Blessings Within the Tragedy

This year there was no quiet coffee in the peace of the Christmas morning as everyone sleeps. This almost holy time for me didn’t exist this year, and neither did any semblance of Christmas that we love. Things can always be worse, but this year, they certainly could have been better. However, during times of tragedy, God doesn’t run or hide; he shows up. When we ask him, he strengthens us, comforts us, and give us eyes to see the blessings within any tragedy. The next paragraph lists a series of events in my family that recently happened. They are heartbreaking, unfair, and tragic. In all of my weaknesses, God was strong in me. He gave my family peace. He gave us clear decisiveness, and we were all in one accord, of one mind; we knew my dad’s wishes.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Series of Unfortunate Events

On December 11th, my mom got diagnosed with covid. I came to take care of her, I stayed in my motorhome, masked up, socially distanced, and gloved. On December 12th, my dad lost his ability to walk, sit up, and clearly speak; we thought he had a stroke. Mom was so weak; she could hardly get out of bed. I moved into the house. Dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The test results revealed that dad didn’t have a stroke but a severe reaction to covid. He lost all ability he had, even to eat. He was completely disoriented, and my dad was the fighter he was, he became combative, fighting to get out. It was complicated by the fact that he was a covid patient. No one he knew could see him or talk to him and he kept fighting to get out. It all became worse the longer he laid in the hospital.

The Other Two

I tested negative for covid on December 16, but Mom’s condition worsened. She entered the hospital on December 18th with low oxygen levels; fighting to breathe. I was thankful they gave her Remdesivir and Convalescent plasma with a series of vitamins and oxygen. She fought hard to be out by Christmas, as we all prayed that dad would survive long enough for mom to be in the comfort of home before he passed. I tested again and was positive for covid on December 23rd. Mom came home on December 24th, and dad went to heaven on the 26th. I haven’t seen my husband and son and his wife since December 11, and I won’t get to be with them for another two weeks. Debby and Josh will be here by then. I miss my hubby, my poodle Presley, my house, and my ability to shower without struggling for breath. I am, however, very thankful that I can be here for my mom.

Stuff Happens

Terrible things happen in life, but it doesn’t mean that God is angry or making bad things happen. Sometimes, hard things happen all at once, or in an overwhelming way, beyond what we can handle. We may never have the answers to “why” this side of heaven, but we can have the gift of God becoming an ever-present help in our times of trouble. I’m thankful for the assurance of peace and strength that comes when we keep lifting the situation to him. God is there with his steady, faithful peace leading and guiding us through, giving us little blessings along the way. One of the blessings I had was that I was strong, and I didn’t fear. This was because he was my refuge and strength.

God is our refuge and strength,  a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

Psalm 46:1-2

When the Answer is No

God doesn’t always answer, yes. When I knew that my dad would pass away, all I wanted to do was hold his hand as he passed so that he wouldn’t be alone. I fought hard for it. I went through the channels of people and finally got approval. Then on December 23rd, I was tested and diagnosed with covid and every door closed. My dad was a covid patient in a covid ward, cared for by covid clad staff, but no matter who I spoke with, how high I went up the chain, I wasn’t allowed to hold his hand as he died, because I had covid. I was angry and heartbroken but gave it to God. The more I began to feel the fatigue of the disease taxing my body, the more I became more at peace. I didn’t know how sick I was, and when I realized this, I also realized that God could be where I can’t. He can comfort dad, even if I couldn’t. In the end, God did what I couldn’t do if I was right there, gave him perfect peace.

Passing

Yesterday, my dad died surrounded on Zoom by his wife Pat, son Randy, my hubby, his son-in-law Chris, his daughter-in-law (Randy’s wife) Anne, and his beloved grandkids; he left this world. We laughed, reminisced, thanked him, and played the hymn that spoke to him when he signed up for Korea. Dad had been scrappy and fighting, but a sweet peace came over him even before the heavy dose of meds that I requested. This peace was all I wanted for him. It also assured me that he was going to be undoubtedly in the arms of Jesus that day.

 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

God’s Care

We are thankful for the sustaining prayers and the other ways that God used people to let us know he was there. We didn’t have breakfast that morning of dad’s passing and weren’t thinking about lunch, but mom’s neighbors brought bags of Chick-fil-a at the perfect time. The delicious smell wafting around us reminded us of the need to eat to keep up our strength. It was a sign that even though we weren’t thinking of our needs, God was, he had been. My son has been going to visit my hubby each day and care for Debby’s cat we were babysitting. My daughter and son in law sent many naturopathic cures and green juices I’ve been craving like crazy. My hubby had my son previously dropped off protein bars, chicken soup, teas, and tv dinners. He specifically bought us really nice turkey dinner that became our Christmas dinner. My sister-in-law Lani brought us robes, sweets, ham, and poppers. Mom and I ate our Christmas dinner, popped our poppers, and wore our paper crowns. It became a celebration in the midst of tragedy. We felt blessed on Christmas Day, the eve of my dad’s passing.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

1 Peter 5:7

Final Arrangements

Yes, the last few weeks have been hard, and as we move into making final arrangements for dad while going through our individual covid recoveries. No matter what has happened, how tragic it felt, feeling that I wasn’t ready, I have a sense of peace that nothing in this world can touch. There is also a sense of satisfaction that covid can take a life but cannot take love, it can’t touch God’s peace, and it can’t tarnish hope. When you are at the end of your rope, family, and friends step into the gap and sustain you. No matter what I experience, there’s a steady peace that surpasses any understanding that keeps our family and me as we close this chapter and open the next one without my dad.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 10-11
Let's Connect

11 thoughts on “Blessings Within the Tragedy

  1. Sandy, I have thought about daily since this tragedy began. I have a deep love for your dad, I think you all know that. I grew in your house and have enjoyed watching our parents become the best of friends. Though I am most grateful Skip is at peace, my heart is heavy for all of us here that will miss him so deeply. I have picked up the phone several times to call, though seem to be out of words. Lifting you all up in prayer, asking God to wrap you up hold you close and keep you safe as your journey continues. Love and prayers for you and your family. kim

    1. Prayer is the absolute best thing right now and oh how we appreciate it, we know how powerful it is. Both of us are weak, and talking can be taxing, though mom’s about a week ahead of me in recovery. Thank you so much!

  2. Sandy my heart breaks for you and the family as a tremendous heartbreak has come. Comfort comes from our Father but at times we still have questions. As you said those questions of why will one day be answered.
    For decades our family has forever been tied together as one and I thank God for the many memories that we share.
    Please give your Mama a hug.

  3. One of my favorite memories was watching Skip shoot some type of darts into the kitchen ceiling. As a wife I would have lost it. Meanwhile Pat just stood by with a big smile on her face. It’s been so many years since I’ve seen Pat and Skip but I will forever cherish the times we spent together both in San Antonio and Chattanooga when they stopped by on there annual trip to visit family (I believe in Pennsylvania). Nevertheless… I have some great memories of both of them. May God be with Pat and help her get back into good health. Love and prayers to all. Love Jan Hillis Reimann

    1. Jan, my family has always had the best time with yours. I remember the “dead soldiers” too. Mama was the perfect wife for one like my crazy dad. She is recovering slowly but surely. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.

  4. My heart breaks as I read your heartfelt words…may God give you strength, comfort and peace.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

    1. Amen and thank you so much. God has given me a surprising amount of strength and decisiveness. It’s been a blessing and I have felt the prayers. God is good even when life is hard.

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