Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver

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It’s been a good couple of days following a rough couple of weeks. Remember, as a child when that one older boy would give the merry-go-round his strongest running push? You would hang on for dear life as the centrifugal force would try to rip your little hands from the bars and you couldn’t wait to get off.

Grief is a merry-go-round.

Sometimes I get to exit the ride for a day or two, but my stomach still churns from the after-effect.
Nathan and I have been attending a grief support group called Grief Share the past two weeks and it’s been a comfort. The first night we went to group we introduced ourselves and all shared who we have lost. After this they turned on the video.

And there he was, my Grandfather, sitting in his living room. The living room I got married in, the living room of my every Christmas Eve and family memories. And he was there, talking without Alzheimer’s, his memory fully intact, looking into my eyes and telling me to embrace the grief and allow it to show, for by this I am demonstrating the depth of the love I have for the one I lost.

I wasn’t expecting him that night. Hot tears sprang to my eyes and rolled down my cheek in the dark room. Nathan searched for my eyes from across the room and shook his head in amazement. I had forgotten; years ago my grandfather was a contributor to the Grief Share ministry. He lost his eldest daughter, my Aunt Suzie, when I was a senior in high school and subsequently wrote a book called ‘Confessions of a Grieving Christian’. His personal walk through grief moved him to be a part of this project, and here I was, years down the road benefiting from it.

By the time Phoebe was diagnosed my grandfather was declining rapidly from Alzheimer’s. Sometimes he would recognize me, other times not. He loved my children and held them on his lap and teased them without fully realizing they were his great grandchildren. The last time he saw Phoebe in the hospital, she was septic and intubated and I could tell he felt uncomfortable and like he was intruding on a private situation. He didn’t realize that it was his great granddaughter in that bed.

Always the encourager, and one to share wisdom and direction; I know my grandfather would have had something to say to me that would give me hope in the midst of my journey had he not lost his memory. This was a familiar journey for him and he would have imparted strength, empathy, compassion and love.

That night, in the grief group in darkened room he was doing just that.
He was speaking into the future without ever realizing that I would need those words so desperately. I’m thankful for his obedience to do what I know what painful for him.

He passed away last year shortly after Thanksgiving, and one of the thoughts that comforts me daily, is knowing that my Phoebe is with my Grandy. I know what it is to be loved by him, and I know what it is to be loved by her. It’s hard for me to imagine two people more loving than these, so I can’t begin to fathom the love they are sharing with each other now. It makes me smile.

There are more sweet moments with God’s fingerprints all over them that I want to share, and will when I get a chance. I am finding Him faithful and steady even when I am not. It is often hard to hear His voice over the raging storm that is grief, but I keep my ears open.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14

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About Amey Fair

I am Amey Fair, wife to Nathan, and home-educating Mom to Benjamin (9), Averic (7), Deacon (4) and Phoebe (2) . Phoebe was diagnosed with a rare childhood malignant brain cancer called Atypical Teratoid Rabdoid Tumor on January 1, 2012. She had complete resection surgery to remove the tumor on January 4th and began chemotherapy using the Dana Farber protocol on January 26th. A few weeks ago I was sleeping in the chair next to Phoebe's bed in the hospital when I heard her little voice drawing me out of sleep. It was 3 am and it took me a minute to shake off the slumber. "Mommy I'm a mean girl" I thought she said. "No Phoebe, you're a nice girl!" I replied. "No Mommy, I'm a MIRACLE!" Phoebe said. "I'm a MIRACLE, I'm a MIRACLE, I'm a MIRACLE!" she continued on. My tears welled up and spilled over as she made her declaration. Phoebe doesn't know the word "miracle" nor the concept, she's only 2. It was as if the Lord was speaking through her like a prophetic utterance. She fell right back to sleep and I sat there awake, lingering in the magical moment. Less than 40 children are diagnosed with Phoebe's type of cancer in the U.S. each year. This is why it's called "ATYPICAL Teratoid Rabdoid Tumor". So, I have titled this blog in honor of Phoebe, our "Atypical Miracle". We are YWAM'ers, serving in missions through Youth With A Mission since 1998. Before returning to the states 1 year ago, we lived near Guadalajara Mexico for 3 years. It was during our year of agricultural missions training in Waco, TX that Phoebe began exhibiting symptoms from the pressure of the tumor on her brain. Weight loss, lethargy, extreme thirst and vomiting were her symptoms. We have been granted sabbatical during this time to focus on Phoebe's intensive chemotherapy treatment and are renting a home in Dallas near the Children's hospital where Phoebe is being treated. Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe in Luke chapter 8, we cling to Him, knowing that He is Phoebe's healer. If we can just touch Him, be near Him, bring Phoebe to Him each day, we have hope. He is our hope. Thank you for coming along on this journey with our family. It's therapeutic for me to write it all out, and in so doing, I hope God will use it for His glory.

