I cannot believe that today marks 7 months of living without our sweet-smiling Nick. I have tried to think of how to put into words how much we miss him, but honestly words seem meaningless when I think of the ache we still carry in our hearts daily. I often pull his precious and somewhat well-known hat out of the top drawer of my desk and just hold it close to my face hoping that just a hint of his presence will somehow soak into my senses.
I just don't know how I would face each new day without the hope of Heaven. I truly don't. I've tried to sit and imagine life without a Creator and without a bigger purpose than this often pain-filled planet, and it takes my breath away to even think about such a cold, sad, depressing existence.
I think I've talked Tim into heading to the North American Christian Convention for the rest of this week......he needs some restoration, fellowship, inspiration, and time away from the everyday routine here at home. So if you are planning to attend (it is in Louisville), keep your eye open for Tim. He'll be around somewhere, and I am so thankful. Nick was Tim's football-loving, kindred-spirited son, and life is just so different here with ESPN and NFL Network rarely ever on. I don't know how to fill that void for Tim honestly except to just pray for him and trust that somehow God will redeem Tim's great loss.....which I know God can and will do in His time.
I don't write nearly as often as I use to. It's not because we don't need your prayers or because I have forgotten all of you. It's really more about the fact that I know that all of you have ups and downs in your own lives, and I never want to overplay ours as if our pain and grief somehow should surpass your life joys and struggles. I have turned to blogging as an almost-daily outlet for my heart. In this way I know that people can "choose" to check in on us and not have their inbox invaded so frequently!
I did want to send a note for a couple of reasons, though.
First, I wanted to let you all know that Nickapalooza is NEXT SATURDAY, July 11th, (7-11-09), at the Carter County Fairgrounds in Grayson, KY. Wristbands are $11 at the gate as well as at Farmer's Hardware in Grayson. I hope that some of you can make it! We now have 12 bands performing and are so excited and thankful! You can also contact Melissa Brooks at email@example.com for more information or if you would like to set up a booth of any kind as a fundraiser for a church or organization.
Second, I wanted to share with you that Basket of Hope is off and running! We have delivered 4 baskets so far and are thankful that because of your gifts to Nick's foundation as well as the generosity of Mike Furrey's foundation, we have been able to open the first branch of Basket of Hope in the state of Kentucky!!!
Third, the only things still needed for the Nick Nooks is the graphics display for the top of each nook!!! As soon as these come in and are mounted, we will be delivering the nooks to area hospitals and doctor's offices!!
Fourth, we have mailed out eight Adrienne's Angel Memory Boxes so far and have several more to deliver. We are reminded way too frequently that we are not the only parents who are grieving the loss of a child.
Fifth, we were able to support Relay for Life this year with gifts of nearly $1500 from the foundation because of your outpouring of love!
Sixth, after our trip to India we have had time to pray and process all that we saw and learned and have determined that one of the goals of Nick's foundation is to take the lead in raising the funds necessary for building a kitchen and dining hall that can serve 100 children at a time (as well as storage area for food) for the orphanage in Damoh, India, which is going to be named Joshua's Place in memory of Nick's favorite memory verse! The total funds needed for this building project is $60,000. While this sounds overwhelming in light of our economy, I feel that God gave me the following simple equation while lying in bed one morning several weeks ago:
If 2,000 people can each sacrifice $30, the building project can totally be completed!!!! That doesn't seem so overwhelming! I just love the way God uses a little to make a lot! He is the Master of taking what we may consider insufficient (like the little boy's fish and loaves and bread) and making it more than sufficient (like when He used that small amount of food to feed thousands!)
If you are interested in joining forces with us in this venture, please go to Nick's foundation website www.
I send this email letter with all the love and passion of any letter I ever wrote during Nick's long and courageous fight with cancer.
I am still heartbroken that our prayers were not answered in the way we desperately desired. However, I cling to the truth that God loves Nick more than we ever could have and because of His great love for Nick, I have to believe that Nick is GREAT! That makes me smile.
I love you all so much and still thank you for your love and prayers for our family.
Erich is in Africa for the summer and loving it! He is working as a nurse in a clinic in Nairoibi and will be home around August 3rd.
Evan is working at Morehead State University as a summer camp counselor and comes home every weekend.
Todd has been busy with church activities and work in the college cafeteria.
Olivia has kept us hopping with softball games, basketball practice, and sleepovers.
This road of grief teaches me something new just about everyday.
For today, my thought on grief is this: A smile mixed with tears is a gift from God.
Thankful for the hope of Heaven and for all of you!