Good Grief

Good Grief

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things I haven't thought of...

Thank goodness we got through another "first," Father's Day. Sorry to all the dad's out there, but I am so glad it has come and gone. Sick of seeing "Best Dad's" cards, commercials, even Sprout was dedicated to dad's this weekend. I'm like what about all the kids that are fatherless??? Give me a break. Needless to say I feel guilty saying that when I still get to celebrate having my own daddy with me. He will soon be 70 and I can't believe it. He is one special man and I couldn't even say enough about him here to do him justice. So, Virg, I am sorry if I wished Father's day away. But you of all people, I know, completely understand where I am coming from. The kids loved their scrapbooks, even though, Jake and Sam had a sneak preview Thurs afternoon. They kinda have a bad habit of opening other people's mail. Don't think they will do that again. I did get to surprise them Sunday morning though. I gave them each a necklace (I got one too) that is an impression of Shane's thumbprint. I told them if they just needed to feel Daddy, they can just reach up and rub it. So special. They loved it and so do I. Give anything to get a hug from him right now. I made Shane's dad a scrapbook also, he loved it too. He was extremely proud of it.

Shane had befriended a man about the time he was diagnosed. Now, he knew him, they went to the same college, actually we were neighbors for a while, our kids now go to the same school, they were acquaintances, but wouldn't say friends. This relationship started at the right time. They spent time texting encouragement back and forth, he even came and spent some time with Shane. Often could be found outside our home praying for us. Constantly was sending Shane notes of encouragement in his infamous handwriting. He has many talents and one of those talents is knowing how to play the bagpipes. He had hinted around that he had thought about playing them at the end of the graveside service, I was upset that he did not. Then he hinted that he might open up the Play for Shane Golf Tournament with the pipes, again, I was very upset he didn't. He had told Shane he would play for him one day, well, that one day was cut a little short. So he and my sister orchestrated a Father's Day gift to Shane, me and the kids. He met us at the cemetery at about sunset and blasted Amazing Grace for us. He was kilted in this awful heat and honored my husband for the father he was, the friend he was and the husband he was. It was one of the most meaningful moments. He was glad to do it for us, which made it even more special. He and his wife continue to encourage me even though they have sooooo much on their plates. They're lives do go on, but for some reason, I know that Shane and I are constantly on their minds. They even sent messages to me while they were vacationing with their sweet family. Forever grateful for friends such as these. Thanks guys.

Now to the things I haven't thought of. We usually go to the cemetery 2-3 times a week. We know Shane is not there, however, we feel close to him there. It is breathtakingly beautiful up there, there is constantly a breeze and those crosses are a constant reminder of Who this is all for. Today, we went by and as soon as we were getting out of the car Jake said, "Well, my kids will never know my daddy." Stopped me dead in my tracks, never really though of that. Never thought that my grandchildren will never have the wonderful privilege of knowing Shane. Never thought that Molly will not get to come off of a recital stage into her daddy's arms. Never thought of whenever one of my boys hit their first out of the park home runs, daddy won't be there to high-five them. There are so many things I haven't thought of concerning Shane not being here. Can't believe it, because I go over things constantly in my mind of what will never be, what can't happen now, all the things we looked forward to together is not possible now. I know Shane did think of all of these things that he would miss, but know that Heaven is all this and more. The one thing that made him sad was the fact that he was leaving us. I am sure to anyone dying that is at the forefront of their thoughts. I would assure Shane that we would be ok, but that I'd prefer that he be here for all of these things. Even though I know that God will continue to sustain us through each of these things and the everyday things, Shane will be forever missed. The thing I have thought of that is positive...Shane's legacy to my children. What a legacy he leaves. Shane would say, "its always good to get out while your at the top of your game." I would have to say that if any man was on top of his game, it would be Shane Richardson.

So as I continue to think of things that I have yet to think of I know my God has a plan, and I just continue to trust, even though its extremely hard. As I say that, I know God must think my children and I are very special to Him for allowing us to experience this loss and pain. Thankful for Him for allowing us to have Shane for the time we had. Thankful that He allowed Shane to be at the "top of his game." Shouldn't we all be at the "top of our game" for Him, hmmmm never thought of that??!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Going Guatamaulan!!!!

