Posts filed under ‘Cancer’s Dark Valley’

A Walk in the Sunshine

When I awoke this morning, I saw a mixture of clouds, fog and sunshine outside.  Knowing that the fog might take over any minute, I grabbed a slice of brown bread, and gouda cheese and  took a long stroll through the beautiful countryside.  As I walked in a valley, my cell phone rang.  It was Sherrylee!  Because the reception was terrible, I rushed to the top of the hill just in time to get her 2nd phone call. They are returning a day early so they can be with me at Dan’s memorial service in North Richland Hills!  It was very symbolic because I was indeed in the dark valley when she called, but after talking with her, my spirits were joyful and at peace.

I can tell I am improving because I worked in the flower garden today for the first time in the six months I’ve been here.  I love being outdoors and especially working in the soil, helping things grow, clearing out the tired, brown leaves, whatever there is to do that helps the yard have opportunity to show off God’s handiwork.

I did sort through the pile of medical statements from hospitals, emergency rooms, and insurance companies.  That was nerve wracking.  Afterwards, I had a cup of tea AND read in a novel just for the pleasure of “doing nothing.”  I have actually finished one book in the last 6 months.  Saturday, our son will help me look at the bills and mixed up statements, decide what actually needs to be paid.  And, it’s bill paying time.  So, even though I do not enjoy accounting, it has to be done.

God will get us through this time.  He has promised to provide all that we need.  We need Him. — Anne


Thursday the Pacific was wild, crashing loudly on the shore.

Thursday the Pacific was wild, crashing loudly on the shore.


Can you see the colorful flowers peeking out from the tall grass?  This reminds me of Romania.

Can you see the colorful flowers peeking out from the tall grass? This reminds me of Romania.

June 20, 2009 at 8:40 am 2 comments

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

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

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


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 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

Not Ready to Cross over Jordan


God's true beauty is often found while wandering in the wilderness

God's true beauty is often found while wandering in the wilderness

Dan’s body is so strong.  I have given him permission to go Home at least 4 times.  I told him that God will take care of me, and that the angels are waiting to take him Home…that it’s okay.  He can go.  But, at 12:00, Noon, Wednesday, he’s still here.


He now is sleeping after being up at 2:00 a.m. wanting to get dressed.  Melissa helped calm him and we got him back in bed . We  can’t wake him. But this is normal for him the last 2 days.  He may be awake by 2:00 p.m. (14:00).  His blood pressure is 98/58 with a heart rate of 132.

Melissa has been such a wonderful help.  She knows exactly what to do and is very tender and caring for both Dan and me.  She goes back to Texas early in the morning.  I pray that Dan will be safely across the Jordan before she leaves.  But it is all in God’s timing.  We are okay.  We are going to be okay.  All is well…because we are in Christ and He cares for us. — Anne and sleeping Dan

Beauty of nature displays God's love for us

Nature displays God's love for us

June 10, 2009 at 7:26 pm 1 comment

Today Offered Many Growth Opportunities

Dan thought twice Monday night that he was actually going Home, but Tuesday came and went…and Dan is still on this earth.  He is so weak – he can’t speak more than a few words; breathing is very difficult; he can’t walk without help; he can’t get out of bed or a chair, or sit down, or stand up without help.  He stays confused for hours at a time – change shirts 4 times, get out of bed, sit in chair, get back in bed, 5 minutes after 2 people have used all their energy to pull the draw sheet so that Dan is sitting up high enough so that his middle is not bent double, he is climbing out of bed again, Tonight at 12:30, he was pulling his CPAP mask off because he is struggling to breath.  He is really struggling, miserable, but never complaining. He looks at me pleading with his big beautiful eyes to help him.  He can say, “Help,!” and “water.”

Melissa arrived this morning to help for 3 days. Her experience with their assisted living business is really blessing us now.  She knows exactly what to do for Dan.  So, I was able to take a short nap, and then take a long leisurely walk with friends through an earthly paradise not far from where we live. For a few hours, I felt like a “regular” person.

Dan has begun the “death rattle,” a little clicking noise in his throat because of mucous blocking his air passages.  I turn his head from side to side several times.  If that doesn’t clear the air passages, I am to put two drops of special medicine under his tongue to help him breathe.  How long, O Lord, will your servant Dan have to wait?

Tonight, God gave me Romans chapters 5 and 6.  I hope you will read those chapters and ask yourself, “What message is there in this for me?”  But what stands out, what truly applies to Dan tonight is Romans 6:27, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Adam and Eve brought death into the world when they sinned against God.  But through Jesus, we can have eternal life…just like Dan. — Anne and Dan


Is this Paradise?

Is this Paradise?



On the edge of the Garden of Eden...

On the edge of the Garden of Eden...













Now this purple shrub out in the middle of the forest would be a ?????

Now this purple shrub out in the middle of the forest would be a ?????

June 10, 2009 at 8:10 am 2 comments

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