Thursday, March 19, 2015

Embracing the Pain // Four Years

Hello everyone, 

Today it's been four years. 

Four years since the first man I ever loved passed into the arms of Jesus.

I normally don't write heavy blog posts, and by no means do I want attention or pity; I just wanted to talk about this day, and my blog seemed like a good place to do that. 

As a child, I grew up in a Christian home. I attended church and AWANA weekly, read my Bible and said my prayers, and truly did believe God created this earth and Christ died for us. But I had it easy! My parents were amazing and so loving, my brothers and I got along well and did all sorts of fun things together, I had good friends, a beautiful place to live, food and water, clothing. My life was great! I think I really took it for granted.

On February 4th, 2010, my dad was diagnosed with AML (Acute myeloid leukemia) Cancer had invaded my father's body and I was terrified. Months of treatment, hospital visits, tears, cafeteria food, and waiting began. Every day was filled with new hope, and new terror. But as the months dragged on, that hope began to dwindle, and on March 19th, 2011, my dad took his last breath. 

I often try to reflect on what it was like before this awful surprise hit my family. 

I remember how, whenever I went bowling, my dad would try to teach me all these techniques on how to bowl better. Our favorite one was to puff air out of our mouths in hope it would push the ball along and get me a strike. I don't know if it ever worked, but I sure used to get a lot more strikes with dad around. 

I remember looking out my window and seeing my dad walking around in his red and black plaid shirt and cowboy hat. He was always chopping wood or working on something else around the house. It is so weird how the things you miss most are the little things.

I remember his giant bear hugs, the way his whiskers felt on my cheek when he kissed me goodnight, all the conversations we had on our father-daughter dates. I remember the love that sparkled in his eyes when he was around us, the way he looked at my mom with such deep affection, his quiet guitar strumming as we tried to fall asleep. 

To be honest, though, I don't like trying to remember all the good things, because before I can focus on all the wonderful memories, my mind goes to death. 

Pain, tears, death. That's what I remember most.

I remember countless visits to the hospital and it becoming my second home. I remember seeing my dad always sleeping because he was in such serious pain. I remember crying almost every day because everything that was happening was so unfair. I remember the evening before my dad died, not wanting to let go. I remember people's look of pity at the funeral while I held to my eldest brother’s shirt, bawling into his chest. 

Remembering these things brings me pain, so I try not to remember them. I attempt to block out the most life-changing event that ever happened to me, and sometimes, I succeed.

I succeed at blowing out all of the bad memories, but along with the bad memories go the good memories, so I'm left with either embracing the pain or forgetting everything all together.

My dad doesn't deserve that! 

He deserves to be remembered for how loving he was. For what an amazing father he was to us kids. He deserves to be remembered for how sacrificial he was--working day in and day out just for my family! Even when he was sick, he would try to get things done around the house. He deserves to be remembered as an inspiration. No one has inspired me more than my father. He loved and served Christ through his entire walk with cancer and modeled so much faith to us kids. 

My dad doesn't deserve to be forgotten just because I don't want to remember the pain.

The thing is, pain is a part of life. It doesn't matter who you are, you're going to go through something that is tough, no matter what. We live in a fallen, broken world where pain and suffering have infested themselves everywhere. Even so, I know God is in the midst of it, ready to come alongside of us and carry us through all of life's hardships. 

So in the end, I want to embrace the pain. I know that someday I will be reunited with my dad, and that brings me hope! I don't need to be afraid to face the pain of the past, for Christ is there to comfort me through whatever comes my way.

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    Whose confidence is in him.
 They will be like a tree planted by the water
    That sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    Its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    And never fails to bear fruit."

-Jeremiah 17:7-8

With much love,



  1. That was a beautiful post, Elizabeth! My mom showed me it this morning. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
    I didn't know you have a blog; I've seen that you're following my friend, Elisabeth's, blog (Reflections of the Heart), though. I will definitely be following your blog!
    I will be praying for you today.
    ~Christine (that odd girl from church and sometimes youth group)I

    1. Thank you Christine for your sweet comment :)
      Following you back for sure!

  2. Hi Elizabeth, it must have been so tough watching your Dad linger in so much pain. My Dad was taken home to be with Jeses last year but it was very sudden, he had a massive stroke one day and passed away the next. He could not speak so he wasn't able to say goodbye which I found hard but apart from those two days he did not suffer which I am so thankful for. In many ways it still hasn't really sunk in. Knowing he is with Jesus helps so much. Like you, I have precious memories. It all makes family time so much more important. What a blessing to find comfort in Christ. Ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord. Hugs, Sharon xx

    1. I can't imagine not being able to say goodbye, I am so sorry for your loss <3 We will get to see our Fathers again though, what a great reunion that will be :)

  3. This is such a beautiful post, Elizabeth! I'm so sorry that you lost your dad so young, but you are so strong to write about him. I'm sure he is proud to know that you choose to remember him by the good times and his smile rather than how he passed away. You are wiser at 16 than many are at 30. I lost my dad two years ago to cancer, too - this post brought a tear to my eye for sure.

