Saturday, April 7, 2012

eleven years...

(kay and i at gary's memorial)

eleven years ago today i sat on one side of the bed hospice provided for my brother-in-law, gary, while his sister/my sister-in-law, kay, sat on the other.
gary lay between us... dying.

the day was beautiful much like today. the sun was shining, and there was a bit of a chill in the early april breeze. in my hand i held a copy of louis l'more's paperback novel, tennessee. gary didn't lack much being finished reading it, so i began reading aloud to him.

willie nelson's, stardust, played in the background...

and now the purple dusk of twilight time
steals across the meadows of my heart
high up in the sky the little stars climb
always reminding me that we're apart

the day had been planned, but things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to have. all the berrongs were supposed to come down to take the boats out on lake misty for the first outing of the season. gary, though very weak and in a lot of pain, was looking so forward to the day. he had had a great night prior. i gave him a haircut; john shaved his face. the four of us, gary, linda, john, and i, enjoyed fried catfish fiddlers and banana pudding from the lake's greasy spoon, george's. (by the way, george was a lady.) and gary enjoyed a very restful night.

you wander down the lane and far away
leaving me a song that will not die
love is now the stardust of yesterday
the music of the years gone by

however, that friday evening was not at all indicative of the saturday morning that followed. i've written before of the events that occurred. i will never forget them as they are etched in my mind and on my heart and will be for eternity. in the end gary gave his life to God; in the end God took it and rewarded him with heaven. he saw it's beauty from a distance in the wee hours of that saturday morning. he finally made it to the gates early that afternoon.
i held one hand;
kay held the other.
and, in an instant he was gone.

sometimes i wonder why i spend
the lonely night dreaming of a song
the melody haunts my reverie
and i am once again with you
when our love was new
and each kiss an inspiration
but that was long ago
now my consolation
is in the stardust of a song

he took one final breath. it was a deep one. he exhaled. then nothing.

in the final months of gary's life, he and i grew close. God drew us very near to one another. God gave me the words to say to gary and the signs i needed to know i was doing His will. God's signs to me came through music, through numbers, through roses and through the color purple. these signs were things i asked Him for; they were signs not unlike those found in the Bible.
they were the signs along the highway leading to the exit ramp of gary's life. together we followed them closely. together we brought him safely home.


beside a garden wall
when stars are bright
you are in my arms
the nightingale tells his fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew
though i dream in vain
in my heart it always will remain

our special relationship began one night when Gary asked me to tell him about the God i know and love. i shared with him. then he shared with me that although he prayed (mostly for forgiveness) he could never end the prayer with "amen". i knew exactly where he was coming from and smiled. i shared with him that i too had a problem with follow-through.

i knew that for him to say the word meant surrendering (one of the hardest things for humans to do). i told him that his life and illness were going to progress regardless of whether or not he chose to surrender but that if he would have faith the moment he did God would carry his burden. i told gary truth is freedom and God is truth. i also promised him i would pray without ceasing that he be able to unburden himself, that he would enjoy forgiveness, freedom, joy, no pain, love, and peace.

therefore i honored my promise, and i shared his story via the internet to people all around the world. there were prayers abounding. then on a night weeks before that saturday morning, eleven years ago, when gary left us to go to heaven, he said a prayer with my sister-in-law, kay. afterwards on a piece of paper he penned the word, "AMEN!!!" (in all capital letters followed by three exclamation points). in the weeks that followed... he experienced forgiveness, freedom, joy, a painless day, love, and finally peace.

God answered.

my stardust melody
the memory of love's refrain.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps. AMEN!!!


Rita Clement said...

Dani, You are an inspiration to everyone, not just the family. Thanks for this tribute to Gary.

Kay looks wonderful, tell her hello from another cousin, been a long time since I've seen her.

Gay would have loved this...

thanks, Rita

Sally said...

Beautifully written, Dani.

Love and hugs to you, sweet friend.