December 30, 2009
I have been in California visiting family for the past few days. Actually, it’s more like I’ve been a bit passed out since I’ve arrived. Sleeping in, taking naps and basically resting. This is something I rarely do.
I had great plans of blogging the entire time I was here… but I believe that the best thing for me to do is to take advantage of the rare time when I can rest.
It has been ONE LONG YEAR….
I can’t even begin to try to sum up the year. In many ways, I’m actually still in shock as to what’s taken place. I still can’t believe at times… that my husband of 19 years is no longer with us. I get jolted into this reality with every holiday and birthday that comes along. The only way that seems fit to even begin go describe this new reality is… surreal… at best.
On March 3rd of this year… I thought everything was alright. We were told that the tumor that was removed from Peter’s sinus was completely dead tumor – no live cancer cells – and that the surrounding margins were totally clean. That was the most beautiful day of our lives. I remember all the texts I received from loved ones. Everyone was rejoicing in this good news for our family. I thought we had our happy ending…
But as most of you know. 3 months later, Peter got a call on his birthday, that changed our entire future.
The happy ending was over… and my family had to face saying goodbye.
Peter’s final earthly breath was taken on August 28th 2009 – at 9:00 am. I was with him in this final moment…
I was there when he left our world and entered another- and the truth is… I feel as though I live in 2 worlds ever since.
The reality of our world being temporary is so completely clear to me now… and the reality of an eternal world… of salvation.. of Heaven, of life beyond here, is with me every single day. It has never been more real!
When our journey with cancer started… I felt like I was given a promise. It was from John 10:10. “I have come that you might have LIFE… and life more abundant.” I thought that this was for Peter. That he would have LIFE thorough this ordeal. I was told by a good friend that the word believe… contained the word LIVE in it. This – is what I have held onto from the beginning. I have beLIeVEd for life for Peter the entire time.
And I don’t regret one moment of it. This was my assignment. But, what I have come to realize is that we don’t always understand God and His plan. The fulfilment of this promise did not come on this earth. It was actually fulfilled in Heaven instead. I honestly did not expect this… at all. I believed with everything in my being.. that Peter would have life HERE. Not there. Not yet anyway.
But that is exactly what occured. And I am faced with a choice. Bitterness or faith? Anger or acceptance. Both are viable – and real. Both understandible. Both are part of the process. But the truth is……
I know that Peter is alive. I know that he HAS LIFE. I know that his life now is more abundant than it has ever been. More abundant thanI can even begin to imagine. Peter knew where he was going. He knew Heaven was real. He read so much about it just before he crossed over to this place. The promise of LIFE I held onto – was fulfilled in eternity. And it is REAL.
I saw this in my dream. The only dream I have had of my husband.
He is alive. And we will see him again. That I know to my core. That is what gets me through. It is why I live in this world… yet completely understand that there is an eternal world that dominates my thinking so often now. It impacts how I live… even more. Everyday.
This is a wonderful place… and I love life just as much as the next person. But this life is short.. it is not eternal. And how we live here…. matters. How we live here effects eternity.
That is where my heart lives now. It lives In the moment – yet for eternity. It is how I always hope to live – from here on out. With the perspective that all I do now is always for a purpose. All I do… can impact others for good… that a light shined IS seen somehow.
Peter Pakulis was an exceptional man. A faithful loving husband and father, brother and son. A dear friend. An amazing doctor. Extremely intelligent, incredibly handsome, with a wonderful sense of humor. He possessed a beautiful and steadfast faith – and always tried to share what he knew with others. He was one of the hardest working people I have ever met. He was honest and fair and genuinely a down to earth kinda guy. NO airs – no pretensions… just Peter.
I am so proud of how he chose to walk out his journey with cancer. With courage, great faith and without a word of complaint.. ever. He simply continued to work hard, provide for his family and demonstrate heroic steadfastness and unselfishness.
He is alive now. Free. Healed and I guarantee – completely mesmerized by the new world in which he now lives. I would dare say that I believe there is a sadness he feels… to not be able to be with his children as they grow up and go through life… but one thing he wrote to a friend just before he passed is this:
“I have come to a semi peace with the children. They were God’s before He gave them to us, they have ultimately been His since He shared them with us, and they will also return to Him. Certainly there would be a void in their lives should I leave, but God can fill any void and can use what may have been designed for evil and make it good. And according to God’s eternal plan it may be that I am purposed to go home now. When I was 19 I fell through a gymnasium roof and broke my neck. If the trade off was 30 years of walking vs. life as a quadriplegic I would with a doubt take the 30 years. ”
I miss him so much some days I can’t even think straight! I have yet to be able to even sing yet at church. All that comes out of me every single week are tears. I can’t seem to get any words out. The worship leader has lost her voice. SO instead I lift my hands in worship and I weep. It is my offering. It is all I have to give for now.
But I KNOW – in the pain – where Peter is. I KNOW – the hope of salvation in and through this. I know that Peter has met his Savior Jesus – face to face. I KNOW my children have a legacy – a gift of faith - from their daddy that is more precious than gold itself. They witnessed great faith – in each day their dad lived with this thing called cancer. They saw real love and faith through it all. His life on earth… and the knowledge that he is ALIVE in heaven… will grow in their hearts for the rest of their lives.
That is what I must hold onto. This I believe… is our promise. And all that Peter would have hoped for.
As this year comes to an end, I wanted to honor my husband again. It is very hard for me to say goodbye to 2009. Hard for me to enter the new year without him. It is still so hard to say goodbye – despite all I know and all I believe.
So I hold onto the only thing I know… a bit of faith that tells me I will see Peter again someday. I will embrace him and see his smile once again. Until then…
I love you Peter!