Sometimes you just feel the need to write...may not even know what I want to write about, just feel like writing will in someway make me feel better...
As we prepare ourselves for Christmas, I can't help but think about my father-in-law even more daily. I think about it often but it seems he's been on my mind even more so lately. I miss him dearly everyday and just wish I could pick up the phone and hear his laugh. It's so hard for me to believe that he hasn't been with us for nearly 7 months...just doesn't seem possible.
In June of 2011 Nate, Landon and I had the opportunity to take a family vacation with my mother and father-in-law to Gatlinburg, TN. I should start by saying I don't have the typical daughter-in-law relationship with my inlaws. Nate and I have been together since shortly after my 17th birthday therefore they've been in my life for several years. A little background, my biological father was never really a father so when I met Nate's dad as a teenager, he soon became my father figure. He and I had a special bond that I just can't explain...our personalities were very similar and we were usually on the same page with most things!
This family vacation was a much needed break for my family as well as my inlaws. It was a very nice getaway and we all had fun and enjoyed the company of one another. Towards the end of our vacation, we realized my father-in-law Larry wasn't acting quite right. He was sleeping more than normal and didn't have the energy he typically did. Nate and I attributed it us being on vacation and allowing him time to relax and didn't think too much more of it. After coming home and getting busy with life, a couple weeks had passed and things seemed to be going well. One evening a couple weeks after coming home, my mother-in-law Joyce called and told us that she thought Larry might be having a stroke and that she was taking him to the hospital in Elwood.
Several tests and scan were ran and they confirmed if wasn't a stroke but did inform us that they had found lesions on his brain and weren't sure exactly what they were. A biopsy was scheduled for July 11, 2011 in which was confirmed that he had Glioblastoma, terminal brain cancer. We were initially given a time frame of 4 months to 4 years depending on how long his body could withstand treatment. I, as the rest of the family, was completely shocked. This man that had devoted his life to serving God and bringing those to the lord had terminal brain cancer. This man that meant so much to me, the only father that I'd ever really known or been able to depend on had terminal brain cancer.
The following months where some of the best and worst we'd had together. There were times when Larry had really good days and you wouldn't even know he had cancer and then there were days/weeks that he was very ill. 10 months after being diagnosed and after a very courageous battle, my father-in-law met his lord and savior, the man he'd devoted his life to. May 22, 2012 was one of the most difficult days of my life. I had lost the only father figure I'd ever really had but heaven had just gained a precious angel. I miss my father-in-law more than words can ever express but I hold strong to the fact that I will see him again one day. Selfishly, I miss him for myself and for Nate but even more so, I miss him for my 3 year old son. Landon too had a special relationship with his grandpa and talks about him daily.
I am so blessed to have had 8 wonderful years with Larry in my life. There isn't a day, probably not a few hours that pass that I don't think about him. I know he's in such a better place, no longer suffering but still it's hard being here without him. A fellow pastor who was also a very close friend of my father-in-laws spoke at his funeral and said that in one of the last conversations he had had with Larry, Larry told him his passion was just to "give them Jesus". I'm sure my father-in-law didn't realize it at the time but in my opinion this statement alone summarizes his life. He lived daily with the opportunity to "give them Jesus".