Archive for June, 2009

Seven Days Ago

It was only 7 days ago that my Dan was called Home to Heaven to receive his reward, to be healed from cancer, to rest from his labor…and I became a widow.  This morning, I awoke at 4 a.m. – the exact time 7 days ago that Dan passed from this life to eternal life. I didn’t sleep much after that.  This was the first morning that when I awoke, I knew Dan was not in the our bed And tonight, I realized with a jolt that I am now a “widow.”  He lives in my heart; his spirit is alive.  But I can’t reach out and hold his hand.

This morning, Claudia called from Spain.  Talking with her, I was able to feel my pain and had a good cry…and felt better  At Noon, Adolf, chatted with me on Skype.  I was very encouraged by our conversation about what is important in life.  Tonight, Mark called to ask how I’m doing and what can he do for me.  I told all three that I need them to pray for me – to pray that God will guide me, help me heal from my loss, and show me when it is time to return to Romania.  Those 3 phone conversations uplifted me greatly.

I finally got down to the beach for the first time since Dan died.  The ocean was wild.  Huge waves came crashing, pounding up on the shore as the tide rushed in.  There must have been a storm somewhere, or maybe some more whales had passed by on their way up North.  But the crashing of the water upon itself, and the racing up further and further on the beach seemed once again to reflect my feelings.  

I know God is “growing” me.  Without Dan to lean on, I am being called upon to study God’s Word with others.  Dan was always the teacher.  However, with the Church Planting Movement approach to small group Bible study, I don’t have to be the teacher.  We will all look at the Word together, and learn to understand together.  With God all things are possible.  Remember, “No weapon created for your harm will succeed.” Isaiah 54:17 — Anne

Another view of Dan

Another view of Dan

 

 

In the Sunset of Your LIfe Will You Be like Dan Was - a Tool in the Hands of the Living God?

In the Sunset of Your LIfe Will You Be like Dan Was - a Tool in the Hands of the Living God?

June 19, 2009 at 8:06 am 3 comments

The Fatigue Begins to Catch Up

Today, it was a struggle to get out of bed.  I am really exhausted – rather “burned out” inside.  But I knew I needed to eat something to keep my stomach calm.  I’m thankful that made me get up.  But the day was very challenging. I discovered over 50  e-mails that came in soon after I sent out the announcement that Dan had passed.  I had not looked at them.  After I sent out the announcement, I closed my computer and went to bed. Having been up more than 24 hours without sleep, I had to rest before I could face letting the mortuary take Dan’s body away.

When I started looking at the e-mails from last week, sadness enveloped me.  So I stopped.  I’ll read them when I have more energy.  But later, I went to the P.O., and there were a bunch of statements from Medicare and several statements from the hospital, Emergency Room, doctors. I started having flashbacks, remembering all those times rushing to Emergency, sitting in the many doctors’ offices, the days and days that Dan was in the hospital, and that while it helped us have him several months longer…he is now gone from us.  I came close to crashing.  Even though I know that’s simply part of the grief process, it does not make it any easier.  Being a therapist who helps others with grief recovery doesn’t help me get over my own grief any easier either.  

Our son said to give him all the papers about Medicare and bills that come in.  He will look at everything and figure it out. I hope that these are the last of the bills relating to Dan’s sarcoma.  They took care of over $350,000 of Dan’s bills.  Even though we still have some to pay, we don’t have any huge bills.  Because of Medicare, we’re going to be fine.

Another example of how God continues to help us – Nancy,  my new friend, the daughter in law of our beloved Sue Lawrence from Edgefield days,  and a member at RHCC made a Facebook page announcing the container for Romania with a link to the web page. We already have two online donations!  Helping others is good medicine for sadness.  “God will always give what is right to His people who cry to Him night and day, and He will not be slow to answer them.”  Luke 18:7 — Anne

 

Dan in Vienna with Lynn & Barbara Camp of Eastern European Missions who gave us the Hungarian Children's Bibles!

Dan in Vienna with Lynn & Barbara Camp of Eastern European Missions who gave us the Hungarian Children's Bibles!

 

Romanian Children are beautiful!

Romanian Children are beautiful!

June 18, 2009 at 7:09 am 3 comments

One Step at a Time

“…..Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal” – Author Unknown.  Right now, I feel as though my body is made of heavy putty.  My mind does not want to function.  I saw the Category titles just now…one is “A Word from Dan.”  I simply could not move.  All I could think of was, “There will be no more words from Dan.”  The only words we have from Dan are those we have in our heart, or the few we have on tape.

It’s only been almost 5 days since Dan went Home…but it feels like he’s been gone a long time.  Life goes on.  Memorial service arrangements have almost been completed.  Today I packed all of the medical supplies like tape, gauze, scissors (no meds), pillows and pajamas that Dan no longer needs.  But when I tried to take his clothes out of the closet, I felt ill.  I could not do it.  There is no rush…I just want to get the boxes for the Covasna County Red Cross shipped to Searcy for the container going to Romania.  The need is so great…how can I be selfish and keep things I’ll never use that are needed in Romania?  (click on the info in the right-hand column for further info).

