As some of you may know, I am a country music fan, particularly a fan of Brantley Gilbert. I may have just lost some of you readers simply by admitting I love that genre of music, but don’t worry! I’m not here to gloat about Brantley or any other star for that matter. I just wanted to share with you a song that really hit home for me.
I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from you all about a couple posts I’ve made in the past about loss and death. Most of you shared how you, too, have gone or are going through losing someone close to you and how you felt a similar way as I have. Just this last November I was at Brantley Gilbert’s concert with Shane and he played a song from his new album. The song that he played is called “Hell of an Amen”. Before reading any further, I recommend you all go listen to (or at least read) the lyrics of this song.
On May 1, 2014 my husband and I got married. We had a very intimate wedding with about 15 people in a small church near our house. We were so incredibly excited and hopeful for the future and everything positive that was coming soon. Just a couple months prior we found out that we were expecting our first child. Exactly one week after we wed we had our “Big” ultrasound to find out the gender of our little one. It was a girl! The first person we called was Shane’s dad, my new father-in-law, Dave. He excitedly answered the phone asking, “What’s the make and model?!” To some of you that might seem strange, but because he was a truck guy it made perfect sense. We told him it was a girl and he was so elated! He said that he couldn’t wait to meet her and wished Shane good luck when she becomes a teenager! We were happier than either of us had ever been and couldn’t wait for what the future was bringing us!
Fast forwarding a couple days, Shane and I were talking with Dave and we found out that he had gotten another call just before ours on May 8th. He had been feeling sick and uncomfortable for a few months so he had gone to the doctor to have himself checked out. That morning, just before we had called him, his doctor had called with the results of the tests they had done. Dave was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’d imagine that for most people they would be overwhelmed with several emotions: fear, anger, sadness, confusion. I’m not exactly sure what was going through Dave’s mind during and after that phone call, but I couldn’t help but think about the joy and excitement he showed for his new granddaughter when he talked to us a couple days earlier. And sitting with us then he was in pain, but he was so hopeful. He looked at us with a look in his eyes that said “let do this”. He was so determined to not let his diagnosis define the person that he was. It wasn’t going to take away his joy and faith.
Through the next month he endured a few rounds of chemo, and physically grew weaker. There were periods of time where he was sick and very uncomfortable. But he kept going, and most importantly, he kept believing. Because of the situation Shane and I moved in with him to help take care for and spend time with him. Every day we would read the daily devotions he had and talk about God. My husband and I learned so much from Dave about God and I learned even more about the kind of man that Dave was. I had never seen such a faithful and hopeful Christian before.
As July began to come to a close the doctors informed us that Dave wouldn’t have much longer with us. Maybe a week, they said. When the doctor left the room, we sat there in silence; disbelief. After awhile Dave looked at us and said, “I can’t believe that Lord’s calling me home. I can’t believe that I am worthy of being with Him. I don’t know what I have done to be worthy of that. The Lord’s waiting for me.”
Being seven months pregnant and feeling my daughter kick around in my belly, I was devastated that Dave wouldn’t get to see or hold her. After hearing what Dave had said I knew I had it all wrong. He was right. God was ready for Dave to go home. He wasn’t going to be in pain anymore. He wasn’t going to have cancer any more. He was going to better than we could ever imagine. And he was going to see our daughter from the best view possible. He would be able to look down on her and us and smile.
Dave passed away on July 26, 2014. On November 21, my birthday, we heard the song “Hell of an Amen”. For us, that song completely depicts who Dave was in those last few months, and it’s an inspiring reminder of who we strive to be every day that we live. That truly was one hell of an Amen to Dave’s life!
I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been trying to write a post that would do justice to everything that Dave did for me. In all honest, nothing I write would be enough. I only knew him for about two years, but I truly learned who he was in those last two months. He inspired me to lean on God and seek His love in everything that I do in my life. He inspired me to think from a different perspective, a Christian one, and to focus on the ultimate reason we are all here. Dave spread God’s love and message to everyone he met and he accomplished what God’s mission for him was.
I pray that all of you can experience a peace and faith like Dave had, and that when you do, you share it with the world. It’s contagious!
Safe travels, Gypsies!