Until Death Do Us Part

What a Life

My mother-in-law died this week. She was the mother of my first wife, Pam, who died almost 10 years ago now.

I’m feeling for Dad especially right now, her husband, as I recall my own grief following the death of my first wife. I remember how hard it was for me to even think about a life without Pam. I’m sure it will be hard for Dad too. (more…)

A Birth That Changed My Life

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I love all four of my children very much – but the one that changed my life forever was the birth of my first son, Devon.

I will never forget holding Devon in my arms for the first time. His mom had to have a C-section and so following the surgery, they gave Devon to me to hold. (more…)

What Would They Say If They Were Present?

Bringing Your Loved One Into the Celebration

This month, I returned to parish ministry following a 4-year sabbatical. One of the individuals who encouraged and supported me to be a pastor when I was young was my first wife Pam who died 9 years ago.

There are many celebrations in life where we wish we could bring back a deceased loved one.

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a celebration missing that person? (more…)

Bringing Mom Closer

When Mom has died, Mother’s Day can be a sad day.

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Mother’s Day is an acute reminder of what we still miss when Mom is no longer alive on this earth. We celebrate – but it’s bittersweet. Joy mixed with sadness.

Strong memories capture our hearts and minds as we think about the love we shared. On a day when many gather as families, we also find ourselves shedding some tears as we miss her. It’s important to remember and bring Mom closer. (more…)

4 Last-Minute Christmas Gifts That Won’t Cost You a Dime

(And they’re too big to fit under the Christmas tree)

I’ve learned about these gifts from spending time with people as they are dying.

I’m just wondering why people don’t think about these prior to their last moments of life on earth. What would happen if we chose to share these special gifts this Christmas? These are BIG gifts. (more…)

Telling the Story

Memories Bring Connection Forever

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All of life is a series of memories that are either positive or negative – very few are neutral. We remember most all of them, but usually choose to give special meaning to those memories that are positive and uplifting.

My friend, Gary, had a special animal companion that died last week. (more…)

Grief Made Me an Introvert

And that’s Just Fine!

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My wife, Erica, has had laryngitis for over a week now and I don’t like it all. I want to hear what she has to say, but it’s difficult to hear her soft whisper. So I’m forced to be more extroverted and carry the conversation. Or conversely, we’re both resigned to being quiet introverts together – side by side – at least until she regains her voice. (more…)

I Miss My Dad Forever

And here’s the reason why…

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Because he was an awesome grandpa. And I wish he could see his grandchildren and great children. He would be so proud of them.

My grandchildren don’t know their great grandpa and I think it’s time to introduce him to them.

Some may wonder why I would speak about the dead. What significance might it have in their tiny lives? For the same reason that people want to know where they come from and what their history is.

Story. Narrative. It’s always story. And story always connects. People always want to know where they come from and where they’re going. Those before them give a hint as to their future.

I’m a pastor and my heritage had a big influence on that – it keeps me focussed. Over and over again, I reflect upon my history – my story – and its significant role upon who I am today.

“Let me tell you a story about your great grandpa,” I will say to the grandkids. I will show them a picture or a special item and talk. Then I will say, “Do you know that a little bit of your grandpa is in each of you and the road you travel forward will include him also?”

They probably won’t understand this deeper principle, but maybe they will someday – when they are thinking about what is next and what in the past might contribute to their future.

I see my father in my life more than ever before. It makes me understand who I am and what I am still becoming.

Thanks, Papa!