Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Blog

I am now posting at, where I blog about the memories and hope, while grieving and persevering through the journey of life, that involves the painful loss of a dearly and much loved man.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New Mode

New Mode

Yesterday was one month since Wayne passed away.

Only one month.  

Diagnosed only 4 months and 17 days ago; with one of those months in an intensive medical situation.

Many have commented on our strength during the journey, during the time in the hospital, and during the funeral. I felt that was my job in providing comfort to others.  I felt this nudge to share the story, to be emotionally strong, as well as knowing the opportunity and call to share God with others during that time.  I think about the testimony I gave, the arrangements I planned, the questions and lists that I formed, and know that was not the "usual me".  

God, and your prayers to Him, lifted me up to have the courage and words to do those things.  To take care of details.  But now it all falls away, and at times the grief comes stronger and the reality of this new life can be looming.  Sometimes, it just feels unreal, like a dream that I cannot awake from.  I cannot ignore the reality, and the reality hits hard.

My son and I are missing Dadda so much, especially in the daily things.  We find comfort in just talking and spending quality time together.  I find that I can handle one major task today.  The task usually involves something I would have talked to my husband about, that would require him to be my partner alongside me, helping me complete or decide about the task.  Or, it is a task I must complete because he has passed away.  I have to prove, or tell a person, the evidence that my husband has passed away.  It can be exhausting, to be honest.

Sometimes the "what-ifs" come in, and I know they are useless.  I cannot change anything.  As much as I want to jump into a time machine and love more, be more, do more, I know that I can still do those in the present.  Grieving helps me get there.  Grieving is allowing me to see beauty in each day, things to be thankful for amongst the pain of loss.  When I cry, whether I'm alone, in a crowd of strangers, or with someone I know, there is grace and love there too.

I started reading about grief for both adults and children, and am comforted to know that there is no schedule to follow, or length of time to grieve.  Grieving can be a long and deep process.  There is no "right way" to do it, other than to allow yourself to actually grieve.  And that to allow oneself to grieve, rather than stuffing it down, is allowing yourself to heal.  This grieving will strengthen us over time.  

People have commented on my crying, perhaps surprised by it because I was holding it in before.   Maybe the surprise is because they do not know how to comfort me.  But, I ask you, let me cry, and please do not tell me to "just be strong";  my crying is not a weakness.  I know you care about us and want what is best for us.  You do not have to hug me, say anything, or do anything, unless you feel called to do so.  Grieving is not just tears but remembering, talking it out, being alone, finding comfort, journaling, and spending time with family.  This is how I must process this new mode of life.

Many of you send me messages of love, and please, I hope you understand that you do provide comfort.  I do not always have a response for you.  But, I know you're there.  Thank you for your prayers.

It is my hope that I am still sharing the promise of hope and grace of God, but for now, I am doing that in a new mode.  Wrapped in His arms, grieving, because it is necessary to my and my son's growth and well-being. 

Reflection Verse:

Then Jesus wept. (John 11:35 NLT)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Marching Band Trip

Marching Band Trip

Today is the day the high school students go on a Marching Band trip.  I think of the empty bus seat; the empty hotel bed; the sense that someone is missing from the group.

I think of the months (a year) of planning, excited conversations between directors and between students, preparations and rehearsals; feeling motivated to produce high quality music for others as a team.  Bonding and making new memories.

I always missed Wayne when he went on these trips, wishing I could come along; thinking ahead to the band trips our son would eventually be able to go on with Dadda, and the fun they would have together.  Wayne would come home and share fun stories, bring souvenirs, and make plans to go back and visit the destination as a family some day.

I recall when the other band director talked at the funeral about the conversations he and Wayne would have on these trips, and just how nice it can be to talk about music and share that passion.

That passion for music, drove Wayne to model to his students, how to strive for a level of a superior quality of music.  My husband's main job was teaching elementary band, starting students on their musical journey, but he enjoyed working with all levels.  He could see the growth of students as they progressed to the High School.  He was so incredibly proud of them and the musicians they were becoming.  I know that he wanted them to continue to love and play music, even when out of High School.