29 responses »

  1. Confessions of a Grieving Christian really helped to keep me from drowning when we lost our daughter Amey- your story will do the same for many people!! Excited for the future announcement of your book ☺ Sending Love From Washington !! ~Cheri

  2. I have your grandfather’s book and I attended Griefshare as well. So thankful for these special blessings. Seven months down the road, I still can’t believe my husband’s gone, but I still get out of bed each day. Somehow it has to be enough that the Lord is with us through it all. So thankful that we will see our loved ones again.

  3. Dear Amy, Although my year, 2013, was quite different from yours there were a few similarities. Toward the end of 2012 my mother in law was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and was recommended to have surgery. Her being a skeptical patient and not fully trusting doctors I simply asked her “Where is your faith?” and pointed out that Luke was a doctor and Jesus healed the sick while He walked this earth. She had the surgery in early March, later that same month of undetermined causes (we suspected blood clot) she collapsed here at home and we were unable to resuscitate her. She had lived with us for about 12 years. In October within a few days of your loosing Phoebe, my mother joined her. Mom was 87 and also suffered dementia. She had not recognized me in over 6 years as being her oldest daughter or as someone she even knew. I had mentally said good bye to her several years ago but the loss is still felt.

    In November, a happier month, I was privileged in being able to serve as matron of honor and to walk my foster daughter down the aisle as substitute for her only parent, her Dad, on his birthdate and her wedding day. Her Dad died tragically the summer prior to her senior year of high school and just a few weeks before her 18th birthday. She lived with us for 3 years.

    In December my husband went into acid ketatosis (sp) spending 4 days in the hospital getting his blood sugar levels under control and learning how to deal with diabetes. Later that same month his aunt had a kidney removed due to the discovery of cancer and with in a day or two of being sent home had severe blood clots in one leg and remains in medical care to date. While this was happening a dear friend and mother of my lifelong friend went home to heaven at the age of 96. I was so very glad that we had visited with her on our way to the wedding we had in Nov. She will be missed

    It seems instead of 4 weddings and a funeral, last year was reversed. I was not unhappy to see 2013 pass by. It was truly a rollercoaster ride.

    The glue that held us together during all of this is the peace and comfort of friends, family and most of all God and the Holy Spirit. His ministering angels have truly seen us through travel safety, economic trials, sadness, loss and rejoiced with us in the happier times.

    As each of us walks through these times we are able to lift each other up in prayer,and thoughts through God’s love. Blessings more abundant than any of us knows are in our futures. May your future days hurt less and may we each recognize and be forever grateful for all our blessings and trials. I believe the hard times are some of my best times because I genuinely depend on God to get me through them. I am so very grateful, however, for the less trying times and relish each happy moment.

    Prayer’s for you and your family. Marilyn Baker, a friend of Sara’s, Scott, and Pastor John Green.

  4. Aw sweetheart, I’m so glad you found Grief Share. We offer it at my church too. I thought of going after I lost my best friend of 35 plus years but I never did go. Grief is like the merry-go-round. Boy, when it hits, it takes your breathe away. It is cool to think about all the people your Phoebe & my Jane are getting to see & visit with, as though looking into Jesus’ sweet face isn’t enough. I’m praying for your family. It will get better one day for both of us. Love & blessings, Elaine

  5. Thank you. I often wonder how you’re doing. What a sweet blessing to have the video of your grandfather who is sharing God’s presence with your Phoebe! May you continue to find, at times, joy in your journey…Eternity awaits… Sent from my iPad

  6. That is pretty amazing you went to the grief counseling and in turn were counseled by your grandfather. Father’s hand is on that. I’m sorry your grandfather lost a child but through his grief his ministered and helped many others. Through this grief, you too will help many.

    Praying often for you and your family.
    Blessings.

  7. Love and prayers – and as always, such appreciation for your to share your journey with us. I look for your posts daily. We love you.

  8. Its incredible for me to witness how God keeps his promise to his faithful. He gave you another gift with the unexpected words from your grandfather. How wonderful. How amazing. And above all how loving our Father in heaven is to us. God wants you to heal your heart and He does it when you most need it. Praise Him!

