Some ran to the pharmacy for drugs, others on errands, some came in the middle of the night because Mike just needed to know that they were there.
  • Thank you to Scott who came in the middle of his work week and camped out in the hospital parking lot.
  • Thank you to Dennis for making the trip so many times. Mike needed you and you were there.
  • Thank you to the women who made the purple ribbons.
  • Thank you to the folks who made bracelets.
  • Thank you Julie for the flash mob. . . unbelievable memories.
  • To the Pastors and staff at Good Shepherd Lutheran for allowing all of us to have Mike's visitation there.
  • To the Pastors and staff at Faith who allowed us to fit around tight schedules. Allowed Mike's bikes to be kept there with him. For understanding the brothers needed to keep watch.
  • Thank you to Pastor Naumann for an incredible sermon that has brought peace to all of us.
  • Thank you to Pastor Parsons, Haugley, Weigand and Naumann for the devotions. Thank you Pastor Haugly for giving Mike Communion.
  • Thank you to Uncle Bob and Uncle Scott for honoring Mike's request to sing Breathe. I can't imagine how hard that was to do at Mikey's funeral. But they did it.
  • Thank you to Auggy and Mongo who wrote poems for Mike and shared them with the rest of us.
  • Thank you to everyone who spoke at Mike's funeral.
  • Thank you to Madyson for the Hero speech she shared with Mike and then with all of us.
  • Thank you Erin and Brooke for your counsel
  • Thank you to Uncle Jim's sisters and others who helped organize and serve the lunch after the burial.
  • Thank you to everyone who brought food for the lunch.
  • Thank you to everyone who sent plants and flowers. They are all lovely.  Thank you to Mike Bassett for the two trees. They are planted in our yard. I couldn't find your address to thank you.
  • Thank you to the THMC for honoring Mike's last request that the club have his motorcycle. This was a difficult request to fill. It was Mike's only asset and with medical bills and such it would not be easy to fulfill this request. The club purchased the bike for well over its value to fulfill Mikey's request and to help alleviate some of Mike's expenses. God bless you all.
  • And to Heartland Hospice for the storm we created. It was no easy thing to get Mike home and make all the arrangements in a moments notice. There was not time to work things out perfectly. They took him anyway and we all did the best we could. They came back every time we needed them. They continue to call and offer comfort through our grief.

Thank you to everyone who showed up - no matter how you did it. You showed up and gave support. I never could have imagined how God was going to work this all out and how awesomely he would do it. I didn't need to worry. I only needed to trust him. How silly I was.

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Thank you to all of you for helping to lift our burdens. God bless each and every one of you. Peace.

I didn't get the entire song but I will share the piece I did get. So awesome of these Uncle's of Mike's to do this for him. 

Keep loving it forward with us. Blessings to you!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

I love getting back into the kitchen. . . it's been a while ;)

I was blessed to go to church last night before I started my Thanksgiving Day preparations. It helped me reflect on all that I am thankful for most importantly God. He has given me a faith that has sustained me through so much this past year.

It has been a tradition around our home to take a few moments during the Thanksgiving activities and write down several things that we are thankful for. The things after God, faith and salvation. Those are a given. Those are the things that we thank God for on a daily basis.

This morning I pulled out the cards from 2008 and this is what I found:

1. I have a supporting job!
2. That I had my guardian angel with me and watching over me this summer!
3. The support of family during hard times!

1. I am thankful Mike hasn't been in the hospital in over 8 weeks :)
2. Thankful our income is still enough for our needs! Thankful our car still runs and hasn't had any major expense.
3. I am thankful for my spiritual growth that is a huge gift and an answered prayer.
4. For a spiritually mature husband who takes his responsibility as leader of our family, seriously.

1. Pain free legs & not getting up 3 times a night.
2. Working windshield wipers on the Bonneville that still runs.
3. The job that I have in an unstable economy.
4. Thankful that gas prices have dropped from $4 to $1.73.
5. The Lord bringing all of us through many hospital visits throughout 2008.