His passion is also why he continued to be active in community band groups.  He just loved to play and sing.  Music was not just a career, it was part of who he was.  I think it is special when your job is something that is your passion, your gift, your hobby, and part of who you are; something that you can be thankful for every day.  I am sure he is playing and singing in the the best band and chorus of all now; one that surpasses even our own musical understanding here on earth.  It must be absolutely glorious, beautiful, and uplifting; always.

God is passionate about us.  He loves every single one of us.  He loves us so much, that he sacrificed Jesus for us, so that we can be with him basking in that love, in eternity.  We need to open our hearts and know that truth, accepting Jesus into our hearts.  God gave each of us a gift, something to be passionate about here on earth.  Share it, use it, and if you are unsure of what your gift is -  pray and trust, and God will bring it to light.

Reflection Verses:

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.  This is my God, and I will praise him—my father’s God, and I will exalt him!  Exodus 15:2  (NLT)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gentle Breeze

Gentle Breeze

I have visited my husband's gravesite several times since his physical, earthly body entered the ground.  I like to take flowers; a rose (our flower), if possible.

I cry and although I know God hears me always, I find some comfort here; in the cemetery.  

Often when at my husband's gravesite, I have felt a gentle breeze and the sun has appeared from behind the clouds, warming my head and back.  It is comforting.  The sun seems to be where Wayne is, especially during this latest journey... the ICU outside trips, the Church during the service, the internment, and now at the gravesite.   I like to think this is a sign... God telling me that it will be okay.  He's got Wayne and all is well.  

Oh, how I miss him, though.  To feel his gentle touch, hug, embrace; to hear his gentle words; to see his gentle ways.  Thank you Lord for this gentle breeze; gentle warmth from the sun.

I am trying to listen to the gentle breezes in life, as my days threaten to spill into stormy, exhausting, grief-filled, decision-making days.   The breezes and the sun remind me to slow down, to appreciate and live in the moment.  Wait.  Listen.  Feel. 

Reflection Verses:

We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. (Job 37:21-23 NLT)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

With Him (excerpts)

With Him (excerpts)

I have blogged about the entire day that Wayne went to Heaven.  This was an incredibly personal day and all of the words and emotions are not ready quite ready to flow.  However, there are excerpts from this blogging here for you, remembering as we prepare ourselves for celebrating Jesus' resurrection.


I wanted to be with Wayne when it was time for him to go.  I had been with him for every other event in the ICU (as well as in every major event in our lives together), and I wanted to be with him when he left earth.  I wanted him to know that I was here.  Our son too had a bond where he felt that he could not leave Dadda's side; both of us feeling this urge to be near him.


We hold onto Wayne.  The nurses leave to give us privacy in our last moments together as a family of three.


We tell Dadda that we love him; that we will be okay; that we will miss him; and we understand it is time for him to go Home.  My son and I hold him, and I stroke the hair on Wayne's head.  I kiss his forehead.  

His pulse stops, and Adam turns to me, tears and amazement in his eyes ... even though Wayne could not physically speak ... and my son says "Dadda said my name.  ... '".  I tell him that is a gift from Dadda.  I pray he holds it and treasures it always.

My son and I then clung to and hugged each other and cried.  The room felt empty, yet peaceful, and my son then asked to leave.  We could feel that Wayne was not in there anymore.  I looked up, saying "good bye" and "I love you", picturing Wayne running barefoot and playing music.  Meeting Jesus.  Glorious.

My son goes to play in the lounge with nurses keeping an eye on him, and I call the funeral home.  I wait in the room with Wayne's body, sensing the emptiness of the room, packing things up, bowing my head.

The man from the funeral home comes, and though we have never met before, we hug.  I appreciated his compassion and caring; wondering if it is tough for him, being one of the first to see those grieving.   I help him and the nurses move Wayne's body to the stretcher; I wanted to help take care of it, helping it on it's journey home to our town.

