Archive for May, 2009

Every Day Has Joy

Even though the day started out with near paralyzing fear as I looked at Dan’s swollen legs, hips and abdomen…discovering cellulitis spreading over more of his legs, reading his oxygen level of 64 (90 is the lowest that is acceptable), I cried out to God, and He helped me think more clearly.  A new nurse came yesterday.  Today, there was yet another new nurse. I had to train both in the method to pack Dan’s wound.  Fortunately, today’s nurse will return for 2 more days, and our regular nurse will return next week.  Amber will take over much of his nursing care for 10 days.  I just don’t know, until she tries it, if she can pack that wound.

The new sleep mask, the new velcro wide elastic band to hold everything in place is not working well.  The mask is making sounds like a slightly broken organ that needs to be tuned.  Almost everything seemed to go wrong today.  We never did get his oxygen level up to 90, but we were happy with 84.  

We had a strange experience today.  A man whom we loved like a brother years ago did us a deep wrong and walked away.  We both wrote him in an attempt to work things out.  But we never heard anything until today.  He’d had a dream, he said, in which he saw Dan in anguish, surrounded by family.  He called to offer his condolences…but said not one word of apology, made no mention of his wrong doing.  I am still working on letting go/forgiving him for hurting us.  The call today made me aware that I must “let go” if I am ever going to have peace, and that God is “busy” with him as well as us.  We pray that he will turn his life around, and choose to walk with God again.

This afternoon, joy walked in the door with the arrival of Jim and Lyn from Fayetteville!  We had a blessed evening sharing many warm memories and talking about interesting things that we all care about.  They always help with the work we do in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania, and are some of our best encouragers.  The day ended sooooo well. God is so good to have let them come see us! — Anne and Dan

May 20, 2009 at 7:50 am 1 comment

To Help You Understand the Journey

Why do I write this blog?  As a chronicle of the daily events during this walk through the Dark Valley, to help others understand what it is like, to stay connected with those who care enough to take the time to read it, to help me remember that God is always with us.  In 2005, it was estimated that 155,000 people die every day.  Dan is only one of many who will soon stand before the Lord to give an account of himself.  I am just one of about 300,000 or more who struggle with giving up their loved ones each day.  Really, the number of grieving loved ones is a much higher number.

So, in that regard we are not unique.  But what is perhaps unique these days, is that we are able to find joy in the midst of this painful journey.  Dan still makes those clever puns, teases so well even though his tongue is thick from dehydration or from pain killers.  How can we be joyful when the tears are streaming down our faces?  We believe all of Jesus’ promises to us.  How do we know what His promises are?  We study His Word, the Bible.

The tears come at most unexpected moments. They have to pour forth or my heart will burst. Most of the time, the tears come when I am alone.  But, always, we turn to God for comfort and guidance.  Reading His Word, praying, listening to Him, holding His hand,  trusting HIm that all is well, we go deeper and deeper into the Darkness of Death. But God is LIGHT in whom there is no darkness.  Seek the LIght, and He will lead you. — Anne and Dan

Our Beloved Bogi and Janos, Social Workers in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania

Our Beloved Bogi and Janos, Social Workers in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania

May 19, 2009 at 7:21 am 4 comments

Why Is There Such a Need to Control???

Behind much unhappiness is the fear that there is no way to control the situation.  The Dr. has told us that Dan only has a few weeks.  Shouldn’t that be enough to prepare me for what is going to happen to each one of us one day?  Today, Dan slept most of the day .  He has been doing that for 4 days because his body has not adjusted to taking the pain killer, morphine.  But today, I began to wonder if this sleep is the kind one has because the end is very near.  I want to know…be in control.

And, sure enough, I became very sad.  I went for a walk just before sunset. Walking very slowly, I analyzed every symptom Dan has…and fear crept in.  Behind most fear is the belief, “I won’t be okay.”  As I began to pray, I poured out my heart to God giving Him all my fears.  His love comforted me, helped me remember that God has always provided what Dan and I needed.  God will not abandon me now.  What is important is to remember that Dan has faithfully followed Jesus’ teachings for 63 years. He will be okay.  And it is important that I hold on to God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All is well with us!  Pray for those who are grieving because Dan may leave us soon. — Anne and Dan

Dan and Attila always had something important to discuss. (Romania)

Dan and Attila always had something important to discuss. (Romania)

 

Andrea and Zoli are our translators, neighbors, helpers, and protect us in many ways.

