When You Don’t Feel Strong or Courageous

Dear Baby David,

I know you’re with Jesus, but does that mean you know what’s going on here? How the heck does that work? I want to know.

I’m back in Glen Ellyn staying with our precious Susan for a couple of days. You’ve been gone from us for two months, and the season has changed from Summer to Officially Fall. IMG_1605This seems impossible. I want to yell “Noooooo!” How can the leaves turn, woodsmoke waft through the neighborhood, and life go on without you?  We can’t leave you behind. You are too real, too vibrant to not be present.

I continue to wake in the night, thinking of you, missing you, and praying for Susan.

The other night there was a last gasp of summer – heat lightning slicing through the dark like a strobe, just like the night you died. It will always make us think of the Angel Armies carrying you Home (with light show, parade and celebration).

I remember how concerned you were in those last months that your boys had to watch you become physically more weak. But in your physical brokenness you exuded a strength of spirit and deep character that was undeniable and could only be from the Lord.

One day towards the end, when you were in home hospice, you had been in excruciating pain. Kyle and I were standing on either side of your bed, helpless to do anything but tell you we loved you. Finally exhausted, you turned your head to me and whispered, “Strong and courageous.” Yes, David, you were.

Oh baby brother, how many times was that our refrain, our prayer? Together we continue to cling to Isaiah 41:10. “So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

David, Susan longs for you, just like we all do. But she is walking forward bravely, even though it can feel like she’s living in a perpetual nightmare. You would be so proud of her. She is doing hard things, because she wants to honor God and you and your memory.

The other day she went with Sophia the wonder dog, back to Loyola Hospital where you spent some of your time, to continue her Therapy Dog ministry to patients there. You can imagine how terrifying it was when she was asked to go into a room where a young couple, the man with cancer, were preparing to go home to hospice. But she was strong and courageous because God in her is strong and courageous, as He was in you too.

Many others outside our family have been impacted by your life too. I continue to get notes from people I don’t know who have found comfort and encouragement in your story. October 18th you and Susan and the family are going to be honored at a run to raise money for Melanoma research. Do you know that Dr. Luke, your oncologist said you were the most courageous patient he ever had?  Yep. And he is going to be the race-starter.

One of the greatest gifts you gave us, David, was your rock solid, unwavering trust in God as the good Author of your story.  There are many days when we don’t feel strong or courageous. We want a different story. We want to cry and have you back with that infectious smile and indomitable spirit. But we continue to do hard things because you did. You remind us that it’s God in us who is strong and courageous.

I remain,

Your head cheerleader

If you want to run (even virtually) on “Team Dave – strong and courageous” click here.

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6 Comments

  1. Oh Laura, your letter to Baby David is raw with emotion. I envision the same Angels Armies that were shepherding David home 2 months ago, are now hovering over all of you in your brokenness. I thank you for being so raw. And for sharing how ‘the supporting cast’ can join the call with meaning.

    Loving being on board,

    Penny

  2. Kristine Erickson

    September 23, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    WOW! This piece of writing is profound and so heart felt. I am deeply touched at the applications to both those who are struggling to get to the other side and those that are here on earth to fight it out. THANK YOU! I just love your blog and how real you are. Blessings and God’s peace to you as you grieve. The photo of your brother is so great too!

  3. Laura,
    Thanks for sharing. I am so sorry for the pain and loss you and your family are experiencing. Your lil brother sounds like an amazing man filled with faith and strength.
    Have an amazing time this weekend surrounded by people who knew and loved David.
    Tricia

    • Thank you so much Tricia! Grief is absorbed best when your people show up. We’re thankful for many loving arms, listening ears, and helping hands.

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