I’m happy that his wedding ring fits my middle finger next to my wedding rings.  It is not very stylish, but it’s what I need.  The only reason I am writing the blog now is because I believe it may help somebody else in their struggle.  It is good therapy for me, but it is also baring my soul, exposing my weakness to others.  Some can’t handle the fact that I’m not what they want me to be.  But aren’t we all that way to some extent…otherwise, I Corinthians 13: 1-13 would not have been written.  Notice verse 4 – 6: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So what am I doing about my unhappiness over other people’s actions?  Dan went away, you know. So did others. First, I’m trusting that God will provide what I need.  I’m praying for those that I judge.  I’m in grief recovery therapy to help me deal with my losses.  I rest daily now. And, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other,  taking one step at a time.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble.” Psalms 46: 1 — Anne    

Our God is a Mighty God.  He can even help us!

Our God is a Mighty God. He can even help us!

Let the Light shine in.  God's Light purifies the soul.

Let the Light shine in. God's Light purifies the soul.

June 17, 2009 at 6:44 am 7 comments

Memorials in Texas & OK

Plans are to hold a Memorial service in honor of Dan’s life at 10 a.m, 27 June, Sat. at RHCC for people in the DFW area.  Many of Dan’s family members live closer to SW Oklahoma.  A Memorial Service will be held at the Hobart Church of Christ, Monday, June 29, with burial in the Boyd Family plot in the country cemetery close to where Dan was born (near Altus, OK).

He suffered so much, but is at rest with God now. I hear that God helps you get through it, but that you never “get over” losing a husband or a child.  God is near.  He will help all of us who love Dan “get through” it.  — Anne

 

Our God, powerful enough to create such a sunset over the Pacific, is able to heal the pain in our heart.

Our God, powerful enough to create such a sunset over the Pacific, is able to heal the pain in our heart.

June 16, 2009 at 6:47 am 1 comment

Dan’s Memorial Services

In lieu of flowers, Dan requested that Memorials be made to God’s Children, a charitable organization that provides help to widows and orphans in Romania.  Contributions can be made on line — (see “Donation” on the right hand side of this blog.)

or mail  to God’s Children, P. O. Box 371011, Montara, CA 94037-1011.
It was Dan’s desire as well as mine that I return to Romania later this year to carry on our work to which God called us.  My life is in His hands.  May His will be done in all of our lives. — Anne
The children of Romania need your help.

The children of Romania need your help.

June 16, 2009 at 12:14 am 1 comment

Memorial Services for Dan

Much to our delight, we learned that this morning, Dan Johnston arranged a memorial service for Dan at Riverside in Coppell.  He had photos on the screen of Dan and his work around the world, and  said some very fine things about Dan.  Tears of joy and appreciation came to our eyes to know that you at Riverside appreciated Dan that much.  This evening we had a true celebration of his life at Coastside.  Friends of our son from the area, from work, from long ago, and from his church family filled the building.  Our son and his precious wife made all the arrangements, ordered the flowers, did everything – even the program.  Several people, including Scott, and me (at the last minute) had some nice things to say about Dan.

Members of the congregation provided desserts for our time of fellowship after the service.  I was the only one with a camera, and I did not think to take photos during the talks or singing. I will attach some photos of the flowers.  Maybe tomorrow I will scan the story of Dan’s life that was written by Scoot on the program.

“Blessed are they who die in the Lord.”  Dan is now resting from his labors, free of cancers AND he is in heaven with the Lord.  I plan to study the Word of God and be sure I know what God wants from me…and thn do it. —  Anne

 

The beautiful main flowers about 4 feet tallThe beautiful main flowers about 4 feet tallOne of the arrangements on the dessert table

One of the arrangements on the dessert table


June 15, 2009 at 6:50 am 1 comment

Facing Reality

Dan is Home, but not home where we are.  I keep thinking in the back of my mind that he is just “away,” that he will phone, or walk in the door soon.  But in reality, I know that the love of my life, the boy, who became my Christian mentor when I was only 15 and he was 16, is not ever going to walk through any door on this earth.

It’s been hard to go to bed at night ever since Dan was first struck down by sarcoma cancer.  There was some sort of confused thinking that I had to be awake in case he needed me, that he might die while I was asleep.  Fatigue always took over, and I’d force myself to get in bed.  Now, my bed is empty except for me…and I still don’t want to go to bed.  Waking up each morning to discover all over again that Dan is gone is so very painful.  While I have his teachings to be an intentional Follower of Christ in my heart, I will never again see his face on this earth.

