Living {and Dying} Brave

Day #22

My daughter leaves for college today.  So I have asked another {BRAVE} writer to step in for me.  Today’s post comes from one of my most cherished friends, Laura Kramer.  Laura, has made my life richer, and deeper and strengthened me during my not-so-brave moments.  She is an amazing writer, and her vulnerability to share her journey allows others to not feel alone in theirs.

Grab a tissue.  This one will pull at your heart.  This one will encourage your BRAVE.

Lesley

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Hands.brave blog.jpg

His brilliant blue eyes locked onto mine.

I stood beside him as he lay quietly on the bed. I took his hand and held it gently. He spoke no words. These silent, yet tender moments were sweet and oh-so-holy. As I bent down to kiss him, the pendant on my necklace dropped down and bumped his face. He didn’t flinch— his gaze still upon me.

I stood back up. And without thinking—I undid the clasp, removed my necklace and set it on the glass shelf beside the bed.

I had worn that necklace everyday for six months. The word Fearless etched on the metal round pendant. The Lord gave me the name Fearless that year. Every morning I clasped the silver chain around my neck as a symbol of my identity in the Lord.

I am courageous. I am fearless. I am brave.

But I didn’t want to be fearless in this moment. I didn’t want to be anything brave or courageous. I just wanted to be a daughter to her dying daddy.

I bent down again to kiss my dad’s forehead. How many times did he do this with me? How many times did he kiss my forehead as I drifted off to sleep? And how many times would I do the same until he drifted off to a new kind of sleep—a heavenly sleep.

My bravest moments were not when I would take a stage, a microphone and speak to an audience. It wasn’t confessing my darkest secrets or even giving birth to my boys.

My bravest moment was watching my dad die.

It was almost six weeks earlier he was diagnosed with cancer. And now he lay on his bed without the ability to move or speak. But his eyes—his brilliant, blue eyes spoke such tenderness and love. I couldn’t stop looking into his eyes…for fear it would be my last time to see him look back at me.

For fear

Each day we wondered if it would be his last. I hoped and prayed I would be there by his side when he passed. But to be honest, I was scared. I’ve never known death. I’ve seen it from afar. I’ve been to funerals and cemeteries. I’ve read obituaries…but I’ve never seen death up close. I’ve never watched life cease.

Oh God. I can’t do this.

For fearfor fear of shattering to a thousand pieces upon watching him die.

And then a dear friend sent me a message. Just one word. One word she felt the Lord wanted me to hear.

Un-timid.

Un-timid? I felt the weight of the Lord on it, but I did not understand. I took a quick look at dad in his bed as I turned the corner to the next room. Don’t go while I’m away Dad. I needed a moment by myself to catch my breath and reflect on this word.

I opened my thesaurus and journal and wrote similar words to gain understanding:

Un-timid:

Confident

Courageous

Brave

Calm

FEARLESS.

And then all at once I knew what the Lord was telling me.

It was time.

It was time to be Fearless.

It was time to be Brave.

It was time to let my dad go. It was time to tell him I would be okay without him.

I made my way back to Dad’s bed, back to the glass shelf where the necklace rested. I carefully draped the chain around my neck—as though it were a delicate family heirloom. My fingers found the etched letters in the metal and rubbed over them. Fearless.

I. Am. Fearless. 

God was re-establishing his name for me. He was declaring who I am. And He was exhorting me—you can do this Courageous One. You can be fearless. You can be brave.

There is something about wearing a badge of bravery that empowers you to speak it over others.

And so I did.

You can do it Dad. You are brave. You are so very brave.

Two days later I spoke those words over and over to my dad. Dad was holding on—and it was time for him to be released. He needed the courage to let go. To be free. To fly. It is a brave thing to pass from one place to another—to go from what is known to the unknown.

And I believe—because God etched His fearless identity within me—I could then encourage Dad to be brave—and let go.

And he did.

Journal.brave blog

Laura Krämer is a beloved daughter of Mike Suchey, a wife and mommy of two boys. She chooses to be vulnerable with her soul journey with hope of others finding healing in God. You can visit her blog at http://laurakramerministries.wordpress.com

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9 thoughts on “Living {and Dying} Brave

  1. Beautiful and Brave. I have never had to face death up close, to literally watch someone I love die – because I was too scared. But thanks to your story, I fell I can be brave when that day may come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am printing this and keeping it tucked away.

    1. Thank you Sharon. I truly believe God gives fresh courage unique to each person and their situation. God is faithful to give you courage whenever you need it.

      Blessings to you on your Brave journey.

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