Life can be so unpredictable. At the end of October, when I published what I thought would be my final blog post for at least six months to a year, I certainly didn’t think I would be writing another one before the end of 2019. But when life is unpredictable, the best place to go is to the community that has supported and loved you, so here I am.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, my husband received a call from his mother. If you have been following this blog, you know that Michael’s dad has had Alzheimer’s for several years. His mom told us that his health had taken a turn for the worse, and we needed to come say goodbye.
So, Monday morning, we packed up our car and made the day’s trek to Arkansas to say goodbye. On Tuesday afternoon, Michael’s dad passed away.
Tuesday. On the fifth anniversary of my first daughter’s stillbirth.
A week after I got the diagnosis that our daughter had passed away, I wrote a blog post of thanksgiving. I felt that it was appropriate, here a week after my father-in-law has passed, that I would write another post of thanksgiving.
I am thankful that Tony is free from the grip of Alzheimer’s disease. His body and mind are once again whole. I am thankful for the advocates that fight and raise funds to find a cure to this disease. We will continue to walk for the cure in honor of Tony as well as other family members who have been affected by it.
I’m thankful for the community that surrounds my mother-in-law and has surrounded her for these past several years. We don’t live very close by, so knowing that her friends could be there for her in the moments we weren’t able to was such a comfort. Community is such an incredible gift from God.
I am thankful for the few cherished memories I have of Tony. I didn’t get to know him well before the disease started affecting him, but one of my best memories of Tony was the time we were in a parking lot, walking to somewhere, and he was walking behind everyone else. So, I went back to walk next to him and gave him a side squeeze before taking my arm in his. He smiled at me and said he loved a good hug when he could get one.
I am thankful for the pieces of Tony that I see in my son. My son has that same penchant for a good hug. Also, when my son is thinking hard about a problem, he makes the same face Tony did. I look forward to the glimpses of Tony we will see in the years to come.
I am thankful for the memories that Michael has of his dad and the impact his dad had on him. One of his best memories is of going down to the creek with his dad and his brother to explore. I see how that love for exploration has encouraged Michael to stay curious about his passions and the world around him and to never stop learning.
I am thankful for the many ways Tony has affected the world around him. When my mother-in-law posted his passing on her Facebook, there were so many comments of how special Tony was to other people, how he encouraged, loved, and impacted their lives. I’ve been able to get to know even more about this amazing man through the stories and perspectives of those he has loved.
Most of all, I am thankful for God in whom we can place our trust and hope. He makes his presence known in such powerful ways on the darkest days. I know that Tony is finally free from the struggles of this life and has received his promised reward. And for that, I am so thankful.