    We still pray for your family.

  9. You are so strong and I know it is our Lord who provides and is our strength. Isding Phoebe and am looking for that book. God bless you and your writings are beautiful.

  10. Dear Amy, I had the privilege of seeing your Grandfather many times during the 1980’s. He was truly an inspiration to so many. We would listen to his cassette tapes in the car every day. So happy that even now he brings you comfort. I think about you and your family often and will never forget your beautiful girl. I will always keep you all in prayer. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, you too are an inspiration to so many.

  11. Think about you guys often. My kids talk about Phoebe. We pray you Nathan and the boys. Their hearts have been especially on mine lately. So neat to hear about GriefShare and your grandfather. My mother in law leads one in FL.

  12. Amazing!!!
    A friend of mine got a Christmas card with a tract by Zig Zigler called “I Believe in Christmas”. It was then that I realized that they were in heaven together. I figure
    Phoebe is painting his nails, too and they are catching up on everything.
    Yes, I can see those golden apples in settings of silver!!! So beautiful to behold.
    LaNell

  13. I send prayers of thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit for your grandfather’s compassionate, wise love when he filmed his reflection and for the Spirit sending it to you and Nathan at a perfect time. Continued prayers for comfort, strength, and peace for all of you. Love and hugs.

  14. It was your grandfather that led me to your family. I had subscribed to his weekly inspirational quotes and bible verses. Somehow I had come across the news of Phoebe being ill. I have read your posts, each and every one, since then. I have been moved by your faith and continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

  15. Phoebe is so beautiful. She looks so tall and graceful in this picture. Her life and her journey is such an inspiration that it has taught me to perceive things differently in my life. Her faith at such a young age has me in awe and it shows what a strong little person she was. Your faithfulness throughout this journey is amazing. I think your grandfather would be so proud of you the way you praised God in everything. It is awesome the way the first night of your grief share turned out. God knew what he was doing. I don’t know what brought me to Phoebe’s videos or this blog, but it has changed my life. I wish I would have met her, she is such a little sweetheart in her pictures and your family is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your life with us, it helps with our journeys also. You all will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Love to you all.

  16. Amey, thank you so much for sharing this most special and unexpected happenstance with your grandfather’s video. I also am one who has loved and been encouraged and cheered on by your Grandy, and I found my breath caught away as you described the extraordinary scene both in that darkened room and in your internal room! How Good is Our God!!!!

    You are dearly loved…

  17. Oh, Amey, I can still picture in my mind how Phoebe would have greeted my Dad the day he went home to Jesus. Though our families never met, we all prayed for Phoebe and your entire family. I thought of how you described Phoebe as greeting strangers as though they were long-time friends. The grief is still there, some days just hiding around a corner of my heart, quietly reminding me of our loss; other days it’s very powerful and knee-buckling. No matter how it hits, I counter the grief by reminding myself that my Dad is where he wants to be, in Jesus’ presence and surrounded by loved ones, many of whom he’s meeting for the first time.

    Thank you for continuing to share and for offering us to share back. Your family is such an inspiration to me! My love to you all, God bless you!

  18. Thank YOU, Amey, for listening and obediently following God’s direction. You are ministering to me, so I know you are ministering to many.

  19. When words are few because of God’s intervention in our lives, I am always comforted with: GOD IS IN CONTROL! Love, thoughts, and prayers are ever with you, Nathan, and family.

  20. THANK YOU FOR SHARING AMEY – I HAVE NOT HAD COMPUTER ACCESS FOR AWHILE.
    MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND I KEEP PHOEBE
    IN MY HEART – THANK YOU FOR SHARING HER WITH SO MANY – WE ARE BLESSED TO
    HAVE SHARED WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. THE LORD BE WITH YOU – WITH LOVE
    SUANNE

  21. Amey, I have never written to you or commented on all your beautiful expressions. However, I did meet your precious Phoebe, and I read about your wonderful family. I kept my thoughts quiet because at times there are no words to convey what one really feels, so out of respect and out of fear of minimizing any aspect of what you are experiencing I thought it best to be patient. I still check to see updates, and even though I know some days are difficult, I am so happy to see that you put pen to paper so to speak and let those feelings fill the page. I just had to say to this video of your grandfather, that his words could be that gently falling snow after that wave of the tsunami. So unexpected and yet so desperately needed. Please keep writing, it lifts so many up and helps each and every one of us realize there is something bigger than ourselves. Much love to you and your beautiful family. DD

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