One friend who lost a son comforted me with these words, ” Thankfully God does take the sharp edge of the grief away with time. Of course it never goes away, but becomes less heavy. ”  Another wrote, “You never get over the loss, but God helps you get through it.” 

What also helps me get through it is the loving acceptance and care I am receiving from our son and his family where we’ve been living the last six months, and the caring, encouraging phone calls, e-mails and Skype conversations coming from dear “family” around the world.  We are so blessed.  Dan is free of pain, Home forever with God, Jesus and all the saints who have gone on before us.  And, I am surrounded by loving kindnesses.

Maria wrote today, “Let’s read together Ps.23, it’s so dear to me:
  ‘ The Lord is my shepherd.
   I will always have everything I need.
   He lets me lie down in green pastures.
   He leads me by calm pools of water.
   He gives new strength to my soul
      for the good of his name.
   He leads me on paths of goodness,
      to show he is truly good.
   Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave,
   I will not be afraid of any danger.
   Why? Because you are with me,Lord.
   Your rod and staff comfort me.
   Lord,you prepared my table
       in front of my enemies.
   You poured oil on my head.
    My cup is full and spilling over.
    Goodness and mercy will be with me the rest  of my life.
    And I will sit in the Lord’s temple for a long, long time. ”

Da,Domnul e pastorul meu… Let’s say I’m there with you,and I can hug you and kiss you.

    We love you, continue to pray for you and wait you come home.
        GOD BLESS YOU!
                         Maria and the kids”

Maria and the Kids at Robi's graduation dinner

Maria and the Kids at Robi's graduation dinner

June 14, 2009 at 8:22 am 2 comments

The Second Day After

Everything seems so normal – get up, get dressed, and then suddenly realize that Dan is gone, not back in the hospital again, not returning.  Everything stops while the tears flow.  But then regular life starts up again…until the next time I am frozen in grief for my loss.  

Our son and his wife are making all the arrangements for the memorial service Sunday evening, 7 p.m., at Coastside, in Pacifica.  We are working on having the service in Ft. Worth sometime between  June 22 – 27.  Two of our children have very full schedules.  We don’t know if a date can be found that works for everyone.

In lieu of flowers, Dan requested that  Memorials be made to God’s Children, a charitable organization that provides help to the widows and orphans in Romania. Contributions can be made on line (see the Donation note on the right hand side of this page) or sent to the God’s Children, P. O. Box 371011, Montara, CA 94037-1011.

Today, my heart was made joyful when Julia, Kati, Attila, and Andrea Skyped me from Spain and Romania, and Vicki phoned from Texas.  They all share my sense of loss and encouraged me greatly.  My sister, Barbara, suggested that I could help the grandkids and  myself by doing something fun with the grandchildren. So, this afternoon, I took the two available GRAND children for hot chocolate and a ride in my 2000 Turbo 93 Saab convertible…with the top down for the first time!  Dan wants us to be happy for him. He knew we would grieve our loss, but he encouraged us to take care of ourselves by having times of joy in the midst of our sadness.

Most important of all is this…”When the soul finds its home of rest in Me, then it is that its real life begins,” from God Calling, A. J. Russell.  — Anne

Dan and Raul at Red Cross Camp, '08.  Dan cared for the little children.

Dan and Raul at Red Cross Camp, '08. Dan cared for the little children.

 

You can help these precious children.

You can help these precious children

 

Jesus said, "let the little children come to me."

Jesus said, "let the little children come to me."

June 13, 2009 at 7:50 am 4 comments

Dazed

The feelings after a loss like this…maybe “dazed” is the best description, or empty, confused, exhausted, afraid, like walking on a precipice in the fog.  The hardest thing I had to do today was let the mortuary people take Dan away from me.  I cry at the most unexpected moments.  When I am alone in “my” room (no longer “our” room), I let the gut wrenching tears flow.

A memorial service in honor of Dan will be held Sunday, 7 p.m., at Coastside Church, Pacifica, CA.  In about 2 weeks a service will be held in Ft. Worth, and later in Hobart, OK.  Dan requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to God’s Children.  You can donate online on our webpage  gods-children.org. The website also has a mailing address to which to send your donations.

God will carry us through this.  So many people are grieving over Dan’s passing.  We all celebrate that he is Home at last with God, but we miss him.  The only solution for this deep sorrow is to cling all the more to God. — Anne (no longer Anne and Dan)

Our last sunset together.

Our last sunset together.

June 12, 2009 at 6:27 am 1 comment

Dan Is Free at Last!

Dan went home to be with God today, Thursday, June 11, 2009, at 4:00 Pacific Time.  As I was thinking about a Word from the Lord about Dan to share with you, God gave me two – Isaiah 57:2 and Isaiah 61 —

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””  Isaiah 57:2

 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves….For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.

 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”  Isaiah 61:1 – 11

 — Anne

Waiting with Dan for the angels to carry him Home

Waiting with Dan for the angels to carry him Home

                

June 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm 4 comments

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