Tom Schaafsma's Journal
Final Entry- Day 40, Daily Thanksgiving
Written Nov 21, 2012 4:55pm
Thanksgiving Every Day
Definition: Thankfulness is a mental and/or verbal expression of one's acknowledgement and appreciation of God's person, His grace, Blessings, and sovereign work in one's life and the world. Think about that…
Today will be our final post regarding our journey that began on October 12th- now nearly 6 weeks ago. It is however not the end of our journey, but hopefully just the beginning of learning to live out GRATITUDE in daily lives. We do not want to forget this experience God allowed in our lives, but aim to be forever changed because of it. We so cherish and are humbled at what CaringBridge has meant to only us, but from what we hear, what it meant to many others. (over 10,000 visits to the website!) We may grieve it’s loss, but printed out the entries and put them in a notebook.
During all these weeks we have witnessed amazing things and can only THANK God for his Provision, but also THANK each one of you for your incredible love, support, prayers and words of encouragement. During the month we’ve been home, we have seen many of you out in the community or in our home, received emails and a shoebox of cards… We are staggered at how blessed we are to have friends, family and a community near and far who have wrapped their arms around us and shared in the Blessing this has become.
Specific to Tom’s progress, we can only marvel! He’s becoming much less dependent on pain medicine and grows in strength and endurance. He is walking over a mile a day! Short-term memory and focus are much better. We look forward to the day Tom can send his hospital bed back to Hospice and he hopes in the future to return to many of his previous endeavors. He continues to be oh so grateful and approaches nearly every day with amazing fortitude, optimism and hope. At the end of this entry are a few words Tom has written himself for this final post.
Needless to say, our family is feeling extra grateful this year as we come together to celebrate the holiday of THANKSGIVING! Here is a quote I recently came across- may each of us be moved to living a life of GRATUDE. May you and yours be especially blessed this day and begin to live out THANKSGIVING not just one day of the year, but each and every day.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,
and confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
Jacque has expressed our feelings so very well that it feels there is little to add, but to all those of you that have followed my progress through 'Caring Bridge', I want to extend me sincere appreciation. During the first week to 10 days, I had limited awareness of what was being done on my behalf by way of your prayers, thoughts and support of my family but as time went on and I became aware of the amazing concern and support that was being expressed though this wonderful medium, I was in awe. It was humbling beyond words to read of your concerns on my behalf. You truly are the hands and feet of a loving God and I am grateful to each one of you. It's impossible to put into words what it feels like to know that so many others are interceding on your behalf but be assured that it had a profound effect on my will to get past this. I only hope that I can be as faithful to others as you have been to me.
With deep appreciation, Tom
Saturday Morning: Day 22
Written Nov 3, 2012 12:45pm
If a picture can say 1000 words - note the picture we posted today! A friend came by yesterday and took this photo Tom and then emailed it to me. I’ve had to take several very long looks at it this morning, cry a little and then revel in how good this man looks!!! I was no fool 39 years ago! As the primary caregiver these past few weeks I can get lost in counting pills, scheduling appointments, planning a healthy meal, answering the phone or opening yet another hospital bill and easily loose sight of all this simple picture shows. Here is one content and grateful man, smiling at an old friend, holding his faithful dog. Tom is very aware that life is different, that he’s lacking his routines of Rotary, Hospice, solving business details, working on projects, the giving of himself in every arena. It’s hard to now be in a place of “receiving”, but it’s a place where we are right now. My sister spoke a few weeks ago of a future creating a “new normal” and that’s what we are crafting now. It doesn’t mean the new normal won’t change, but it is what it is right now. We continue to covet your prayers in this process and again express gratitude for the visits, the treats, the cards and the unfathomable love we are surrounded by from family and friends. We keep saying it, but we mean it --- thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
As a special thank you to all you locals - we will be pressing more apple cider tomorrow afternoon and would like to invite those who are able and interested to come up for a glass and say hello, we’d love to see you! If you have a few apples you’d like to press, bring them up along with an empty container and join in the festivities! This will be going on from 2:00-4:00 tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, Nov 3) at our house.
Tuesday Morning: Day 18
Written Oct 30, 2012 10:06amIt’s not yet light this morning, the banked-down fire in the wood stove still casts it’s amber glow, but the promise of morning begins to color in the Eastern sky. We are home- the reality still sinking in. It’s been a very busy transition but with the wonderful help of all our kids and generous friends we have made it. In addition, Ryan and Kelin’s continued daily presence into the near future is a comfort to us. This morning I was beginning to clean up some of the 446 emails in my in-box and kept coming across email after email of your words of encouragement. Then I went to the CaringBridge website and re-read more. We continue to be humbled by the outpouring of prayers, kindnesses and generosity.
Tom continues to progress and maintain good spirits despite the ongoing pain. We are grateful for medications that can keep the intensity at bay and for loans of Hospice equipment to make him more comfortable. He can get a bit overwhelmed with things he’s not able to do, but is slowly taking on more and more each day. You know Tom!
As the intensity of these past 2 ½ weeks begins to wane, I fight hard to hold close the enormity of what happened and the witness these past weeks have brought not only us but also others who were uplifted by the events. My greatest fear is that we will begin to forget what the Lord has done on our behalf; that the intensity of our dependency will dim in the routines of daily life. My prayer is that we live out gratitude and thanksgiving each day and not forget.
Psalm 103: 1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His holy name
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,
Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Our updates may stretch out longer between postings, but we will continue to inform you as Tom heals. May we be satisfied with each day and keep an eye out for eagles wafting in the fall sky.