the day after. loss..hope...living..thanks...

 today is the day they talk about.

the day after the friends come and pay their respects and the services are done. 

i've been in the prescence of heaven's gates opening for "a soldier coming home."

i've seen, watched and heard things that i wish i hadn't and they have changed me forever.

but again, it's ok.

my family has been poured into, prayed for, loved on, and has been blessed with an abundance that leaves us speechless (well, except me ::)

emotions, places, people, age, life experiences, and the fact that i have my mom's heart on my mind and in my heart...it is all different. 

but its ok today.

i've learned an abundance over the past few weeks.

today's the day that "normalcy" is supposed to begin...or at least try to. 

things won't be "normal" for a very long time.

and yes, that is ok too. 

 

there are so many things to share....

so many things i want to shout from the mountaintops...but then again, hold closely & privately to my heart...

in the raw, truthful, only way i know how to say it, i want to tell you this:

my stepdad bill, whom i was blessed to inherit as my own on may 23, 2008...he made an INCREDIBLE difference in this world. 

his faith, humble heart, wisdom, and unfailing love to those he loved (especially my mom), has left an everlasting, deep impression on not only my soul, but those who have known him.  

how BLESSED i am to have this heritage and legacy in my life...

bill and my mom built it with the most simple tool of all...faith in jesus.  

and now...thanks...

thank you friends.

who have loved us, emailed us, facebooked us :), texted us, hugged us, prayed for us, visited with us, and treated bill like a hometown hero. 

thank you specifically to dr. kruk and his pa, chelsea.  

although bill doctored for his cancer in pittsburgh, dr. kruk and chelsea were ON CALL, showing support, loyalty and an empathy that you crave in healthcare.  how appreciated these two people are!

thank you to home health.    specifically Kathy Graham.

kathy, you are loved and treasured by my mom and us. your support, friendship, care and protective care for bill has meant so much.  and thank you for being someone for my mom that was only a phone call away.  

thank you to dubois hospice.  

diane, debbie and michelle.  your on call support and care is GREATLY appreciated. 

thank you to jennifer jackson of Brady Street Florist.

we know that you went beyond and above for us.  the roses that adorned bill's casket, we had no idea that they would be so symbolic and would touch us so much.  they were MAGNIFICENT.  we appreciate you, your friendship, your expertise and talent. 

and thank you Baronick funeral home and crematorium, inc. 

jeff, you and frank - i have no words.  you came to transport our beloved bill, with a hug, and a beautiful quilt to cover him.  that alone was touching.  but the DOWN TO THE DETAIL service you provided for us, there are no words that could express our appreciation.  jeff, you were on our side, when we didn't realize we had a side.  what i mean, is that you would not settle for anything less than what out hearts needed and what was the absolute most organized, beautiful, and for lack of a better word - presentation, than we could have ever hoped for.  

to the city of Dubois, and 3rd ward hose house firefighters, and women's auxiliary...

i know that bill served with you and were friends of yours, but thank you for extending such kindness to our family.  the the firemen, thank you for your presentation and condolences.  your good-bye's and respects brought us to tears.    to the 3rd ward women's auxiliary, you touched my mom and us in your service, in ways that i may not ever be able to articulate.  you served our family, gave to us, cleaned up after our meal, and were so patient and kind....thank you thank you thank you...

to reverend dave naugle and pastor tim micheaux, 

thank you for your support, visits, friendship, support and prayers.  

and to my family and our beloved friends...

nays, bill, aunt michelle, uncle mike, aunt darla, mum mum...kim marie, kay kay...the extended swingle family, and to the betz, salvi, watt and ramsey families...thank you.

for your visits, love, food, prayers, visits, prayers, and more prayers. 

nays, bill and aunt michelle, thank you for sharing your talents and music so freely and beautifully.  you made a HUGE difference in our lives and in our goodbyes. 

a chapter has ended in a way...

but only in a way, that a new one has begun.  

never forget that our God is faithful.

and when you relive is lived dedicated to Him...

lessons and blessings are overflowing...

Philippians 3:7-14The Message (MSG)

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.  

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.