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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Welcome Mary Connealy

I've known Mary Connealy for awhile as a fellow Heartsong Presents: Mysteries author, but I didn't really come to know her until after Jolene's death. She stepped forward to help me set up this blog, and she has been my most faithful supporter.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your loss of your father to cancer.

I lost my father a few years ago to cancer. It was a really slow way to die. It was about ten years from the first diagnosis until his death and there would be good times and really low times. He had all the treatment, surgery, radiation, chemo. He’d get knocked down, get back up and be better for a while and always the tests would come back wrong. Numbers that should have been zero just would not drop to zero.
I prayed steadily for Dad through that time and one verse that I came to love and cling to, and use as a prayer was:
Isaiah 40:31.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

During the low times, and toward the end, my dad was so weary. He had no energy and just standing up was a struggle, he even fainted a few times.
I would sit next to him and try to rest my hand on his shoulder when he talked and know that it was important to listen to every word he said. I knew I’d cherish these talks after he was gone. He was the greatest man to talk to. He had the most wonderful laugh and he was generous with it. He was funny and smart and so good hearted, such a loving father. Now that he’s gone the thing that catches me at unexpected times are those moments when I think, “I’d love to hear what Dad would say about this.”
I’d sit there and listen and pray Isaiah 40:31. “Dear Lord, you know Dad has always put his hope in You. Please renew his strength. Lift him up and help him soar. Help him run and not grow weary. Help him walk and not faint.”
My dad loved baseball. He played for the University of Nebraska Baseball Team in college, the B Team he always said. He never made the traveling squad. I remember so well how he loved baseball. Playing it and watching it on TV. He played on a community team after I was born and we’d go watch him. He always played the outfield and I remember him being so tall and young and fast and strong…later on he was older, slower and weaker…and shorter too, I wonder how that happened?
There were eight of us kids and people teased Dad about having his own baseball team, with all of us and Dad together. I suppose Mom was a cheerleader, huh?
Well, my dad finally died after a long, slow, painful battle with that awful cancer. It took me a while, about a year, but one day I was praying and I remembered how I’d prayed those verses from Isaiah, asking God for a miracle to heal my dad. And I had this vision of Dad in heaven going up for a high fly ball and catching it.
It came to me then that I’d gotten my miracle. The Lord had renewed my dad’s strength. He had lifted Dad up to soar on wings like eagles to a place where he’d could run and never again grow weary. Where he could walk and not faint.

My book Calico Canyon will be in bookstores July 1st. A lot of the humor in my writing is a gift I believe I inherited from my wonderful father.


Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks for sharing, Mary and Darlene. My dad also died of cancer about 20 months ago. He was also a baseball player in his youth and a big fan all his life. I was so glad he got to see the Sox win. We watched every game the last two seasons. Now all it takes is seeing a Red Sox T-shirt or a picture of Kurt Schilling or Mannie Ramirez to bring back those bittersweet memories. That's what I try to remember, not the chemo or the oxygen or how thin my always-thin daddy got or any of the rest of the bad stuff. Love you both!

Mary Connealy said...

Baseball makes me think of my dad. He also loved the Cornhuskers, the University of Nebraska football team.
I think of him so much when I'm watching sports.
He was a great man with a wonderful heart for his family and God.
He was in his seventies when he died so he had a good long life, but we always want more.

wendy said...

This is so wonderful. I know what you mean - it's just the unexpected little things that remind me of Grandpa. I remember how well versed he was in History and The Bible. Anytime I have a theological question I wish he was here to discuss it with me.

Lynette Sowell said...

Thanks for sharing this, Mary. Your dad sounded like an awesome man. Remembering the good things and special things sure helps. Thanks for helping Darlene set up this blog...

Linda Swenson said...

not fair to make me cry today.
When I think of Dad I always think of Micah 6:8.

Mary Connealy said...

Linda's verse is:
Micah 6:8. He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God

Linda's my sister, there are eight of us. Wendy is my daughter there are 28 grandchildren. Dad lived to see all but the one youngest granddaughter.

I love this verse from Micah. For me it's that one in Isaiah but there are so many.

My dad taught Sunday School for...probably 50 years.

Darlene Franklin said...

Linda, Wendy, glad to meet you and to learn about your special father/grandfather. He sounds like a wonderful man.