Friday, October 23, 2009

his last day

Monday October 19th was dad's last day of life here on earth.

He went to be with his heavenly father while his sister was reading Psalms to him. His last earthly thoughts were of his Savior, then he opened his new eyes and saw him....... how cool is THAT??

Our sadness, for ourselves really, is keen. He will be missed in many parts of our lives. Even through the sadness there is joy for him.... that his sorrow is no more, that his pain is no more, and he lives eternally and with no more cancer.

What will happen to you when you die? Do you know? Are your firm in your conviction? If you don't know, or aren't sure, or have a question. Message me. I would love to be able to talk with you about where you will spend your eternity.

Dad's memorial service will be held at 3pm November 21st, at Redwood Chapel in Castro Valley Ca. Please call 510-886-6300 if you need directions.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

it's all part of life

Haven't been here in a while. I have been just a tad busy. All my busy-ness hasn't been for frivolous causes...
You see, there is this great guy I know. I have known him for 39 years. I am not his oldest friend, nor am I his newest... i fall somewhere neatly into the middle of his life. It seems tho, like everyone else who knew him, he had a profound effect on me.

I am referring to my dad. Mr. Richard Gabel. Son of Arthur and Ann Gabel. Brother to Sonny, Janet and Jim. Husband to Iris. Father to Julie, Kelly and Amy. Friend to SOOOO many.

As i sit here and type, the house is full. There are people crammed in every corner. I hear the voice of Joe Linn, talking to my son. I hear my Aunt Janet reminiscing with an old Redwood Friend... Tanya is over, and when i left the room she was holding dad's hand.
This isn't just a rare occurrence that is unique to only today. It is something that has been happening for weeks. Day after day.... people arrive. Some with food, some with cards or plants, but everyone of them, with a memory to share. A memory of who my dad was to them. They come to share their stories with us.

We have learned that my dad threw a tape measure at a bus in San Fransisco, because it ran over his carpet.

We have learned that he caught people doing things they shouldn't, and gently rebuked them, but never spoke ill of them to others.

We have heard stories about trips to Disneyland when he was a paperboy, how stupid Mike the dog was, how patiently he taught someone a trade, or how to drive a car ( i can testify to THAT ONE!)

We have heard how he comforted others in their grief, how he inspired some to be better than they were, how he had a gentle way of getting his point across. How he fixed this bathroom for this person, how that fence was falling till he got there, how he served in Boys Brigade, Sunday School, as an Usher, for Communion, flew missionaries to prisons, was a first person to sponsor a new missionary.... countless stories of servant hearted moments...... all of which have been weaved carefully into the fabric of who he was, and serve as a testimony for the God he served and loved.

When he was first sick, he cried out to God, pleading, for his children and Grandchildren to never have to endure this illness. He cried out to God about his feelings of dying, and feeling like he had no control over it. Time after time, struggle after struggle.... where the rubber met the road, he reached up to talk to God. I would have to say, that speaks volumes to me about how my dad viewed God. Even in his acknowledgement that he was soon going to leave this earth, he didn't rail, he didn't get angry, he didn't blame God. He prayed for healing if it was God's will, and for the grace to endure if it wasn't his time for a miracle.

Often I hear people wonder what people will think of them when they are gone. They wonder how they will be remembered. Blessedly we are being given insight into how dad will be remembered, not only by his immediate family, but by those he has had the occasion to interact with.

It is a reminder to me that all of our lives are on display, others are ALWAYS watching. They watch the pretty, and not so pretty moments of who we are. Dad put floors into peoples homes. He had many the occasion to see new people all the time, many of them unchurched, many that do not know the God he served.... When those people call, they tell us that he is a "neat man", the "kindest man they ever knew", we hear "he always just loved", "he would give you the coat off his back". When i hear these statements from people who are not believers, i know that they are a testimony to a life lived for Christ. They don't use my terminology, but their expressions and endearments, are evidence of a Christ follower in action.
What a wonderful life story to have. To have people seeing the Lord, through you, even when they don't understand fully what they are seeing. I pray that God uses the legacy of Dad's life, to bring those he had the chance to spend time with, to a saving knowledge of Him.

May God grant me the strength and ability to affect those around ME, with the same servant hearted model that my father lived, to carry the legacy....., to return the favor...., of having such a wonderful role model. I pray that my life story is as strong a testimony as dad's.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

visit with dad..... NO 2

so... today sucked. we went to the dr... and they weren't kidding..... the new tumor is big. big meaning it looked about the size of a kidney bean. but in a brain that has only so much is disasterous.... we had to decide to give him a feed tube or not. they explained that he would be in more pain in the long run if we did do it... so we decided not to. we told him we wanted to do right by him...and in a moment of total clarity... he told us that in the end...whatever we did would be right. even now he can still give comfort....God is good.
mom and amy are grieving hard. we all are. but we all do it differently.... mom wore one of his shirts today. one of the ratty ones she used to always want him to change out of..... but when you can't get a hug.... the shirt is the next best thing.....
it is hard to say goodbye to your pillar of strength. to your biggest fan... to the best date.... to the guy who would always listen and who had great advice. to the man who shaped your life and influenced so many other peoples lives.
i love you daddy.... you will be missed
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