Two things occurred to me on this cold day in Illinois.
- I haven’t sent out a Christmas letter since 2009.
- If some of you are not “facebook” friends, you may not know about Roger’s passing to heaven this last November.
So, to bring everyone up to speed, I thought I would send a digital letter to friends on my email list, and a hard copy to those who are on our traditional address list. Forgive me in advance if you get two copies!
Roger had planned to retire from his position at Salem Baptist Church on June 30, 2014, and we were excited to make plans for a future of traveling, visiting our children and grandchildren, as well as looking for ways to be a blessing to others. The first half of the year was typical in church and family activities. Roger felt well, and we looked forward to celebrating his two year liver transplant anniversary in July. With a total colectomy in February 2013 and a total knee replacement in December 2013, I felt like he was my “bionic man.”
The church gave us an amazing send off, and we spent the first two weeks in July at Chad and Stephanie’s house in Grand Rapids. On our way over Lake Michigan to see Lisa in Green Bay, I began to notice some cognitive deficits with Roger. It was sudden, and unusual enough for us to check with our local doctor when we returned home. A single car accident later that week lead us to the ER where an MRI was done. The local neurologist showed us the results, and if we thought the liver transplant was difficult, we were naïve! We were in for the most difficult time in our lives.
Several weeks of tests at Barnes Jewish Hospital brought the official diagnosis: Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme (brain cancer). It was inoperable, and radiation, chemotherapy, and eventually hospice became parts of our everyday vocabulary
Space won’t permit me to share all of the details, blessings, God’s direction, and lessons we experienced; however, more information is on my timeline on Facebook. I am beginning a “blog” or “book” (I’m not sure how this will be disseminated), and I trust that when it is available it will be a blessing to you.
Through this storm we prayed daily for mercy. Looking back I now see how God granted that mercy. On November 6th we returned to the oncologist for the results of the MRI after six weeks of treatment, and there was significant growth. We stopped treatment on the 11th, the hospice nurse came on the 15th and Roger died on the 26th. It was quick, and we were able to keep him as comfortable as possible.
This all sounds so sad and depressing, and I’ll not lie to you: It is terrible. But think about it. Death is terrible. The cause of death is terrible. Sin is terrible. But ultimately death will not have the victory or the sting, and we shall all be changed.
In the past I ended our Christmas letter with these words. They are more appropriate than ever.
Each year we realize that we are one step closer to our home in Heaven. In fact, Heaven is sounding sweeter all the time. Christ is coming soon, and we look forward to meeting you “here, there, or in the air.” We trust that you have accepted Christ as the only way to Heaven. John 3:16
P.S. We are the Weldys. And if you know us well, you know we did a LOT of laughing and singing throughout this time. Check out Roger’s YouTube channel and see what I mean. Just search Roger Weldy and let the laughter begin!