Andrea and Zoli are our translators, neighbors, helpers, and protect us in many ways.

Reka and Alpar will do anything to help us when we are in Sfantu Gheoghe. We are so blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        Reka and Alpar help us in wonderful ways.

May 18, 2009 at 7:01 am 1 comment

Saying “Good Byes”

The last 2.5 days have been sweet, precious days filled with joyful memories.  Our eldest son and his wife came to be with Dan, to be part of the family, to honor him.  Tonight, they told Dan goodbye for the last time face to face on this earth.  They are returning home to North Carolina early in the morning.  

Dan’s oxygen level has been much too low today.  Tonight, the suction drain was attached to the port in the middle of Dan’s left ribs.  A very small amount of fluid was removed.  So, we did the next thing prescribed by the Hospice Dr. – a very small amount of morphine was given Dan by mouth.  Surprisingly enough, that increases breathing capacity…which increases the oxygen in the body.  His oxygen level is still less than 90.  We may give one more does to see if we can get the oxygen level up to 90. The  minimum acceptable oxygen level according to Dan’s doctors.

We are okay.  I had the afternoon “free.”  I drove down to Half Moon Bay to pick up meds for Dan.  Then I wandered through the Senior Citizens Thrift Shop looking for egg cups in which to eat soft boiled eggs.  (We learned to do that when we were missionaries in Holland.)  I didn’t find egg cups, but did buy a wind breaker for cool days on the beach.  I haven’t been there this week, but the beach is waiting for me.  I plan to walk there again soon.  The sun shone today outside and in our hearts. God is good.  God is gracious. God is just.  God is loving.  God is the Great I AM.  And, He is our Father. — Anne and Dan

HAPPY 14TH BIRTHDAY, RAUL (May 17, '09) Here Raul is helping Rodica teach me how to make clatite in "our" kitchen in Sfantu Gheorghe, RO, last year.

HAPPY 14TH BIRTHDAY, RAUL (May 17, '09) Here Raul is helping Rodica teach me how to make clatite in "our" kitchen in Sfantu Gheorghe, RO, last year.

May 17, 2009 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

A Mixed Day

Our day began with Patty, the Hospice Nurse, announcing that she has to be gone for one week…and asking me to manage without any help from Hospice.  Stunned, I told her, “Dan only has a short time.  I do not want to take responsibility for his medical care.  I’d really like to have an RN come daily.”  Then I remembered that Amber, who just completed her nursing training will be here with her mother, Natasha, next Wednesday.  Amber has asked to be Dan’s nurse while here.  Hospice will send an RN through Wednesday, then Amber will take over until Patty returns.  Problem solved!  Isn’t God good.

But, only the Hospice nurse can arrange for the medicines Dan needs.  So, I had to drop everything and take inventory of his meds.  I wound up being tied up nearly all morning with the nurse…while our son and wife from North Carolina sat waiting to visit with us.  But the afternoon went much better.  Tonight, all 9 of us watched a Mayberry comedy DVD, laughed together, enjoyed being family with Dan present…for a few more days.   

Dan’s pain medication is controlling his pain better. He sleeps a lot, but supposedly his body will adjust to the meds in a few days.  Then he will be more alert.  We are taking one day at a time, and being grateful for the time we have with Dan.  We cannot really imagine that he is going, that one day soon we cannot sit and talk with him, that I won’t hear his beautiful bass voice singing beside me ever again on this earth.  We have made beautiful music together since we met in our mid-teens.  But I can imagine that he will be at peace, free of suffering in his new home in Heaven. That’s what we have been living for. 

Paul expresses our feelings, our beliefs in I Corinithians 15:55 – 57, “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death is our sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We live in Christ; we sleep; we awaken in Heaven never to die again.  That is worth living for! — Anne and Dan

 

Precious Memories - Anne and Rya, National Artist, new Christian friend in Russia

Precious Memories - Anne and Rya, National Artist, new Christian friend in Russia

 

Blessed memories - Dan led many discussion groups in Volgograd, Russia

Blessed memories - Dan led many discussion groups in Volgograd, Russia

May 16, 2009 at 5:31 am Leave a comment

A Calmer Day

Today the hospice nurse adjusted Dan’s pain medication.  He slept more, but had very little pain most of the day.  If you want to speak with him, go ahead and call us on Skype or the house phone.  If  he’s awake, he will visit with you for a few minutes…and this will bring us joy.