    You are so brave!
    Allie |

    1. Aw I am so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you too <3 Thank you for the sweet words, brought a smile to my face on a hard day :)

  4. Oh Elizabeth... I don't know the pain, but I know the feeling of almost losing someone close. Oh, I've had it many a time. When my youngest sister was born at 3 pounds...and getting the information that if my mom hadn't had a C section on that day she would have died. My mom stayed at the hospital for a month. 31 long days. Then, not a week ago, one of my sisters had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital in the ambulance..she would have died if we hadn't gone when we did. Losing your Dad might be the hardest thing you will ever go through, but don't worry, you'll see him in heaven! Then you will forget those tears and sorrows..the years that you missed him...the things you wanted to tell him..wanted to do with him..the one last hug you wanted to give will all be worth it when you see him once again in heaven.
    Here is some music that has been very hopeful for me when I am down ♥ And are in my prayers.

    1. Oh my watched those must have been so scary, I am so glad everything turned out okay.
      Thank you for the kind words, prayers, and beautiful music :)

  5. I could say I'm so sorry for you, and all that, but I'm sure you've heard it a million times, and it probably doesn't help.
    So instead I'll say this:
    Reading this post, I see the bravery in humanity; how we get back up again and attempt at leading normal lives, even after tragedy. I see the idiocy in judgement, when people don't realize the situation of others. I see such an amazing faith in God.
    Elizabeth, I know it must have been so hard to post this, but the encouragement and witness you'll be able to share with others, is going to be remarkable. <3

    1. Aw thank you, your comment made me tear up a bit :')

  6. Oh, Oh Elizabeth <3 <3
    "My dad doesn't deserve to be forgotten just because I don't want to remember the pain."
    You have learned so much, and there is so much wisdom in this entire post. God has taught you so much through this I'm sure, and you are so wise!
    My best friend also lost her mom when she was 10, I have so much admiration for you two! <3

    1. Yes, my faith has truly been grown through this. Thank you :)
      I am so sorry for you friend's loss, I can't imagine life without my mom.

  7. Elizabeth, let me tell you something. I am not a girl who cries easily. But this post had me on the verge of tears. I'm so sorry about your father. He sounds like such an amazing person, very inspirational. This whole post was just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Grace Anne

  8. Elizabeth,
    I found your blog today through looking through my bloglovin' followers. And I just wanted to tell you that this post was amazing. I am so sorry for your Father's passing, and I know it sounds cliche, (and you've heard it ALL before!) but God does have a plan, and through this his perfect plan will come to pass. Your words made me cry, and your attitude and outlook encourage and amaze me! Hugs and blessings!!!
    Becca Wall

    1. Oh no those words bring so much comfort! I love knowing God has a plan <3
      Thank you so much :)

  9. Elizabeth. Oh man. Like, you're holding on. You're embracing the pain so that one day you may mend. And that is so brave. So, so brave. I don't have anything good to say, but... just... yeah. <3

  10. Elizabeth,
    I just found this post, and I want to tell you that I understand. And not just in the 'I can't imagine if my dad died' way. That is nice and all that, and I know the people are just trying to help. Sometimes it is helpful... but I understand in a deeper way.... I... lost my darling baby brother almost a year ago now...

    We found out about two months before his birth that he was not even going to take a first breath. For five years before his birth, I had been praying that God would give mum a baby that I could help take care of. God granted this request, but not for as long as I had wanted... Mark-Jerzy Marcelino Eckstine lived for exactly 40 hours. He breathed, he cried, he slept. He was held and loved and cherished for every single second of his short life. It was the worst experience of my life... but I wouldn't have given up holding my brother 7 times during his life, and twice after he died for anything in this life or the next.

    He had so many things wrong with him that it was impossible for him to live more than a few seconds.... but he did. God showered so many blessings on us... so so many.
    Oh how unbearable it was for the first few months. I cried so many tears, it's a wonder I still have more.

    Then I realized that people need to hear his story. I need to hear his story. Because it isn't enough to love them while they lived. You have to love them when it hurts. You have to weather through the bitter storm. You have to love them when you can't see them. When their skin has gone cold, and their eyes lifeless. When they are buried in the ground, and you think that you might as well die too.

    That's why people need to hear about them. If you don't share, all the hurt and loss and pain just grow and grow... till you explode. Pain is a ruthless master. He is cruel and mean, and you can't let him take hold of your life. You have to love the one you lost enough to let go. Let the tears flow. Only then will you be free. And they will be so much closer than before.

    I hadn't meant this to be so long, sorry about that. I want to leave you with a song. It is the song from my brother's funeral. When you listen to it, all you who read this, think of the one you lost singing at the foot of Jesus' throne. And say a little prayer for all of us who have lost our loved ones too.



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