After a wonderful escape to the mountains I enjoyed one night in my own bed before a whirlwind trip back home to PA for my Daddy’s graveside service. You would think with all the travel time writing down my thoughts would be easy. Even though my head is spinning, I’m still trying to un-jumble it all.
The graveside service was plan B. Since our home church, St Pauls United Methodist, remains closed, the uncertainty made this interim step helpful for Mother. It’s our prayer that we’ll eventually be able to celebrate Daddy’s life to include the dear friends, family, church and community who missed out. Still, with no guarantee, it was a yet another loss. Especially for the Hucke’s because due to the rigid NM quarantine rules, Doug and Ian couldn’t attend.
This pandemic has been relentless and the losses just keep coming. Then it hit me. Yet another lesson from my Daddy became the inspiration for what I shared graveside as we said our final goodbye.
Words shared at Burial
I’m the Roeshot kid who hasn’t lived nor raised her family in State College. I’ve missed out on the day to day happenings and so has my family. I didn’t witness the slow gradual decline of my Daddy. And I’ve had to sit idly by as my State College siblings and their family’s picked up the slack. I’m so grateful for each of you.
But living across the country has given me a unique vantage point. With visits up to a year apart, I saw the sweeping change. There was nothing gradual about it. Every time I visited Daddy, Parkinsons had taken more from him. Even so, my time was always up-lifting. I went home feeling better about myself, better about my family, and luckier to be his daughter.
You can’t deny it… Daddy taught us a lot about doing what you love, working hard, building, fixing, creating, having fun, giving back, loving people, especially your family. But he taught us something even more profound. It’s a life lesson that has become apparent to me only now that he’s in heaven.
As everyone here knows, Daddy’s quality of life has continually declined picking up speed in these last few years. Especially at the end, his life on the outside, exemplified loss after loss after loss and at the same time his world was becoming smaller and smaller and smaller. Then in March, he suffered the final blow when Covid19 robbed him from enjoying the close physical presence of people he loved. No more hugs or back rubs, or sweet affection from his sunshine, Rita.
The Hucke family knows something about loss. And I haven’t always handled it well. I fight emotions of bitterness, sadness and anger about what could have been. But as I’ve thought about today’s occasion, I am most grateful for Daddy’s example. He handled loss and adversity with grace.
Daddy’s profound lesson is this… LOSS doesn’t mean LESS. In fact, I think with every blow, Daddy’s vision became a little clearer. He conceded that loss was inevitable, but it gifted him with perspective, a supernatural clarity of what matters. How else do you explain his ability to retain hope and constant joy? While the gremlins of disease were ravaging his body, there was no bitterness. Instead, Daddy focused on the best part of himself, his heart and soul and giving that to others.
Even though for many of you real loss seems far off… it does not discriminate. At some point, every person here will face loss and adversity. It’s how you’ll respond to it that reveals what you’re made of. I think Daddy would be honored if we followed his lead and focused on what we have to give instead of what we have lost or may be losing. It’s true, adversity often demands a change of course, but loss doesn’t mean less. Daddy was proof of that.
I picture Daddy with his ear to ear grin, standing tall, enthusiastically hollering in a full voice…”It’s all true, believe it! Your best is yet to come.”
I can’t wait to hug you Daddy. I love you. Your favorite. Deborah Lynn
Loss and Adversity WILL strike
No one can argue the fact…It’s a matter of when, not if adversity strikes.
Isaiah 43:1-2…”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’”
How do you respond to loss and adversity?
In my experience, the answer becomes clear in hindsight. After you’ve been knee deep in the rising waters and you sense the presence of the Lord, the knowing moves from your head to your heart. Even though the Lord doesn’t erase the pain, His presence brings comfort and illuminates the way forward. Faithful He has been, faithful He will be.
After college I anguished over whether or not to go to grad school. Should I acquire more knowledge or jump right into the marketplace? Likewise I attempted to adequately prepare for motherhood by reading books and seeking the advice of others.
But, NOTHING is a better teacher than experience. Nothing prepares you for handling adversity quite like adversity.
So how should one prepare?
From what I can assess from my Daddy’s approach, you don’t. Instead, knowing hope is eternal, you cling tightly to the Lord and enjoy the ride.
For His Glory,
Betsy Everett says
Definitely my perspective on life! I believe adversity builds character.
Thank you Debbie for giving us a glimpse of the wisdom your dad had.
The vision of him singing “How Great Thou Art” is still in my mind
Adversity does build character. Well said. Thank you.
Anne kole says
Amen, Debbie! I wrote this earlier but I think I forgot to post it. So if you get two responses from me, forgive me. I know for a fact that losses and trials in my life are part of God’s process. Often painful, but changing me. It will all be worth it when we receive the crown of life we’ve been promised!
The refiners fire. Indeed Anne.
Liz Bass says
Dear Debbie, I’ve prayed that ‘big daddy hole’ in your heart will be filled with unbelievable love, blessed comfort, and great knowledge that your dear dad is in the loving arms of Lord Jesus free from his awful Parkinsons.
You will have more wonderful memories than days to remember.
Losing someone so dear is hard and definitely no fun, but when those sad thoughts are filled with wonderful memories, then we know our loved ones are still present in our lives.
So well said Liz. Thank you. Debbie
Geraldine Dempsey says
As always, we love your words of wisdom. Thank you so very much.
thank you Gerrie.
Glenda Demmie says
You expressed so beautifully the lesson that God has been teaching me these last few years that “Loss is not Less”. What a valuable and profound perspective! Oh, that I would have the grace to appropriate it in every adversity with true joy and peace. Thank you,
Amen Glenda. It is definitely helpful perspective as we all age!
Karen Chalmers says
I, too like “loss is not “less. What a from the heart tribute to your daddy Debbie. Your words speak to so many in a variety of ways but always leads us back to the Father who is the true Comforter! Thank you Debbie for your gift of writing well to inspire so many.
Thank you, friend. Debbie
All my love, Debra Harbaugh says
My computer has been out of commission all week but now it is fixed and I can respond to my friends. I lost my mother and when I was working in Los Lunas. I got to the nursing home about 30 minutes late. But she and your father are now in heaven and we will join them in the future, but not soon!
Sunday morning is busy as I go to Rick and Cheryles home and we “go to church” on the computer and have some family time together. However, I can hardly wait until the virus is gone and we can all go to church together.
Yes! Me too Debra. I miss seeing everyone. Masked up just feels weird. Hang in there
Like the positive attitude.
Indeed Ann! Thanks.
Frida Bauer says
I too felt similar sentiments when you wrote, though God does not erase the pain, he comforted you to move forward.
I lost my mom this year also, and God has an amazing way of helping me through my grief.
Your story brings tears still though. Thanks for sharing your story, Debbie.
So good to hear from you Frida. I remember your mother’s passing. And how difficult it was to be so far when you got the news. I miss you, friend. Debbie