the 20th of February, we, five of us, began our trip to attend our
son/brother’s burial. The day didn’t seem
foreboding, just extremely sad, our Dan, 61 years old, had succumbed to a brain
tumor three days before.
pulled into the Peoria Airport, checked in, went through security about noon
and began the act of patient waiting.
Soon we were told there would be a delay because of the heavy fog. The fog clung to the tarmac in thick clumps
and the plane circled for a time and unable to land, departed without us.
in our group was designated an official title:
Tim is the Official Driver and “Make it Happen” Officer, Paul is the
Official Communications Officer, Alyssa (granddaughter) is the Official GPS Navigator,
and Karen was the Official Other Options Officer. Soon a meeting was convened, new reservations
made, old reservations cancelled or delayed, and we were on our way to Chicago
with new flight reservations for Atlanta at 6:25 am.
arrived at a hotel near Chicago in the evening.
We were all intent on checking in and getting some rest as we would have
to leave for the airport at 4 am to stash vehicles and board the plane by 6:25
was one problem, I fell. I slipped onto
a curb, hitting my head. A knot swelled
up. We checked in the hotel, and I laid down immediately. Paul, Tim and Karen had an official meeting
and called the EMT’s. I answered a lot
of questions occasionally opening my eyes. One EMT said he was going to ask me
a crazy question. I replied, “Then I
will give you a crazy answer.” Soon they
took me to ER for a CT Scan, X-Ray on my wrist to confirm no break. Finally I
was able to return to the hotel. We slept
for 45 minutes. Five sleepy people
climbed into vehicles for the short trip to the airport, dropped Karen and me
at the terminal. We found a wheel chair
and waited. Stashing vehicles in Long Term Parking took too long and we missed
the flight to Atlanta.
we looked at each other. What was God
teaching us with the delays. I sent a
prayer request to my three prayer partners.
We discussed Options. Tim came up
with the $11,000 rental of a Lear Jet.
Another idea was to drive in a van 11 hours. That was nixed, too, we were all too tired to
drive. All we knew was we had to get to
Atlanta. We waited for a standby and
thought about splitting up.
waited with anxious hearts and praying.
We heard the announcement for the flight to Atlanta. After everyone had boarded, we heard the
announcement for the 5 standby passengers to board. Tim looked at all of us with wonder. “It is God!”
We boarded with thanksgiving in our hearts and settled down for the
short flight God made possible through the prayers of his saints.
we sat in an airport waiting as Tim and Alyssa found the rented SUV. Alyssa GPS-ed us to the hotel in Peachtree
City. After we checked in, I slept for
several hours. And thought about what was planned – the visitation. I took measure of the blessings God had given
us. My injuries were not intense enough
to warrant a hospital stay. We arrived
in time to attend the visitation and the funeral. We were together.
visitation was a whirling of tears and laughter, meeting the McGinn family,
hugging our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We saw pictures of Dan through a lifetime via
the DVD that Caitreona made for us. (Online now) Our friend drove from Rogers to attend, too,
so our Arkansas church family was represented.
dawned bright and crisp with bright sunshine. February 22, 2014, the day of our
son’s burial. A good night of sleep was the preparation for the day. This is
it. The day that we hoped and prayed
would not be. After a fast lunch, we
arrived at the funeral home. Paul, Tim
and I were to read and say a few words, along with Coley, Demian, Katie and
Dan’s wife, Linda. A beautiful and
fitting memorial for Dan filled with remembrances, wisdom from the ages and
travelled to the cemetery laid between groves of trees. After prayers, Dan’s
body was lowered into the earth. His soul was with God and Dan had already been
reunited with his twin brother, Donny.
After earth and flowers marked his place, family visited. Much to my surprise, Aunt Irene’s three sons
who live in the area came to visit briefly.
dear little lady, Agnes, came with her sweet smile and handed me a tiny angel
topped container. She opened the lid and
showed me four small jewel-like pebbles.
Pointing to each, she said, “Faith, Hope, Charity and Happiness.” That expression of love from Agnes was a
reminder of the precious love that is given to all of us.
we left, we drove to our granddaughter Katie’s home. A sumptuous feast of love and food awaited us
there. It was difficult to say goodbye
to Linda, Demian, Katie and BJ, and their three children.
next morning we would be on our way home.
It was a tumultuous time. Soon we
were cocooned in the airplane seats. I listened to the roar of the powerful
American Eagle engine and a parade of memories came through my mind. The uncertainty of travel at the beginning of
the flights, the fall that left its mark on my face, the waiting exercises, the
faces of loved ones that we found, the words that were shared about Dan, the
obvious love and affection that everyone held for our son occupied my thoughts.
the plane lifted into the air, I heard the pilot say, “Please keep your
seatbelts buckled for unexpected turbulence.”
The flight glided through the air smoothly with only a dip or two as I
realized that life is a flight with ‘unexpected turbulence’. The only thing we can do is to tighten the
safety belt to have a safe flight to our destination.
safety belt is made of God’s Gifts to us for the ‘flight’ – Faith, Hope and
Charity, plus Trust and the Fruit of the Spirit. We cinch those tight in our hearts and our
flight is successful. Yes, I will miss
Dan’s presence here on earth. As Paul said, “I realize I can’t pick up the
phone and call my brother now.” Just as
I entrusted God to ‘tuck in’ my family years ago when we moved to Arkansas, I
know that God loves Dan even more than I ever could.
5:22-23 – But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control. There is no law against these things!
to the mountains—does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He
will not let you stumble;
one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as
your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
from all harm and watches over your
The Lord keeps watch over you
as you come and go, both now and forever.
be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough
room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that
I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will
come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”