Our oldest son and his wife arrived today. We are all so happy to see them.  Many know our brother, Samuel.  One of our dearest couples in the Lord are bringing Samuel from Ghana for Samuel’s granddaughter’s graduation, and then out here to see Dan one more time. It’s sweet, and bittersweet to say, “Goodbye,” even though we have peace knowing that those of us who are in Christ will meet again on the Other Side where there are no more tears, no pain, no more disappointments.  I like the way “The Message” says it  in Philippians –

“I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I’m not saying that I have this all together… But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them…All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street…

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.”  Phil. 3:10-21 — Anne and Dan

In Heaven, there is no darkness for God is Light!

In Heaven, there's no darkness for God is the LiIGHT!

May 15, 2009 at 6:22 am 1 comment

Facing Reality

We are thankful for having this day together.  These are somber but loving days as we grapple with the increasing pain in Dan’s left shoulder which is requiring stronger and stronger pain medication.  This morning, he got up and dressed, ate breakfast with me,rested off and on all day, and began working with me on things he’d been putting off until he felt better.

We wish we had the ability to focus strictly on the joy that awaits him when he crosses over the river. But the fact that he cannot say “goodbye,” face to face to so many that we love  brings him such sadness.  We pray that we will both get to say, “Hello,” when and if they join us in Heaven.  We keep going back to the joy he will have sitting at the feet of Jesus surrounded by so many dear friends who have gone on before.  He’s awestruck that finally he will he meet God.  He’s hoping he gets to have conversations with Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and so many “Greats in the Kingdom.”  Can you imagine having small group discussions with some of these people?

Vicki wrote this to us today.  She knows us so well.  “Thought of Dan when I read this:
“God, you have taught me since I was a young boy.  And to this day I have told people about the wonderful things you do!  Now I am old and my hair is gray, but don’t leave me, God.  I must tell the next generation about your power and greatness.
God, your goodness reaches far above the skies.  God, there is no god like you. You have done wonderful things.  You have let me see troubles and hard times, but you will give me new life; you will lift me up from this pit of death!  You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again!” — Psalms 71:17-21.  To that, we say, AMEN! — Anne and Dan

 

Dan and Andrea, our translator, present certificate of attendance for counselor training class

Dan and Andrea, our translator, present certificate of attendance for counselor training class in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania. Those were happy days!

May 14, 2009 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

Weeks…Not Months

Today we met with Dr. Jahan for the last time.  Dan asked, “Can you give me an estimate of how long I have?”  Dr. Jahan, with great compassion in his eyes said, “We can’t say for sure. There is no way to know.”  Dan asked, “Can I expect to have a short burst of energy, and then go?”  Jahan replied, “No. Your energy level will lessen day by day until you go to sleep and don’t wake up. ”

Dan continued asking questions. At last, Dr. Jahan decided to give Dan a time frame. “if you just had a sarcoma, you might possibly have six months.  But given that the sarcoma is so close to your heart, you probably only have a few weeks.  The tumor may cause interference with your electrical system.  If that happens, it will be like flipping a switch…and it will be over.”  Dan was quiet for a few moments, and then said, “I finally understand the reality of the situation.  Thank you.”

Dr. Jahan counseled, “Do not wait until you feel like doing things.  Prioritize what you need to do.  Begin tomorrow training Anne about your accounting system and whatever else you want her to know.  Take it in small steps, but do it now.”   Dan prepared detailed information for me before his first surgery in January, ’08.  But now, it is time to take me through it step by step.

While we waited for our ride, I read Dan the devotional for today in GOD CALLING, by A.J. Russell.  It says, “Turn out all thoughts of doubt and of trouble….What greater treasures can you have than Peace, Rest and Joy?  These are all stolen from you by doubt and fear, and despair….Face the storm….Joy, Peace, Love, all three My great gifts.  Follow me to find all three….Real joy and victory come only to those alone who sense these when they ride a storm....”

