Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The last post
This is our 200th post so I thought it would be fitting for it to be the last post to this blog which is a story of our journey with ALS. I will keep the blog open indefinitely as long as blogspot stays around. I want to share our story with as many people as I can that come across it. I have heard numerous stories of people who have stumbled on or blog because they were researching ALS or just wondering what ever happened to Eric or Lori Fox. Many have shared with me that their passion for Christ has been renewed or that they are praying for us and they don't even know us. That makes sharing on this blog all worth while. I don't believe those people come across our blog by coincidence. God uses his Word, circumstances and people to speak to us and this gives us the opportunity to share how good our God is and give him praise, honor and glory.
It will be 5 weeks tomorrow since Eric passed away. His funeral was a month ago. As I think back to that day it seems like a lot of time has passed and also like it was yesterday. God was so near to me that day and in the days prior preparing for the funeral. There were so many times God just showed up and took care of me. I want to thank so many people. There are too many to list but I especially want to thank our friends Rob and DaNae Reynolds who drove from New Hampshire with a few days notice to do Eric's service as Eric wished. You did an amazing job sharing about who Eric was and honoring God. Daniel Groves for being willing to fly here from New Mexico to sing as Eric wished and then fly back to drive his band home in their bus. We decided that Eric would be just as honored if he could send us a video about Eric which he did the day before the funeral. (Dan, I never told you but the song you wanted to sing was playing right before the service started while a picture of you singing that very song at our house was on the screen from the collage of pictures!) Joel Nickerson and Erika Johnson for being willing to sing for us the songs Eric loved. My brother, Kevin who did not leave my side for four days and when he did, he was working on coordinating all of these people, videos, music, schedules, etc. My dad, Steve who spent so many hours making and perfecting the video with all of the pictures of Eric and our beautiful memories that was shown at the visitation and the funeral and will be cherished forever. Kentwood Community Church for opening the church and preparing lunch for everyone. Doug Chapin at Matthyse Kuyper and DeGraaf funeral homes who was so kind and helpful. Dan Bolkema who was asked the night before to share and did a wonderful job. The Kent County Veteran's Honor Guard who honored God, Eric and our country by doing a Eulogy, gun salute, playing Taps and presenting a flag to me that I will treasure. The experience was something I and many who were there will never forget. I want to thank the pall bearers who were all so close to Eric. It was really very hard to choose six. I also want to thank my entire family for your love and support along with all of our friends who helped us in so many ways.
I shed many tears during the service as I held my children close. Eric was such an amazing man, husband, father and friend. But most of all, he really loved God and it was so evident in everything he did. He left a legacy for me and my kids that will never be forgotten.
The day before the funeral, we were trying to arrange transportation for the family to Fort Custer for the burial and I remembered that a friend's father-in-law owned a charter bus. I called her and he had it available which she said never happens. After the funeral, 47 of our family and friends were able to ride together and relax on the drive there. I remember thinking Eric would have just loved this knowing we were all together.
The cemetery was lined with American flags all the way up the driveway. We stepped out and Zach presented Eric's mom, Joan with a flag which was also Eric's wish. I have never witnessed an actual burial as you usually leave and then they cover the casket with dirt. We watched from the road as the hearse drove back to the plot which was dug out. The weather all weekend during the visitations had been rainy, but Monday morning of Eric's funeral the sun shone brightly and it was a beautiful day. As they lowered Eric's body into the ground and pushed the dirt back over the grave, the sun disappeared behind the clouds. Immediately, the song "In Christ Alone" came to my mind. The verse that says "There in the ground, his body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain." When the burial was finished, I thanked everyone for being there and shared the words of that song with them. When I got to the next verse "Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!" The sun shone so brightly in the sky, I couldn't help but look up and cry. I am not comparing Eric's death to Christ's, but I know that God was reminding all of us that when Christ died for us on the cross, the world turned dark because of sin. He took on that sin for us so that we may have eternal life in Him. The next verse says: "And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost it's grip on me. For I am his and He is mine, bought with the PRECIOUS blood of CHRIST!" I have always loved that song, but now it will take on a whole new meaning for me. I felt like God was looking down on me and all of us that were so sad that Eric is gone and saying "I see you, I am always here with you and Eric is not in that grave, he is right here with me because of my Son and my love for all of you and you will see him again."
I actually smiled on the bus on the way home as I reflected on the day. I thought Eric would have been so honored by the whole day and how God was glorified even in Eric's death.
I think of Eric all of the time and am reminded of him everywhere I go by pictures, places, songs and my children. I have started a new chapter in my life. Right now I am focused on being here for my kids and spending time listening to God's voice and his plan for my life. He has showed me so many things that I could be doing with my time to glorify Him and I am now praying for God's best for my life. I can easily get busy doing lots of new things, but I want God's best! Please continue to pray for me and the kids as I know so many of you are. We are covered by God's love and grace and are really doing alright. People who don't know the Lord have a hard time understanding that. People who know God's faithfulness know that is the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have followed the blog from the beginning or just came across it today, I pray that you would come to have a true relationship with Christ and accept his free gift of salvation by confessing that you are a sinner and believing that Christ died for you (if you haven't already done that some time in your life). Do it today, don't put it off a minute longer. None of us knows what the tomorrow holds. Don't waste your life. Thank you for being a part of our journey. I know God will use me to comfort others who are suffering just as he comforted me.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Some day, I may start a new blog, but for now I have created a Face book page to keep friends and family updated as well as post pictures, etc. If you want to find it or write to me, use my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The kids and I along with my Sister Kristi, her husband Brian and their three kids are heading out this week for a vacation. We are all looking forward to spending time away together creating more memories.
Thanks for hanging in there as this post is really long, but I have not been known to write short posts.
With love and a grateful heart,