CindyFrench-stranger than fiction stories

about facing life with hope and confidence, no matter the diagnosis

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Today’s story

Posted by Cindy H French on 08/29/2009

After much egging on by friends, family and even 2 reporters! I am going

to share my life stories. Some will be present day, some will be from my

childhood-but they all have a link-God’s abiding Grace and Love and


Last night was the first night of our new GriefShare Ministry at our

Church. We had 15 people come who had recently-very recently-lost

loved ones to death. We had 2 hours of sharing their stories, getting

acquainted, watching a helping video and going over questions. All

of those 15 people came as a result of a wonderful newspaper article

that had been written by Michelle Bearden and published by the Tampa

Tribune on August 22. It was titled “Using Grief to Aid Others”. Using grief to aid others

I must say, I certainly didn’t expect the incredible response from hurting

people all over the Bay area! It seems that most people don’t know of

this wonderful ministry–any more than I did when I suffered loss.

I am the first born of 6 children. As such, I was very close to my mom

and dad. They were retired, living in assisted living after mom had

suffered a stroke. We saw them often, had then visit us often for several

days, and yes, I spoke with them mostly every day. I always knew that

they were THERE for me. I could call and ask for advice or prayer at any

time of the day, and they’d stop for me.

On November 5, 2008, my mom passed away. It wasn’t unexpected.

She had broken her leg earlier and from some reason that seemed to

heighten her dementia. So she stopped eating and drinking and 14 days

later, she died. But oh for the those 14 days, I was there every day.

Of course the rest of my precious family was there too. Everyone came

to say goodbye. But my sister and often my brother (who lived in the

same town) were there most of the time with me. We let our Dad come

for a portion of each day. But he was not in good health either and it is

very hard to sit for hours at a time, day after day in a nursing home

room. I would climb into bed with mom and up until the last 2 days of

her life, she’d put her arm around me.  Her only other response was

to purse her lips for a kiss. I would tell her how much I loved her and

what a great mom she had been. But I also told her to tell Jesus to come back

soon and get us-not to forget that one thing to say! And then I’d talk

about all those who had gone before that she would soon see and how

jealous I was that she was going to see Jesus first! Oh, she’d be seeing

my grandma, who had died when I was 12 and loved so much. I know

my mom said she missed her mother every day of her life since. Now I

know that feeling too. And she’d be seeing my niece and nephew, both

having died at 23 months, and my own lost 3 children to miscarriage.

I wouldn’t take anything for that time with my mom.

After her funeral, I brought my dad back to our home to stay for several

weeks. We had a good time with memories and tears but also talking

about the future. Dad was going to write another book and spent most

of his days working on it. I delighted in cooking his favorites and spoiling

him. We often spoke of my crazy life and he would say-“you need to write

it down”. But I always replied “my life is stranger than fiction. No one

would believe that all the things that I’ve been through have actually

happened to one person”.

When I took my dad back to his new apt at the assisted living facility, I

had him checked out first by his doctor, who assured him, he was doing

well and certainly not ready to die on us!

Exactly one week later, I received a call from my sister that my dad had

fallen and broken his hip. We also found out that the stress had led to a

heart attack. Needless to say, no one wanted to operate! But he was in

such pain! He begged for help! It was awful and we agreed to insist on

the surgery, regardless of what the outcome could be. No one can stay

in that state for long. After surgery, which amazingly he survived, he

was still in horrific pain. We had to be rather demanding with the ICU

people to get him enough meds. On Saturday night, the 13th, our

wonderful hospice mgr told us we could change his care–he was not

responding, his body was failing, but my sister and I couldn’t just pull

the plug! So we went home and prayed together, asking God to take the

decision out of our hands.

When we went in the next morning, the nurse who greeted us at the door

said, ” Your dad is going to die today. His heart began to fail in the night”.

I questioned her as to what that kind of death meant-essentially

drowning in one’s own blood. I asked that instead, they simply discon-

tinue his insulin as he was diabetic. That way, he would simply go to

sleep and into eternity. Dad died right after lunch time, very peacefully.

As I edit this nearly 3 years later, it is amazing to me how fresh the grief still  is –but that is

something you learn in GriefShare–that grieving takes time, sometimes more than that for others, but

you have to give it time. Being involved with GriefShare has been so wonderful for my own

healing. I can not recommend it enough.


2 Responses to “Today’s story”

  1. Marilou said

    It’s all good Cindy! I get to relive your life thru your words! Luv ya

  2. cshowers said

    Hi Cindy, I decided to begin reading your blogs, and I always like to start at the beginning, so I started with your oldest post. It really touched my heart. May the Lord richly bless you!

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