Say, ‘All is well.’…not as a vain repetition. Use it as you would a healing balm for  a cut or a wound until the poison is drawn out.  Then, until the sore is healed, then, until the thrill of fresh life floods your being.  All is well.” — Anne and Dan

Dan and Anne 'Together'

Dan and Anne 'Together'

 

My Little Sister, Comfort, and me, Kumasi, Ghana, W. Africa, 2003

My Little Sister, Comfort, and me, Kumasi, Ghana, W. Africa, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dick, Hanny (from Holland) and Dan - true friends for 49 years

Dick, Hanny (from Holland) and Dan - true friends for 49 years

May 13, 2009 at 5:52 am 4 comments

Something to Think About

I wrote something this morning.  I hope you read it.  The words express our sincere feelings.  My pain grows deeper.  God grows dearer. But I am adding this tonight. Marilyn sent this. It is very important to understand this.  — Anne and Dan

In the Good Ole Days with Carolyn and Tatiana in Volgograd, Russia.  How we miss Carolyn.  Dan may see her soon!

In the Good Ole Days with Carolyn and Tatiana in Volgograd, Russia. How we miss Carolyn. Dan may see her soon!

Daily Devotional by Max Lucado

“the One who came still comes and the One who spoke still speaks” May 10 Speak, LORD. I am your servant and I am listening.1 Samuel 3:9 (NCV)

We expect God to speak through peace, but sometimes he speaks through pain….

We think we hear him in the sunrise, but he is also heard in the darkness.

We listen for him in triumph, but he speaks even more distinctly through tragedy.  

From: Everyday Blessings Copyright (J. Countryman, 2004) 

Max Lucado  

Dan Boyd Clan, 2003

Dan Boyd Clan, 2003

May 12, 2009 at 7:22 am 1 comment

“I Don’t Feel Sick Enough to Be Dying”

Last night…OK, it was 1 a.m. this morning, Dan was in pain from swollen feet and legs.  I hadn’t been to bed – he needed so much care last night…clean and pack the wound, adjust the CPAP face mask that doesn’t fit, etc.  I massaged his feet and legs for half an hour, pressing gently upward to get the excess fluid to move out.  After arranging 5 pillows to hold his ankles higher than his knees, I went to bed.  At 3 a.m., and 6 a.m., I arranged pillows again. Our work in the night was worth it. The swelling is almost gone!

As we talked about the future when he will be with Jesus, free of all pain, Dan said, “I don’t feel sick enough to be dying.”  I wonder how sick one has to feel in order to know that the end is near?  Is Dan’s life nearly over?  The doctors say so.  

I hope you will read what Sherrie wrote last night, think about it, listen to what the Lord is saying to you as you read it, and do something about it.  But that’s up to you.  You are free to choose what you do.  You only have to explain it to God once…on the Judgement Day.  Then He gets to choose what your next step is.

Sherrie said,  “It is so true that a Christian’s greatest promise from God resides in the Resurrection.  God is in the Raising Up [Resurrection] Business.  God either raises us up to a new day so we can serve Him.  Or, God raises our spirit up to heaven’s home to be with Him forever and later God will raise up our bodies out of the grave.  Either way, Christians are raised up and out of this world’s destruction and decay to a New Life with a New View through Jesus’ teachings.  Either way, Christians win victory over our sorrows.  

Believers have this New View and New Life about everything that happens on our journey.  In this way, Jesus gives believers the abundant, plentifully supplied life that never ends.  How wonderful having this great hope in Christ’s Resurrection.  

Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).”  “I am the resurrection and the life.  The person who commits himself to Me will live, even though he may die.  Every person who lives and commits himself to Me will never die!  Do you believe this (John 11:25,26)?”   “I am the good shepherd.  I know My followers and My followers know Me, just as My Father knows Me and I know My Father.  I will give my life for the sheep . . . My sheep listen to My voice.  I know them.  They follow Me.  I give them eternal life.  They will never be lost.  No one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father is stronger than anyone.  No one can snatch them from My Father’s hand.  He has given Me all things.  My Father and I are united (John 10:14-16, 27-30).”  — Anne and Dan

May 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm 3 comments

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