Last night was a special night.  Some wonderful friends of ours, Paul and Faith Wyma, were in town visiting, staying with my mom.  Paul and Faith and my parents worked together as missionaries in the jungles of Bolivia where I grew up.  My family + our friend Louis, my brother Mark and sister-in-law Judy, my sister-in-law Julia and her kids, John and Meghann, Paul and Faith and my mom all gathered around the dinner table and were treated to wonderful THAI FOOD that Faith cooked for us! It was delicious.

The conversation was rich and memories flooded through like rays of sunshine creeping over the horizon, filling our hearts.  There was only one thing that clouded the evening for me – I missed my dad and my oldest brother who are both enjoying eternity now in heaven.  It’s funny how no matter how much time passes, sometimes the longing and pain of missing someone who has passed away is just as fresh as if they’d gone the day before.   I saw so much of my brother in his son, John, and was reminded how proud Howie would be of his now grown son.  John – you fill a room with God’s love wherever you are and your dad would be so proud of you!

Today I continue to reminisce about my dad and my brother and as I was looking for something on my computer, I stumbled across something I had written on my way home – we were taking Robbin, our oldest daughter to New York to get her settled into her dorm at Nyack College for her freshman year (she starts her senior year of college this fall – wow, time flies!) and along the way, the news reached us that my dad had passed away.  It was so hard to not be with my family at that time.  We’d had to make the hard decision of leaving, knowing that it was likely that my dad wouldn’t be able to make it until we returned.  I knew he’d want us to keep living, though, and would have encouraged us to go.

My dad’s last decade with us took a different turn than we expected, he journeyed through the disease of Alzheimer’s.  We learned a lot about each other as a family as we each walked through this journey with my dad.  We learned to treasure every word – they were soon gone – and every embrace – they also faded away – and every look that said “I know who you are” for soon that was taken from us too.  I remember the difficult day when Dad didn’t recognize me – with confusion he’d look at me, so I would just say, “It’s okay Dad, I know who YOU are and that’s all that matters!”  He remained gentle to the very end and somehow managed to still teach me so much even though he was no longer able to talk to me.  I’m so glad he’s free from the grips of this horrible disease, but I do miss him and always will. 

Here’s the tribute to my Dad that I wrote as I was driving across somewhere in Missouri on my way back home to be with my family.


How difficult it was to say goodbye

Both of us facing the ultimate road trip

Your destination was perfect –

Making it easier to bear

Knowing you’d be forever in His care


Driving across the country

Memories flooded my mind

How could your life be ending

The week Robbin’s new chapter

Was just beginning?


Hearing the news somewhere in Missouri

That God had gently taken you home –

It took all the courage I could find

But in rejoicing in the Lord

I found peace that is not of this world’s kind


Being away when you were buried

Was the most trying time ever

But reflecting on my Dad who is larger than life

Made the day one where I could see

That I was blessed beyond measure


Checking Robbin in to college

Filled with anxiety about leaving her

I had to think about the times that you

Filled with wisdom reminded me time and again

That God’s care would always be with her for sure


Now I am driving back on this ultimate road trip

I can’t stand the thought that you’re no longer there

So again I find my strength only in the Lord

Knowing that by your example

I can be filled with His joy and a peace only He will afford


Thanks Dad, for the life lessons

That even through your silence you gave

Your dignity always amazed me

It was a reflection of what was deep inside

Your relationship with Christ fills me with pride


I’ve always been awful with good byes

So instead I will just say until then

Until the day I most long for

Where no more sorrow awaits

I will trust in Him – for He alone knows when.


I love you Dad!


About cakboliv

Born in Cochabamba, Bolivia to wonderful missionary parents, Howard and Maxine Morarie. Grew up in Bolivia, both in a remote jungle village

One response »

  1. Stephanie says:

    That was beautifully written. Alzheimer’s is an awful disease but better for those left behind when we know without question that something better is on the other side of it. Your Dad certainly still shines through you. Thanks for sharing that piece of your heart.

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