For some of you that know my family, you know that my eldest sister, Robin, and her 13 year old daughter Shannon, have been prayerfully preparing for a mission trip to Guatamaula. During Shane's sickness he knew all about this trip and I remember very clearly from the beginning when our family was questioning the money situation he said, "Nothing you do for God is easy, and if its God's plan for Robin and Shannon to go, He WILL make a way." My friends, He has made a way. So today this blog is so not about me, but a petition for all of you to cover Robin, Shannon and the rest of the group in prayer. Pray for their safety, their guidance, and pray that they come back from this trip changed. I have attached Robin's email she sent to me this a.m. She is reminding me that Shane is still working here on earth, even though he is not physically "here." I love you Robin and Shannon. Shannon, I am so very proud of you for deciding to follow what God asked you to do, not many 13 year olds have this kind of heart, a heart for missions. I know God has some serious plans in store for you. I hope when you are faced with the enemy that Shane's words will resound in your heart and soul to always remind you that there is nothing that can stop you. I know Shane knew what was in your heart and that is why he said those profound words to you. Robin, love you and so proud of you for following through with Shannon's wishes. I know this has not been easy at all, but gosh what a blessing, to see your child doing what she was intended to do. I know you both will be forever changed. Yep, Shane is smiling from ear to ear. WOuldn't be surprised if you didn't see a rainbow in the midst of this country. Watch for one.

I have asked Robin to journal while she is there, and hope she will, so that she can share her experiences. She has gotten off to a great start...

Here's a note I published on Facebook! I love you all, cherish our friendship, and covet your prayers!

So, here it is the day before Shannon and I depart for Guatemala. This past week I've found myself with a racing mind...a mom trying to get all the preparation and packing done, trying to get the house in order, trying to get all the family's needs met. Today, however, I awoke before the rest of the household with ONE thing on my mind...Shane!

For those that know me (and even for those that don't know me well, but have had access to my FB postings), you know that Shane is my beloved 38 year old Bro-in-law that left this earth for Heaven on April 3rd. While in the midst of the treatment and sickness, time seemed to drag. What seemed like a long battle at the time turned out to be just shy of 6 short months. During that time, I text messaged Shane frequently and visited with him often. I had the blessed opportunity of sharing in many a private conversation with Shane while he was bedridden. They are some of the most wonderful memories I possess. We talked about God, our faith, our doubt, our love for the Bible and it's power, our children, and his wife/my sister DeAnn. (More on her in future writings...Shane had felt the call to ministry just months before his diagnosis. He shared with me that he was coming to the realization that the ministry calling was actually going to be for DeAnn and that his sickness, cancer, and ultimate passing would be the launching of that ministry. I will write more on that later, but know I'm smiling as things are falling into place!)

Shane and I talked about this missions trip to Guatemala. We had his full support and blessing. Shane was a missionary himself...not through a church or an organization, not on foreign soil. But Shane lived his life and testimony openly bent toward evangelism and sharing the Gospel with everyone that came in contact with him. He was unashamedly bold in his witness. He was also a missionary in the sense that he had a keen eye and heart to recognize ways to practically minister to another's it to clothe, feed, or help. He had missions on his mind and had said "yes" to wherever God would send him. Instead, God chose to have him come home. I mistakenly said earlier that Shane WAS a missionary. Let me correct that by saying that today his testimony and faith legacy are still bearing "fruit". So Shane IS a missionary still.

Shane loved it when I shared with him how this whole trip came to be. Shannon (my 13 year old daughter...12 at the time) came home one day and said simply, "Mom...God is calling me to Guatemala. I'm underage, so you will be going too. Here are our applications, I've already got most of them filled out". Very matter-of-fact...not disrespectful or disobedient to my authority as her parent but very certain and obedient to her heavenly Father's calling to "go". Shane spoke blessing over Shannon on one of his last days. He said several things but one thing as it regards her faith and willingness to serve God stands out in my mind: "Shannon, nothing will hold you back but you!". Those words have come back to my mind in times of my greatest doubts and fears about this trip....about anything I'm dealing with in life, really. "I can do everything through Him that gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13). "

My calling to be a sold-out missionary came a little later, as I was among the 5 present in Shane's "Final 10" (minutes of life here that is). We all caught a glimpse of the awe-jaw-dropping glory of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We saw the undeniable power of the Holy word as Shane BEGGED for scripture to be read as he knew it was time to "go" and wanted to hear it as he departed (John that and imagine what we experienced though you really can't. You will still receive a blessing though I assure you). We saw the truth of the resurrection victory as we "watched" and witnessed Shane's transition from this temporary earthly life to life eternal! You cannot experience that and NOT tell about it! So there was my call..."Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Phil. 4:9)

So here's my dilemma. One I lay out before you, my friends, for your prayers and maybe even a word that might speak to my heart as it is troubled. The trip is here. We leave tomorrow. In all these months of preparation and planning, Shane was a huge part of that. Subtly from a sickbed, but a part nonetheless. Once we go and then return, it seems like one more "goodbye" to Shane. As long as we are planning, it still feels like we are a part of something that Shane's hand was in. While I'm excited to go and experience this with a fabulous group of my Strong Tower family, to meet and serve the people along the way, to experience God and what He has in store for us, and to be blessed with this special time with my daughter...I find myself a little sad. I find myself wanting to hang on to this connection I feel with Shane through this. Lord have mercy. Does that make sense to anyone?

