I am saddened to write that my father-in-law, David, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer early this morning at 4:12am. His family was at his bedside when he peacefully passed on.
It goes without saying that our hearts are heavy tonight. He was taken much too soon by a devestating disease that takes the lives of way too many. As we have researched pancreatic cancer since his diagnosis, it was so troubling to find that few, if any advances, have been made in the last 20 years. It was a virtual death sentence then, and barring some miracles, it's pretty much a death sentence now. How crushing.
I will miss Matt's father so much. He was loved by so many -- the outpouring of support in Matt's hometown has been nothing short of amazing. His parents have such an incredible group of close friends, which will be even more important in the coming days. Matt's mom has been doing amazingly well under the circumstances. I have been just blown away by her strength and courage through all of this. I know God has just been holding her in the palm of His Hand - there's no doubt about that. Matt is hanging in there as well and is just being "Matt" - what can I say? His resilience and character during times of adversity is inspiring.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Matt and I have walked this journey together - we lost my father 3 years ago in very similar circumstances and pretty much just as quickly as we lost David. Nothing ever fully prepares you for moments in time like this - but we are able to draw on some of the experiences of my dad's passing. And while recognizing that the road is tough, we know we will get through it. Our dads would want nothing less than our happiness and our smiles through our tears.
Our fathers were wonderful, wonderful people. It breaks my heart to know that our babies will never physically meet their grandaddies - but they will know them. They will know them through our stories, through our pictures, and best of all, through us just being us. We would not be the people we are today without our dads. Our lives have been immeasurably shaped and molded by all of the things they taught us. How lucky we are to have had them both here. We are especially grateful that God provided time for us to tell David that he was going to have his first grandson and another granddaughter. He had been waiting for that call and we had just prayed he would make it to find out with us. We were also able to share with him that our grandson will be his namesake, "Ryan David". Moments we will treasure forever.
I realize now more than ever that the legacy of our lives here on Earth are not formed by the luxury cars we were able to buy or the amount of money we were able to make in our lifetimes. Our truest legacy, the one that survives, is who we leave behind to treasure the memories and tell our stories. The families, the friends, all who loved you while you were here. That's what makes the indelible mark in people's lives. And that's what makes for truly a "life lived well". By those standards, Dave had the richest life you could ask for - a devoted wife, loving and well-adjusted children, hundreds of close friends --- all of whom will recall "Dave stories" for the rest of their lives. Wouldn't have it any other way. And of course, Matthew is one of those greatest legacies of David -and one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I am eternally grateful to Dave for raising such an amazing son who turned out to be a great man and husband.
Love you, David. Give my dad a hug for us. I can just see them now, up there in heaven, sarcasm flashing and Aggie jokes flying. Good times.
In Memory of:
David Ralph Clanahan
Feb. 3rd, 1947 - Jan. 31, 2010
"A Life Well Lived"
Thank you to all of my sweet friends who have emailed, called or "facebooked" me since his passing. Your prayers of support have meant so much to Matt and I both. We love you all.
In His Hands,