January 15 is a day of remembrance for our family. It's a bittersweet day. This year, on January 15, it marked the 10th anniversary of Joel's Dad's death. It is also the day that Gavin had his first heart surgery, three years ago.
I can't believe that it has been 10 years since Joel's Dad passed away. It seems like yesterday, but then again, so much has happened since that sad day. Jacob is the only one of our boys who had the pleasure of knowing him in this life. Yet, our other boys talk about him as if they knew him and they bring him up in conversation as if they knew him. I suppose this is because his memory has been kept alive through many of the great stories that are told about him and his presense still seems to be around us, even though he is not physically here with us.
Joel's Mom submitted this for the press this past Friday:
VANDER WALL, DAN (11/18/44 - 1/15/00)
In loving memory of our husband, father and grandfather who passed away ten years ago today.
Loved and missed by all,
I think that it's important to keep his memory alive. He was a great man and many were definitely blessed to know him!
Like I said, Friday also marked the 3rd anniversary of Gavin's 1st heart surgery. When they scheduled Gavin for this surgery 3 years ago, I think a few of us were uncertain of having his surgery done on this day.
We were told that Gavin's condition was not good at all and that the surgery was risky, but had to be done. The doctors couldn't gaurantee that Gavin would survive the surgery and they even told us that they were expecting the worst. Was this a day that we really wanted to have to remember 2 losses for our family?!
Because I'm not a superstitious person, I was all for having his surgery done this day, but Dan's death was definitely on the forefront of my mind that day.
Gavin went in a very sick little baby and thankfully, he came out doing much better than the doctors thought that he would! I thought of God's grace and Joel's Dad a lot that day!
So, to this day, January 15 is a very bittersweet day for our family.
I'm thankful for having known this great man that had to die way too soon, but I'm also thankful that God allowed us to keep Gavin around for a while!
Gavin ended up staying in the hospital for 4 1/2 months and having a severe stroke during this time, which left him unable to do a whole lot for the rest of his life, but I'm thankful that he is still with us here and not in the hospital.
Instead, he is able to be at home, hangin' with his Daddy!
What a blessing!!!
On Friday, of last week, I was home alone with just Gavin for the whole night! Jacob and Caleb were with their Grandparents, and Joel and Nolan were at a Cadet campout. I thought that it would be wonderful having an evening and night of almost total peace, but instead I was quite miserable! I felt lonely and very bored! It was way too quiet and I missed my crazy, loud boys!
I was also worrying about them. "Were they having fun? Were they getting enough to eat? Were they warm enough? Were they safe?"...........
I have also been worried about Gavin riding the bus. I dress him very warm to go out in the cold temps, but "is he warm enough and is he too warm on the bus? Do the aides unwrap him some so that he's not burning up on the bus? Does he wonder where I am? Is he scared? Is he comfortable?".............
Mommas have lots to think about and worry about! Our children are physically and mentally part of ourselves and we ache when we think of our children suffering, or at least I do!
Deep down I knew and know that my children are fine when they are away from me, but still, I wonder. This got me thinking about all the Mommas in the world. Here I am, worrying about my boys and I know that they are being cared for and that they have more than they will ever need. But, can you imagine the ache that lots of Mommas out in the world are having, thinking about their children, who are ACTUALLY starving, cold, scared and not cared for?!
I've been thinking especially about the earthquake in Haiti. Many Moms and Dads and Children are seriously missing someone today and they are having to go through major suffering! This breaks my heart!
I am so thankful to have all that I have and yet I still feel sorry for myself sometimes! Sometimes I think to myself that bad things happen in this life so that the people of this world stop thinking so selfishly and so that we come together for the good of others. Plus, then we are made more aware of just how great we have it!
I wish that I could hug many Mommas out there who are suffering right now! And, I wish that I could give all that is needed to the people of Haiti who are truly without right now! But, since I can't, the least that I can do is pray for them and give what I can.
I put a Red Cross button on the top sidebar of this blog. If you are feeling sad, like I am, please give a little bit to help these people! Most of all, keep them and many like them in your prayers! And, hug your children tighter and be very thankful for ALL that you have!
These boys drive me crazy most of the time, but I sure am hugging them tighter lately! And, I am so thankful for them!
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5