Thanks to all of you...for your prayers, your words of encouragement, your financial support, and for your friendship. I even want to say thanks to that one nay-sayer that wrote us an anonymous letter that was a little rude and a lot negative as it pertained to our going. It drove us to our knees and humbled us. But it was a good lesson in perseverance and endurance when you know you are doing what God has asked of you. God has been all-powerful, all-providing, all-present. To Him be ALL the glory.

Thanks for your continued prayers...for God to receive fame (Habakkuk 3:2) through us & in spite of us, for the trip/safety, for the people of Guatemala, and for Jamie and Asher as we will miss them like crazy. Thanks for continuing to pray for Shane's sister and the kids.
I miss you, Shane. I know I go with your blessing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My blog tonight may come out really jumbled. I have so much to say I feel like its going to be verbal vomit. So here goes. I have been struggling probably since my beach trip with my feelings for God. I admit, I'm still not real happy with His decision. I wasn't at all happy with the fact that He allowed Shane to get cancer, was not happy with Him while Shane was suffering and was not AT ALL happy when He decided to take Shane home. I have struggled with my conversations with Him, just like I use to when I was upset with Shane about something. I can't put into words what I feel, nor do I expect most of you to understand at all what I am talking about. I know the question of why will always be there, and that's fine, for I know that I don't think I would ever be able to put my earthly mind completely around what God's reasons were for this story. My dear sister finds the best things for me and sends them just when I need them the most. Just yesterday I received an email from her and the subject line was, "You must read this." So I did, and I thank her for sharing it, I needed a good swift kick in the buttocks. If you would like to read what kicked my but then read this.. (sorry not so blogger literate yet to add a link.) For those of you that are too lazy to read this, I will give you the short version. The internet monk obviously was diagnosed with cancer in November and died in March (sounds familiar) and his wife has started posting in his place, she also has her own blog. Her latest post about it being sometimes plain hard, was about her husband suffering from the cancer. Not only that, but she said she is sick of hearing such wonderful stories of how people have passed. I know I will not be sharing Shane's last 10 with her anytime soon, because it is truly a glory story. She stated how she was struggling with God, first, about her husband getting cancer, but that he didn't even die a glorious death. She warns you at the first of the blog that it is pretty graphic and shares some of the details of his death. Nothing huge, but just basic death experiences. After reading this I realized that even though I am hugely disappointed in God's decisions that I am also extremely thankful for my experience with Shane's death. I do have a wonderful experience even in the midst of the ugliness of death. While it wasn't ALL wonderful, the good so much outweighs the bad of it all. I only have God to thank for that. I don't know why He chooses some to have a wonderful dying story and others to not have such a good experience. I so can't believe that I am even saying there is a "good" story about dying. Fortunately, I think God considered me in this matter, and knew that I needed this. One person commented on this ladies blog that some people fabricate death stories, like they fabricate birthing stories, to make them better than they really are. Well, thank God I have 4 other witnesses that were with me and Shane so that I know I haven't just dreamed it up. Again, I'm not sure why He allowed me to witness such a wonderful transistion from this life to the everlasting, but He did and I am thankful for that. I have struggled with the fact that maybe my prayers were just not strong enouch to help Shane, but I do remember the prayer I prayed out loud with Shane on April 2nd. We were upstairs by ourselves, and felt the need to pray with him. I prayed for that miracle that I kept expecting, then I told God that if that were not His Will then to please make Shane's transistion from this life to the everlasting, peaceful, beautiful and and painless for Shane and for me. I asked that He be glorified no matter what, for I knew that that was Shane's ultimate last wishes. So now that I think back on that prayer, maybe my prayers did have a little weight to them. Maybe what I prayed for was in God's plan anyway, who knows, and at this point don't think it matters. Again, I know it was one of Shane's last gifts to me, and one of God's ultimate gifts to me. Total assurance. I'm not sure why this lady didn't get to experience something beautiful but I do know my heart aches for her. I do know that that early morning wasn't all beautiful, and wished some images could be erased. However, I know God allows that to remind us that death was not His plan for us. I know that there is hope for those that believe in Him. That, my friends, is what gets me through each day.

