UPDATE AS OF 3/18/09:
Rich passed away peacefully in his sleep early this morning. We are mourning him deeply, but take comfort knowing that today he is with his own Father, rejoicing, whole, and home at last. We will keep you updated with visitation and service times as they are determined.
Please keep all of us, and especially Mary, in your prayers today. Thank you.
Richard Dean Elling
August 23, 1943-March 18, 2009
Alive in Christ
I copy and pasted (after many attempts) a blog a close friend wrote...can you please post it on "a wing and a prayer"? I don't know if you can post the whole thing...let me know if you need any additional info. My friend, Susan, is a very gifted writer!!!
THURSDAY, MARCH 05, 2009 08:53 PM, CST
Dear friends and family of Rich and Mary,
I’m not even sure how to begin this entry. The words fail me, partly due to their magnitude, and partly because the instant they are written is the moment that reality is sure to settle in….
Dear friends, Rich’s cancer is back. He found a lump under his arm two weeks ago, had a biopsy done this past Monday, and the results were confirmed today that it is indeed cancerous. At this point we know frighteningly little more than that. His doctor here in Zeeland is pretty sure it is related to his past diagnosis of mesothelioma, but that is not guaranteed. The cancer is in the lymph nodes, which we were told could actually be a good thing, as they are still mobile and could help with the ease of removal. Unfortunately, Rich’s doctor in Boston is out of town until early next week, and it is he who will decide what the definitive diagnosis is, and also what the next steps are for treatment. And so for now, for today, we wait.
I just returned home from spending the afternoon and evening with my Mom and Dad. They are doing okay; I think both still somewhat reeling from the initial shock of hearing the word “cancer” again in reference to my father. A sense of déjà vu settled in almost immediately, as it seems it was just yesterday that we were all in this same situation, facing the unknown of my Dad’s new reality, seeking comfort and guidance for what was surely going to be a long road ahead. So much of today reminded me of all we had gone through back in December of 2007. The gathering of family, the times of tears interspersed with times of laughter, the feeling of trying to simply soak my father in as if I may never get the chance again, the phone calls from concerned family and friends, the visit from our wonderful pastor and his wife, the wondering, the sadness, the longing for healing…..
But, just like last year, we were also reminded of the undeniable truth that God is with us. That He loves us, that He loves my father, that we can rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens He will always be in control. That He still has a plan for my father’s life, and it is perfect. That we just need to trust in Him and follow His leading knowing that He would never, could never, lead us astray. We know it’s going to be a tough road. We know that this journey will most certainly be painful. We know there are tears that will fall, hearts that will ache, knees that will be worn from days and nights of kneeling in prayer, times of doubt, and fear, and sorrow. But, being the faithful and loving God He is, He also assured us tonight that we will be blessed, that He will be glorified, and that this journey will not be in vain.
Dear Lord, we thank You for opportunities, no matter how painful, when we are given a chance to see Your face and be enveloped by Your goodness. For times when we know without a doubt that the God we serve is real, that You are here, and that You love us. Thank You, Lord, for being trustworthy, dependable and unchanging in a world that is constantly shifting around us. You are our Rock, and we know if we hold fast to You we will not falter.
Lord, hold onto us tonight and in the days ahead, when it will surely seem as if the ground has been taken out from under us. Let us continue to see You here, controlling every movement, every decision, every moment. Remind us, Lord, when it becomes so easy to forget, that we need not worry. That you still know the outcome of this story, and it is written perfectly, with the ending being one that will show Your love for us in the center of it all. And oh, the love, Lord… thank You for the love…..
So, dear friends, here we are again. I pray that you will be willing once again to accompany us into the unknown, as I’m not sure if we can go this road without you. Please pray for peace for my father, for freedom from fear, for physical and mental strength as he looks down a path that must seem much too familiar. Pray that his ever-present pain subsides, so that he can focus on this new battle that has been laid out before him. Please pray also for my mother, for peace and strength for her as well. And for all of us, please pray that Satan’s footholds are few and easily recognized, and that we can see past his efforts at filling us with uncertainty in these trying times to come.
I will keep you posted with any and all news as we receive it. Already my heart overflows, just knowing with complete certainty that my father will be lifted up by all of you, his own personal army of prayer warriors, ready and willing to place him once again at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no better place for him to be tonight. Thank you.
Resting firmly in His grasp,
Labels: Cancer, husband, prayers, Rich