I've known Mary Connealy for awhile as a fellow Heartsong Presents: Mysteries author, but I didn't really come to know her until after Jolene's death. She stepped forward to help me set up this blog, and she has been my most faithful supporter.
Thank you, Mary, for sharing your loss of your father to cancer.
I lost my father a few years ago to cancer. It was a really slow way to die. It was about ten years from the first diagnosis until his death and there would be good times and really low times. He had all the treatment, surgery, radiation, chemo. He’d get knocked down, get back up and be better for a while and always the tests would come back wrong. Numbers that should have been zero just would not drop to zero.
I prayed steadily for Dad through that time and one verse that I came to love and cling to, and use as a prayer was:
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
During the low times, and toward the end, my dad was so weary. He had no energy and just standing up was a struggle, he even fainted a few times.
I would sit next to him and try to rest my hand on his shoulder when he talked and know that it was important to listen to every word he said. I knew I’d cherish these talks after he was gone. He was the greatest man to talk to. He had the most wonderful laugh and he was generous with it. He was funny and smart and so good hearted, such a loving father. Now that he’s gone the thing that catches me at unexpected times are those moments when I think, “I’d love to hear what Dad would say about this.”
I’d sit there and listen and pray Isaiah 40:31. “Dear Lord, you know Dad has always put his hope in You. Please renew his strength. Lift him up and help him soar. Help him run and not grow weary. Help him walk and not faint.”
My dad loved baseball. He played for the University of Nebraska Baseball Team in college, the B Team he always said. He never made the traveling squad. I remember so well how he loved baseball. Playing it and watching it on TV. He played on a community team after I was born and we’d go watch him. He always played the outfield and I remember him being so tall and young and fast and strong…later on he was older, slower and weaker…and shorter too, I wonder how that happened?
There were eight of us kids and people teased Dad about having his own baseball team, with all of us and Dad together. I suppose Mom was a cheerleader, huh?
Well, my dad finally died after a long, slow, painful battle with that awful cancer. It took me a while, about a year, but one day I was praying and I remembered how I’d prayed those verses from Isaiah, asking God for a miracle to heal my dad. And I had this vision of Dad in heaven going up for a high fly ball and catching it.
It came to me then that I’d gotten my miracle. The Lord had renewed my dad’s strength. He had lifted Dad up to soar on wings like eagles to a place where he’d could run and never again grow weary. Where he could walk and not faint.
My book Calico Canyon will be in bookstores July 1st. A lot of the humor in my writing is a gift I believe I inherited from my wonderful father.