Tara and I blog at night feeling like we’re telling our secrets, as if unaware people are following along. We try to be vulnerable and transparent, hiding nothing. But we have held out on a few conversations that have been too personal. Or maybe not too personal, rather not wanting to show our deepest fear, or be too negative.
The conversation about death came again tonight. We cannot go there often because it hurts too bad. I lose my breath every time I think about it. Pain and loss. But we have to have the discussion so we are not caught off guard. What would happen if the worst news came our way? How could we best spend Tara’s last days? Would we stay here or go somewhere together as a family to get away? Would we try every possible treatment or just enjoy her final days without punishing her body with treatments? How well would Lewis remember his mom? Would the girls be able to cope? How would Tara be remembered?
I want to lead my family courageously. But how can I if I am scared? Scared? Why now? Why should this be different than before cancer? It shouldn’t be. Heck, I might beat her to the grave. We should have realized our mortality a long time ago so we were living with the purpose of leaving a legacy for our children, for our family, our friends, our world. What purpose is all the stuff I have worked for if I have not done this? If I have not impacted people.
This conversation is not negative. Purpose is now our focus. Our purpose is becoming more clear. Life will not slip away on accident. It is not a conversation to have just when cancer strikes. We should have had this conversation all along. Like I have quoted in an earlier blog from the great prophet Braveheart, “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.”
So where do we go from here. We have purpose. Love God. Serve people (starting with our family). Care for creation. Our legacy will be……………
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings and fears. God is truly using you in mighty ways to keep us grounded in what is really important in this gift of life we have been given – and to be prepared for life after this! We think of you all often and pray for you during nightly prayers with the kids! God has blessed you richly with the stuff that matters! Hang on to that….
Courage isn’t a matter of NOT being scared. It’s more a matter of being scared witless, but trusting and believing and loving God in the face of the worst things imaginable. That is not just courage, it’s heroism. You both are living that out….Thank you for your example!
Thank you so much for this post
Thank you both for your transparency. You are so right. These conversations can be hard, but so necessary–for any of us. Our personal legacies are important to think about—so we can live–truly live freely knowing …just knowing… You are all in my prayers. Thanks for reminding us how to approach our days too—with openness and embracing the present.
So beautiful and honest. Thank you to your whole family for sharing the journey with us. God is glorified. Continuing to lift you all up in prayer daily. ~The Johnsons
You are absolutely right. We all need to live and love like today’s the last. The best legacy we can leave is the eternal one- life is in God’s hands and He gave us a savior. Because we need one. We cannot know what each day will bring nor can we predict what lies ahead. There’s a good reason we don’t know the future- it’s so that we fully live THIS moment right now. You are all such a blessing in your transparency. You continue to bless others thru your pain. Praying.
Wow this left me totally speechless because it is so true it made me realize I need to do some really serious soul searching myself. I ask myself if I am living my life the way god would want me too. I so look forward to your entries and miss you guys. You are in my prayers everyday and asking God to reach around your whole family with a big hugh hug.
I have just finished catching up on your blog for the past 3 weeks. You have said so many truthful and wonderful things. You can put a pin on your map for Charleston, WV, Los Angeles, CA and of course Kansas City, KS. My thought on today’s blog is to remember from the gospel of John that it’s important to live life and to live it abundantly. You are certainly living the abundant life even in this time of suffering and the legacy each of you is creating is certainly an inspiration to many people.
We’re praying for you as you face these questions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Your legacy will be……peace and inspiration in the darkest of hours. Thank you
Thank you for sharing! God is changing my heart (and I’m sure many others) through your trial. Thank you for your transparency and faithfulness. I read this today and thought of you. I thought you might enjoy reading:
I pray for you and your family every day!
Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done. Go ahead and live the rest of the days of your life in order to leave that legacy, as I know you are doing. We are all human and frail. We don’t like to think of death and its details. I like to think of death as graduation day, where I leave this mortal decaying body and get a perfect body to worship a perfect God. Death is always hardest on those left behind and I am glad you are talking about these things now. You should both plan what you would like to see happen at your memorial services or funerals. Gene and I did this and my kids know exactly what we want to happen. It’s hard to plan these things when one is emotionally upset and we all have to face loss like this at times in our lives. The hands and feet of Christ will be there to bear you up and only God knows the number of our days. I’m asking for at least another 50 years for the two of you to spend together and that is only a pinpoint of time in God’s eyes. I love the honesty you have shared and the mature way you have faced the tough questions. May the God of all peace give you His peace in the midst of your circumstances and in spite of them.
You are leaving a wonderful legacy already. I see it in the faith of your children, especially Lewis. He has incredible spiritual discernment for one so young. Lewis will remember Tara even if the worst comes to pass in his young life. He is old enough now to remember many things. Valerie was 3 weeks short of her 6th birthday when her dad died. She remembers a great many things. Stacie on the other hand does not remember him, as she was only 2 1/2 years old. Stacie missed her daddy though and prayed that God would send her a new daddy for 6 1/2 years. God answered her request and sent her Gene, so she would have memories of a loving father as well. God knows what we need before we do. From the moment we are born, we begin the journey toward death. Only God knows the number of our days. Go ahead and plan funeral services for both of you. It will give you peace to have that detail done. You can always modify and change it as time goes on. If you don’t have a will, make one now. This is just practical advice. It is so hard to make decisions when your emotions are all over the board. Think of death as a graduation, from one life to the next. Plan your service as a graduation service and memorial service. It allows you to smile in the midst of your pain. I am praying for 50 more years of life for you together, providing the Lord taries. In the meantime, continue to enjoy every minute you have together and continue to build that legacy. I love you all.
Tara, your legacy is faithfulness. No matter what the future holds (and my prayer is that it will be a long and fruitful life) that’s how I will always remember you.