Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7
Always be joyful. Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We have been overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness and His grace in all of the events surrounding Tori’s home-going – which are nothing short of miraculous.
It’s been stunning, really, even though we shouldn’t be surprised. He is a great God who loves His children.
I’m not sure I ever expected to describe a death as miraculous, but it truly was. God’s hand was so evidently working to make things happen the way they did!
Here’s the list of things we have noticed, and I’m sure there are even more that will become evident as time progresses:
- We weren’t in California.
- We bought the trip insurance for the first time ever, ensuring that we would get our money back from our cancelled flights to and from California, which made it easier to choose to stay home.
- We weren’t in the van, driving back to Pennsylvania from California.
- We were home. Together.
- She came back to say goodbye and to give us peace with her second passing.
- She went peacefully, in her sleep.
- We didn’t have to invoke the DNR and make the choice to let her pass. God did it.
- My parents were here and not in California.
- We spent the week together traveling – something we all love – and were able to create new memories with her.
- Brennan was with her constantly for nine full days before she passed.
- We never had to adjust to home nursing, which would have been a mixed blessing.
- I took many photos of her during her last days of life on earth because I was so excited about my new camera.
- She never knew sickness – not even a cold.
- She never greatly suffered.
- She wasn’t on any pain medications like morphine or valium – only a low dose of gabapentin. She wasn’t in pain.
- She was only hospitalized once, and that was to stabilize sodium, nothing intrusive.
God chose Brennan and me to be Tori’s parents. What an amazing, humbling honor. He could have given her to anyone, but He chose us. We are so thankful for that.
Tori’s story started on Easter Sunday 2009, when Brennan and I met at church. Her earthly life ended on Easter Sunday 2016. ❤
We have heard from a couple of people that the Holy Spirit was at work at the time she passed:
I wanted to write you a quick message as something quite unexpected happened yesterday. As I was sitting in church (before hearing the news) I was praying for Tori…and suddenly had a glimpse of her as a resurrected self. In that moment, I sat in awe of Christ’s hope, but had no idea how present it was.
Our church starts at 9:00am and this past Sunday it started a little late. Our daughter, who never talks about Tori but has known the whole story since she was diagnosed, saw Tori’s name on our prayer list, where it has been for over a year. She said, “It’s so nice that we pray for Tori. Don’t worry, she will be okay, Mommy.” After church, as we headed to my parents, I received the text of Tori’s departure.
One thing I realized last night was that I believe my tendinitis – which I developed suddenly about two months ago – served a greater purpose than I realized.
I developed tendinitis in my left arm from sitting and holding her for many hours each day. It got so bad that I could barely grab a water bottle, and so weak that it was difficult to hold her head up. Because of this, I was forced to lay her on her pillow more frequently in order to alleviate the pain. In the past two months, I gradually held her less and less.
I truly believe God was preparing me to never hold her again.
For these things – and more – we are so thankful. We cannot help but praise the One who made her, the One who so evidently put all of this into place in His perfect timing. His Word is yet again proving to be true: “the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10).
I have long been taught that thankfulness is the antidote to anger, jealousy, bitterness, and other such attitudes. This week I have learned that thankfulness can also lessen the blow of deep sorrow.
We will – and do – have moments of sorrow as we miss her presence here with us, but we stand in awe of our loving and gracious God who so perfectly arranged all of these details so that we could find peace in her passing.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
– Psalm 139:16 –