Saturday was my step dad’s 70th birthday. Only he wasn’t here to celebrate it.
In September of 2016, my step dad Jim, was diagnosed with liver cancer. He went through a couple rounds of Radioembolization Therapy., but that only shrunk the tumor a little. Not enough to cure him. During all of the testing for this therapy, the physicians found a problem with his heart and he had to get a pacemaker. Once the pacemaker was placed and he cleared his recovery, he was placed on the transplant list (around March/April of 2017).
Late in the evening of September 29th, he got the call. They had a liver for him. One year to the day after he was diagnosed. Once surgery started on September 30, it lasted the entire day. He made it through the surgery, but unfortunately there was a complication after surgery.
Life is precious. It moves fast, way too fast, only you don’t realize it when you’re living it. On September 29 when my step dad went into the hospital for a surgery that was expected to save his life, we never thought in a million years that he wouldn’t come home. Unfortunately we can never go back in time. Once it’s gone, that’s it. And there is never, ever enough time.
Saturday was my step dad’s birthday. And sometimes, birthdays are so hard because they remind us of a death day. And that really sucks.
But… he didn’t die in vain. For those closest to him, he lives on every single day in so many ways and we get to celebrate his life with the Keep Doing Great Things Foundation started in his name. The Foundation came about because of him, and all the amazing things he did during his life. The JWR Foundation recognizes high school seniors who are doing great things in their community. Their volunteer work in the community is rewarded with college scholarships through the Foundation.
May we all learn to live like Jim – like role models– making the most out of our precious time here on earth. May we love on people more, including ourselves; may we truly believe that we have purpose here; and may we all completely and whole-heartedly realize that no matter what, no matter the differences, no matter the circumstances, we all matter. And if you don’t volunteer already – what’s stopping you? Put that energy towards those who need it most. Jim found the time and energy to volunteer for over 30 years – why can’t you?
I came across these words recently and will cherish them to help calm my aching soul:
“I know you’re sad.
Grieve if you must,
But I’m okay.
In God keep trust.
I’ll see you soon;
Don’t count the days,
Just live and love
And sing His praise.”
Jim, I love you and I miss you every day. Thank you for being my step dad, my mom’s husband, and a wonderful grandfather to your five grandsons. Please keep watching over all of us to help us have Beautiful Days! xoxo