This is a letter I wrote to Cousin Jim a week before he lost his battle to cancer. Why do we wait so long to tell those we love how special they are to us? My prayers go out to all that are battling or have a loved one battling a dreaded disease. The holidays can be hard and you wish you had one more day with those you lost and loved .
In case I have never told you, I am glad you are my cousin. Your serious illness caused me to take a walk down memory lane. Wish I were with you now so we could just enjoy each other and embrace those memoires. I know life was not easy for your family and you kids when you were young. It was sad your mother died so young. The only time I remember seeing my dad cry was at his sisters, Aunt Rhoda’s and Aunt Zola’s, memorial services.
I was proud you boys chose to serve in the military. Your efforts and those of many others have made our world a better and safer place to live for our children and grandchildren. Sorry Kai got Agent Orange and suffered so much medically after his willingness to serve. Dad, your Uncle Carl, told me he regretted never serving in the military. Being the only son, he stayed home and helped farm.
I traveled with the Livengoods one Easter to visit your family. We went to Garden of the Gods for Easter sunrise service. You had some friends that took Connie, Jon, and me to Skyline Drive. Connie and I thouht his driving was scary. We asked him to stop and let us out, so we climbed down Skyline Drive with Jon and walked back to your place. The climb down was steep and difficult. It would have been less scary to stay in the car. We kids thought it was wonderful you had a toy store. However, since Norm and I have owned a business ourselves, I realize that it is a lot of work and expense. We learned one is not rich because they are self employed.
I loved the old barn by your house. We spent hours playing in it. Those days, we could easily entertain ourselves with stick horses and make believe. I don’t think my generation of grandkids can do that. If I remember correctly, little brother Scotty burned the barn down.
As we cousins grew up, married, our priorities and lives changed. We went in different directions, and we cousins spent less time together. Norm and I enjoyed you and Jeff when you made the trip to Arizona. A few years ago, some of us cousins were able to spend time together in Arizona.
You, Connie, and Jon coming to Mom’s funeral touched my heart. Sometimes we forget to tell someone they are loved, but actions speak louder than words. It was a wonderful way to let the cousins know they still love each other.
On July 4th for years we went to Larned and enjoyed picnics in the park. I remember Dad and Uncle Marion cutting wheat, so that was often the last day of harvest – a dual celebration. Those picnics were a real feast, too. A lot of effort went into those celebrations. We all enjoyed our Mom’s fried chicken, baked pies, and deviled eggs. I’m sure we brought serving pieces from home; I don’t recall using paper plates. The fireworks were the climax of the evening. We made a lot of noise watching them, trying to irritate those sitting around us.
It gives me peace to know that you are not afraid of dying. It is us selfish friends and family that don’t want to say good bye. I am looking forward to having our final reunion in Heaven. No more good-byes! We will probably be a little nicer than the July 4th picnic in Larned, which I always thought was awesome! Maybe our Moms will have more homemade pies and chicken for us. You think? I bet there will be a feast! Instead of making noise irritating those around us, I think we will be harmonizing and singing praise songs. I hope this letter triggers sweet memories for you.
Sending my love and praying daily that you will remain pain free and at peace. Praying you and your family will feel God’s comfort and embrace.
Love you, Cuz! Dandy
PRAYER: Dear Father, Let those suffering from cancer and their family and friends feel your warm embrace as You hold them in Your arms. Let them feel the rest they so deserve after their long battle. The joy is that You reached out for Jim when the time was right, and You lead him through the gates of Heaven. Help the rest of us learn to love and let go. It is hard to say good-bye. We just keep wanting one more day…one more conversation, but we know they are much better off, and at peace with You.
PRAYER FOCUS Those suffering are at peace, not afraid of dying. They have given their hearts to God and are ready to embrace Him as they enter the gates of heaven.