1. Turkey, corn, chicken, jello.
2. Going in my room.
3. Going outside with dad and playing with toys.

1. My health
2. Working at the Dance Studio
3. Disability checks

David (with Dad's help to write them)
1. CARS (as in the movie and the little toys).
2. My mom who stays with me every day.
3. Music because I love to sing.
4. A Car so that I can go places like the museum and the swimming pool.
5. Friends that come to my house (Jack & Gavin).

And Richard
1. Pudding                                              17. George Washington      33. Pumpkin Patches
2. Mom                                                   18. The Mall                       34. Vitamins
3. Dad                                                     19. Stores                            35. Katie
4. Donets                                                20. Shoes                             Katie and I got a pretty
5. Mike                                                   21. Sand                              good chuckle out of his list :)
6. David                                                  22. Shovel
7. bike                                                     23. Orange Juice
8. My room                                             24. Ice Cream
9. Gage                                                    25. Can't read it
10. Going on Vacations                          26. Roads
11. Snow                                                 27. Brownies
12. Waterpark                                         28. Cake
13 No school days                                   29. Hair
14. Football games                                  30. Summer
15. House                                                 31. Spring
16. Money                                               32. Little Farmer

I am thankful that I am a scrapbooker and that I took the time to do things like this.

There is a wonderful smell in my home from pies that just came out of the oven and things still in there baking. Paul, Richie, David and two of my nephews up from Tennessee, Luke and Eli just left for church. The house has been filled with life and laughter . . . I am thankful.

Many people have shared with me that the holidays would be especially hard. I can honestly say I haven't found this to be true so far. I think about the fact that Mike is celebrating his first Thanksgiving in heaven and I think about how cool that must be. When I think about Mike I immediately think about the fact he isn't suffering. I miss him terribly some times. When the tempter comes and gives me a poke it isn't fun. He took a really good jab at me a few weeks ago. I'll write about that another time. But the comforter is still here giving me comfort and peace and he is bigger than any temptation.

I was typing at my niece Janna the other day and I was able to verbalize the realization of experiences I have been having. While talking about grief I wrote:

I am learning through this experience that it is hard to be sad while your heart is so full of thankfulness and gratitude. I choose to be thankful that God gave me a son. Not look at it that God took away my son. It is hard to explain to others who are hurting. But I'm going to keep trying because I so want them to feel what I am feeling. It is a God feeling. A feeling that can come only from God. To feel His presence so fully that grief becomes only a shadow to it. To feel so much gratitude for His mercy that sorrow has to take a back seat. To have so much hope in Him that there is no way not to have joy. It is a God feeling and it is pretty amazing. God truly does come close to the broken hearted - indeed.

I'm not saying that there isn't grief and sorrow. There is. But it is not all consuming. There is joy, there is peace, there is gladness . . . life is for the living. The lesson I'm learning is that while I am living in gratitude and thankfulness I don't feel as sad or sorrowful. They are shadowed. God is so good.

I choose to look at things like the notes above and be thankful. I was going through some of the medical notes from Mike's chart and I found this:

Written on 9/16/14 by the Palliative Care Team

 . . .Mike recognizes that he does get depressed at times, but feels he has a great support system especially through his "biker" club. Mike is close to his family--he has 2 younger brothers. His mom has remarried and he appears to have a good relationship with his step-dad. His dad is involved and visits on weekends.

Closure of Life Affairs: Patient is hopeful to live until he is 34, but recognizes that time could be shorter. He is starting to think about how his family might cope with this death. He shared stories about his life, and the fact that he feels he has had a good life.

What a blessing to see those words. Mike shared that with many at UW Madison - "I've had a good life . . ." You are all part of that. How can we be anything but thankful.

This picture was taken on the day we wrote the thankful cards above :)
From our home to yours may God bless your holiday! Thank you all for showing up to help Mike, me and my family get through his final round and since. We are grateful.

Love, love, love.