NOTE: Five years ago today, my sister-in-law, Dee Dee, passed away at the age of 46 after her third battle with ovarian cancer. My wife, Angie, wrote a letter to her to catch her up on our family’s lives. Here is what she wrote as today’s guest blogger:
Dear Dee Dee:
We miss you. More than we could have ever imagined.
When you left us for Heaven five years ago today, it seemed as if the world stopped, and we didn’t think we could go on. Our lives were changed forever. But God somehow found a way to push us forward.
But in our minds, we still see you, hear you, feel you, and need you.
Blaine has probably missed you the most. He has become quite the Ohio State tailgate fan since you went away. He also found a way to memorialize you and to seal your legacy by starting the DDFaith Foundation. Every year, he and the girls work hard to make the DDFaith Memorial Gospel Concert successful to raise scholarship money for high school students of faith who are preparing to graduate. Karen Peck is always there, and so are Brittany & Kyle and several other singers. Thousands of dollars have been presented to a number of students in honor of you and your faith. He finished remodeling the house, and he is making new friends, but he still misses you terribly.
You would be so proud of your daughters. Ashley loves her job at a local school. She and Jordan sometimes help to babysit Andrea’s foster children, and they stayed by her side recently during Dylan’s trial that finally brought his murderers to justice. She still loves all things Disney and now helps others to fulfill their Disney dreams. Jordan is still at the plant, and of course, the two of them are still Michigan fans. But they always will be, so we accept it and keep loving them. They still miss you.
You would have loved Kyle and Brittany’s wedding, and we really wish you could have been there. Since you left, their music ministry has blossomed. They travel around the state using their talents to sing for Jesus, and they now have recorded a number of their beautiful songs. Brittany likes her teaching job much better than the last one, and Kyle has a new job at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. They bought a new house too, so life goes on, but they still miss you.
Then there’s Grace. I’m not sure if the angels told you, but she was probably tougher than all of us after you passed away. She was a beautiful Football Homecoming queen, and at the end of last year’s DDFaith concert, Jacob surprised her with a wedding proposal. She’s been very successful in her job at Amelia Gray, and she’s close to finishing up her marketing degree at Shawnee State. She also has a German Shepherd now–that probably would not have happened when you were still here. And then there was this past Sunday morning, when she clutched a picture of you as she walked to the alter and knelt to pray, and we cried and prayed too. We still see you in her eyes and in her smile. She still misses you.
Eli and Kylee got married, and can you believe that Gabe and Josh are both now married with kids? I know that made you smile. I wish their wives could have met you. You missed hearing the theme to Star Wars during Josh’s wedding processional, and now he and his wife have a precious baby girl named Karigan who began fighting for her life three weeks ago at a birth weight of less than two pounds. I’m sure you met her twin sister, Abigail, on Christmas Day and gave her a nice tour of Heaven. Someday, we’ll tell Karigan about you, and how you fought for your life too. We’ll tell her how you believed with everything you had that God was going to heal you, and you helped us to believe it too. We still believe in miracles.
I’m a grandma now, and I have to say it’s the best thing ever. And someday, I will tell my grand babies, Sophie and Joel, all about their Aunt Dee Dee when they ask me why Daddy’s license plate says “DDFaith.”
Our family gatherings pretty much start on time now that we’re not waiting for you to get there, and Grace has carried on the tradition of bringing the dirt pudding. But I would rather still be waiting on you.
Did you know that people have given their hearts to Christ since you left because of the seeds of faith that you planted while you were still here? Did you know that you inspired Del to write a book about your faith, sparking a desire within him to continue to write more stories about the lives of inspirational heroes? Yours was a story that needed to be told, and I hope someday the whole world knows about you and your special brand of DDFaith.
It’s a faith I never had until I saw it in you. It’s a faith that got me through my own strange months-long illness right after you left. It got me through the next year when I found out my career was over, and I had to find a new job. And it’s a faith that has brought me through many other tests and trials since then that I could have never survived without it.
I love and miss you, Dee Dee. Our family misses you so much, and our church misses you too. I still don’t know the reason that God allowed you to leave us, and I suppose I won’t know until I join you in Heaven some day. But a lot of good has happened here on earth because of you, and I know your life had a divine purpose. We will never forget.
See you soon.
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17, KJV)
Here is the link to the book, which features Dee Dee: Having Impossible Faith
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
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