July 26, 2011

when God flexes His muscles

this past week has probably been one of the hardest and most amazing weeks of my life. we said goodbye to dan's dad, ric, saturday night in his home, around 10pm. i will attempt to document some of this incredibly journey here, and share our glimpse of how God flexed his muscles.

where we left off in the last post, was that we had a few doctors with a few opinions, and there was all this talk of a 'grey area.' after posting, we learned that if ric had stroked a second time, very severely, and this had affected three major areas of the brain. the doctors said that if he woke up and came out of this, he would be permanently blind and be mentally impaired. this was devastating to ric's wife, because she had prayed specifically for the sight to come back.

on friday, God flexed His muscles, and a miracle happened.

friday afternoon, a few more family members had arrived, and were visiting ric in ICU. all of a sudden he woke up! and guess what...this man, who we were told would be blind and not remember us, knew who we were and could tell the doctor what color shirt his wife was wearing. amazing! the doctors were completely baffled. we had a sweet, sweet time with ric that evening. jacob and larry were able to come up and be there with us, and we all got to hug and kiss ric and he told each of us he loved us. what an amazing time we were given with him.

while we experienced this divine intervention, we knew that our patient was still, at this point, suffering lung, kidney and now heart difficulty. they put him on a machine that forced air into his lungs to help make him comfortable, but in the wee hours of saturday morning, per ric's wishes, we had all the machines moved and sat with him while he was given morphine, and for the first time in several days, went to sleep, and rested.

by saturday at lunch, we had met with hospice and had a plan to take ric home. we had a small service with a chaplain and our great friend, and certified EMT, bryan, volunteered to drive ric to cove. (amazing courage, that one!) we arrived in cove around 4pm, and hospice met us at the house to do orientation. we learned about morphine and how to situate the pillows. we learned what it would look like in the last hours and last minutes.

dan and bryan left to pick up dan's sister from the airport around 9:40. there were some hard moments--the morphine hadn't kicked back in yet and ric was suffering greatly. dan came out of the bedroom, and asked me and our friends trevor and allison to pray that God would take ric home, and quickly. they left, we prayed. God flexed his muscles in answering this prayer.

we prayed for a long time, and anita came out to sit with us and she began to talk about all the people ric would see in heaven. the time was now 10pm. at 10pm in the car, dan had been praying the same prayer we were praying, and suddenly looked at bryan and confessed to bryan that he could no longer pray. dan didn't know what was wrong and was confused and upset. bryan got  a call around 10:10 from allison, telling them to turn around. it had taken us a little while to get through becasue service was bad. dan knew that the reason he could no longer pray for God to take ric, was becasue this prayer had been answered.

i was with anita when ric passed. i will never forget the pain she cried, and then let her Savior sweetly calm her, as she began to prepare the body. it was one of the most peaceful times. i stood next to her, tears streaming down my face, as she cleaned his face and said, "look at how handsome he is." the love and strength in their relationship is unstoppable.

the boys came back home, and we had great friends, amanda and jose, who picked up sister, for us and headed our way. what grace! we made all of our calls and sat around the dining table, toasting ric's life with apple juice and began to tell stories. it was sweet, genuine, hilarious, and heart felt. i loved it. i love being a part of this family and watching God work.

we have experienced crazy awesome community this past week, and the blessing is still continuing. i can't even begin to list everyone by name because the list is so huge. we had people bringing us food, checking the house...cleaning up ant infestations (ha!), oh and not to mention broken glass (oops!), preparing the house for our return home...offering to bring meals, providing transportation---i am humbled and just in awe.

from the o'rod family, thank you. those words will never been enough to express our gratitude. you are all amazing and wonderful. we look forward to celebrating ric's life this week and looking forward to the next chapter.

thanks for reading.


  1. You know I've been close to this for several days. I'm glad Amanda could give you some insight on what I went through 18 months ago, with the passing of my mother. It wasn't easy those last 24 hours. In fact, even though I hadn't been close to my mom for about 2 years, it was the hardest thing ever. I'm glad it was at her home. She couldn't speak, but I could see in her eyes a happiness that we were following her directive. She knew she was home. Surrounded by friends & family. That even through the fractured relationships, we all rallied together. As a family. It brought us back to better place in our relationships. There are always blessings to be found in what seems to be the darkest times in our lives.
    I also pray that Anita will find her way while staying with you. It isn't always easy. I said for months after my mom passed, that my dad was having an identity crisis. For 57 years he had been told where to be & when to be there. What to wear. What to eat. Then silence. Each person has to find their own way through grief. Dan will have his way, Anita will have hers. And there are really no rules! So it makes it hard to follow the game sometimes!
    I pray that Friday goes as well as possible. That there is laughter among the tears. Happy tears and sad tears. Like now for me. Wow! Where did those come from!

  2. your post made me cry, tears of grief and tears of joy. i love you emily and am looking forward to seeing you and giving you a big hug!!