While at the beach, while I was struggling with my feelings with God, my mom and I were sitting on the beach watching the kids play with Uncle Murph and Trace in the ocean. It was beautiful. I love the ocean for the sheer fact that it reminds me of how Great and how Big my God really is. My mom said, "Don't you know Shane is watching and smiling right now." I nodded in agreement and at the same time some guys were walking in front of us and one pointed up. Out of curiousity I looked up and this is what I saw... I know it looks like something the camera did, but nope, this is what we saw and continued to see for over an hour. The day was clear, no rain clouds around, but a beautiful rainbow circling the sun. My mom could only say one word, "Shane!" I pointed it out to the kids and they all were astounded as I was. Jake looked up, looked back at me and mouthed the word, "Daddy." It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I truly believe that it was from God. It happened again on Wednesday. Me and Molly were up at the pool and I looked up and there it was again. I told Molly to look, she borrowed my sunglasses and looked up and she said, "there's my daddy." It was almost like an eye looking down on us. Again, it was like a big comforting reassurance from my Father. I thought about it lots while there. Then one day I was checking my emails on my phone at the beach and I received a "God Winks" on facebook. Guess what it said? It said, "don't be surprised if you have recently lost someone very dear to you that God doesn't send a rainbow, its His reminder that everything is going to be fine." WOW! So much for even thinking anything different but it being from God. After we came home I looked up this type of rainbow on the computer and its called a "solar Halo." Anything less? Even though He knows I'm not realy happy with Him and the things that He has allowed or orchestrated, He continues to love me and continues to constantly wink at me, and continually sends me reassurances. He loves me even when I'm not so lovable. Thank you God for the simple reminders that you send me, especially the rainbows. Thanks for the beauty behind it. Through each storm there is always a "rainbow" at the end. While I am still right in the middle of this raging storm, I so know He is reminding me constantly to just hang on. I am Lord, I am.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Since I haven't blogged in such a while there is lots I have to say. However, I've been awake since 3:30 am with something on my mind. I recently found out that Shane, back in January, had asked a very dear friend of ours for her to be my advisor of sorts, if something were to happen to him. First, he continues to amazes me that he was planning for this, that he loved me enough to start putting things in place. Second, he loved this woman. He could not say enough things about her. Some of the things that he loved about her (and same reasons I do) is her compassion for others, her drive, her wit, her intelligence, the list goes on. He was amazed by her, as I still am. She has been my "go to" person since Shane left this earth. She is a professor at a local college and she is considered the "mom" to so many students. She's just that way. Tirelessly giving of herself even when things are not so great for her or someone in her family. I have felt so comfortable knowing that Shane entrusted her with information and comforted to know that she has mine and my childrens best interest at heart. She guides me in her "motherly" way and helps me feel strong in decisions I am making or will be making. Most importantly, she loves God and trusts Him. Something else, I continue to learn from her. I know one of the reasons Shane turned to her was not only her wisdome, but because he knew she is a mentor of sorts. I love this woman like another sister, I love her family. Her girls were the first non-family members that I allowed to babysit my children (which if you know me, is HUGE). She lives in my neighborhood and she is a rock for so many of us. She has had her share of "yuck" in her life, but it never seems to get her down. She is always so upbeat and determined. She is still extremely upbeat about having to relocate across the country. Me, not so much. The whole thing is extremely bittersweet for me. On one hand, I am extremely happy for the betterment for their family, but selfishly I am asking God why her and why right now. She, of course, keeps telling me that she will be back constantly, that she is just a phone call away and continues to encourage me even though her life is being totally turned upside down. I continue to find myself asking God why? I keep asking Him wasn't it enough that Shane had to go, but now one of the people that he entrusted to look after me is relocating across country?!. Which leaves me knowing that God is saying, "depend on me." Which is part of the reason that I am up at 5:00 am blogging about this. Again, I don't understand why He does the things He does, but I continue to trust Him in spite of it all. I am praying for this dear dear family, for G as she leaves behind one grad student, one college student and takes with her a 9th grader, whose world is being totally changed. I pray for her husband who is extremely happy about this change. I pray that even though there will be many miles between us that our relationship will never change. I pray, again, for my children, as they are wondering why one of their favorite families will not be right around the corner, at the neighborhood pool, watching out for us. Not sure how much more change, loss, my little family can endure. Knowing God is telling me to depend on Him but at the same time struggling. Shane, me and the kids love you McDaniel family and we are happy for you through our tears. God, I'm trusting You even though I don't like this either. I know God has a plan for me and my family but I continue to seek out the good in those plans. I hate being selfish but dang!!! (for lack of a better word)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Faith Hill - You're Still Here (Video)

Unbelievable that after I return home from the beach, remembering Shane, seeing him everywhere, and had a hard time returning home without him, that my sister shares this video with me. If Faith Hill only knew what she was singing. Even though he is not here in the flesh, he is so here in every other way. Whoever the songwriter is of this song, must have experienced a loss like mine. I will blog more later about beach trip etc, but right now I want to listen to this song again.