Sometimes there are no words to say or hear that make hurting hearts feel less pain. Better...what is better? Okay...will we be ok? Everyone says we will. Deep down, I know that and I believe that...but in the meantime....Okay seems so very far away.
It has been a blessed week here in MN. We arrived just as Daddy was transitioning to home. I was able to make Dad his Mom's famous Poppyseed and Nut Rolls. I even made him Devil Dogs. While he doesn't have much of an appetite, he has loved those precious bites. Rachelle cooked a pork roast this week (with the help of um...Grillin' Magic) and was elated to receive Dad's approval! Those were special little wins for us both!
We have had several moments of grace. Several moments of clarity. When Dad is clearest...he is telling anyone who will listen about Jesus. Anxious moments are driven away by him expressing his love for the Lord, explaining what Jesus did for all of us, and how we can be sure of an eternity with God in Heaven.
We have enjoyed sharing memories with each other. Tonight, Bob and I reminded Dad, who was wearing his World Series t-shirt that we just watched our beloved Cubbies win the World Series. We have talked about baking our favorite Christmas cookies. Sang a few favorite songs. During one song, "This Could Be The Dawning of That Day," Dad wanted to know who heard that song. We explained it was just Bob, Mom, and myself in the room, with one hospice nurse standing near. He was adamant that she come over so that he could explain the song, explain Jesus, explain Salvation. We all were blessed to hear that she already knew Jesus and were touched at how much she allowed Dad to pour out his love for the Savior in that moment.
On our most recent Daddy/Daughter date, about 3 weeks ago, I took him to see Hacksaw Ridge. We watched as the hero single handedly saved 75 men from being slaughtered, by dragging them to safety and lowering them down a cliff. The hero cries out to God after each man is lowered, "Just one more...give me strength for just one more." I know that is Dad's cry too. He wants to see as many people come to Jesus as possible.
Friends, we are still believing for our miracle. Dad has coined Remission By Christmas. We know that there are two kinds of healing...healing here on Earth - that is what we long for so deeply....and our Ultimate Healing to be with Jesus in Heaven. Dad explained to a slightly overcome grandson, Dominic, how wonderful it will be to someday receive that healing! In the meantime, he wants to still be a Grandpa, Dad and Husband. He still has souls to reach, college students to teach, fish to catch, and grandsons to mentor.
Honestly, the last 3 months have been a blur. According to our very loving and caring hospice nurses, the progression of this illness is steadily increasing. They no longer feel that we are dealing with months or weeks, but rather days. The last two days have been exceptionally stressful and painful as we see signs that the nurses are more than likely correct.
Mom (Cathy Jo) faithfully remains at his side, loving and caring for her best friend - her love. Bob and I are struggling to balance time with Dad, our spouses and kids. We don't know really what is the right thing at any given moment.
What we know...Jesus loves us. We are loved by a Good Good Father. We rest knowing that a healing will come. We trust that God knows what is best and remain faithful in our pursuit of Him. We look to Heaven for our Miracle. We know it will come.
Please continue to pray for the Bernard Family. Now more than ever, we need to bombard Heaven. I know Mom and Dad would love to hear from you! Feel free to send an email of encouragement to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sure to read each one to Dad and let him know how loved he is by so many of you!
On behalf of the entire Bernard family, we want to extend our deepest gratitude to all who attend the benefit at the Clarissa Ballroom today. Mom and "Bobby" are home in Rochester and were overwhelmed with all of the love and support they received. (He mentioned that he hasn't been called "Bobby" or "Little Bob" that much in a long time. ha!) Over 300 people came to show their love for Bob and Cathy Jo. Your gifts, prayers and attendance only help to remind dad and mom of the influence they have had on so many lives.
To those who coordinated this event, we couldn't offer enough appreciation. You knocked it out of the park. Martha DeGary (Aunt Beth to us) and Kristy Brown...your efforts will never be forgotten. We only wish Dad could have been there to see it with his own eyes. If any of you were there and have pictures of this wonderful day, please email them to us at email@example.com. We would love to show dad as many as possible.
Now an update:
Dad has been struggling with pain control for many days. He has been in the hospital since last Saturday and it seems like each time he gets close to coming home a new roadblock presents itself. We covet your prayers during this time because we know that dad wants to be home with is family over the holidays. In order for that to take place the doctors need to help us find the right pain control and manage his symptoms steadily over a period of a few days. Please pray that over the next days we will see enough improvement for us to move him home and enjoy thanksgiving together.
Please continue to pray for Cathy Jo. She has shown so much strength and I'm blessed to have her as my mother in law. She is going through the unimaginable every day. The ups and downs of dad's symptoms weigh heavily on her. I believe I can say that she has more faith than many people I know. I know God is going to bless her for that. Pray that she can rest and that her mind and heart find peace in the middle of all of this.
Donna, Josh and the boys will be arriving in Rochester tomorrow. The Thanksgiving groceries have been purchased. The Christmas decorations are up. We will enjoy each moment that the Lord gives us together. We will find peace in the midst of an unexplainable storm. Our hearts are heavy but our hope is in Christ Jesus. He is the only source for us and that is exactly the way it should be. We'll keep leaning on Him and know that His way is the only way.
Tonight when I was putting Jackson to bed he asked me about Papa. He said..."Is papa going to come home soon?" He thinks it is pretty cool that he stays at our house. I told him that God is the one who is in control of that. His reply was..."God is the Boss. That makes him like a Daddy." I thought that was pretty cute. (Bob Bernard III...you must be doing something right cuz he knows that daddy's are the boss. :-) It was a good reminder to all of us that God is our Father. He wants the best for us. He wants the best for Dad. And he's a GOOD father even when our eyes aren't seeing good things at the moment. So the Bernard family will continue to rely on FATHER GOD to guide each step because HE is in control.
I know you're not reading this tonight and I know you are so uncomfortable. But, know that there are people all over the world who love you and are praying for you. May the peace of your FATHER in heaven surround you tonight. We are praying for an infusion of that peace and grace to give you the rest and strength you need to come home. I know night time is hard, especially in the hospital. Your GOOD FATHER is right there with you and your entire BERNARD/FALVO team will be here soon.
You'll see articles from all of the Bernard family here. Maybe even a grandson will post now and then!