A friend had arrived to drive us home, and we walked behind the stretcher to the parking lot.  My son asked if Dadda's body was inside the zippered bag, and I said yes, and we said good-bye.  

We arrived home to a house that had frozen in time, since we had left almost 3 weeks earlier, to go the hospital.  I stood at Wayne's desk - saw his handwriting, his to-do list, his books, his things, as if they were waiting; waiting for him.  

And, I cry.


This experience showed me that death itself is not scary; it can be peaceful and beautiful.  Missing Wayne is the most excruciating and painful part for me.  Being together in that moment is a memory that I will cling to, in order to heal from the pain of my loss; knowing the peace that transpired in that moment; the victory that is ours through Jesus, remembering that Wayne is now in a perfect place; with Him. 


Wayne was willing to suffer through chemotherapy treatments, pain, and complications in order to keep living out God's purpose, as well as living for his wife and son.  He bore the burden of this suffering with intentionality.  I want to assure you that Wayne did not suffer in those last moments and that his journey continues to serve as a Godly purpose.  As hard as that is to accept sometimes, for the purpose is not always clear to me, as the waves of emotions come and go like the tides, I know ultimately good will come from this.  I must rely on God and my faith in Him.

People that loved Jesus watched Him suffer on the cross; His pain in that moment was beyond our understanding, yet His death served a much greater purpose that saved us all.

Wayne wanted his earthly life to be a life intentionally serving God; fulfilling His purpose.  And, knowing the promise of being with Him; Jesus.

Reflection verses:

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. (1 Peter 1:3, 4 NLT)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm Still a Mrs.

I'm Still a Mrs.

I struggle when filling out forms.
I do not want to check the "widow" box.
I tear up when I have to leave the "Spouse's Name" blank and empty.
The cards I write now have one less signature. 

In my heart, I'm still a Mrs.

Some people have sent me mail with Ms. on the front.
Some call me Ms. on the phone after they hear that my husband passed away.  
Some are unsure of what to call me; I can tell.

Please ... I like to still be called "Mrs."

Some have addressed cards to me "Mrs. Wayne Burlison", an older, formal way to address, and I love it.  I love seeing his name intertwined with Mrs., reminding me that we belonged together.  I will still introduce myself as a Mrs. in my work.  My wedding and family rings stay on, and I will refer to Wayne as my husband, even if it is in past tense.

Marriage to Wayne was not something that I took for granted; it was and is a gift.  The laws of marriage may not apply to me anymore, but even in death, I want my life to honor the promises and goals that we set out to do for each other, together, and as a family.  When I have decisions to make, I think about the conversations Wayne and I have had.  I pray.  I seek discernment and clarity.  I hope that I am using my God-given gifts and purpose.

I know I have a future of forms, leaving spots blank, marking new spots, indicating over and over that Wayne is no longer on earth as my husband.  

Jesus is my ultimate focus, but I will not ever forget the gift; that part of my earthly life was lived as a Mrs.  

Reflection Verses:

For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14 NLT)

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33 NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)

Monday, April 7, 2014

This is My Son

This Is My Son

We were married 7 years before God gave us the additional blessing of our son in our lives.

Wayne absolutely adored our son and found much joy in being a father.  He took his responsibility as a father seriously, and modeled to and taught him a life of Faith, integrity, love, responsibility, honesty, self discipline, and self control.  Nurturing and loving a child is such a wonderful gift. 

About a month after being born, our son was baptized.  Wayne loved to write and perform music, so he wrote and sang to our son at his Baptism on December 17, 2006.  If you attended Wayne's service, you heard the recording of him singing it.


This Is My Son
~By Wayne Burlison

With the innocence of Adam, I bring my son unto the Lord.
And though the devil wants him, his soul's been spoken for.
He is a gift from Heaven, from God who reigns in love;
And he'll always have the Father's Love ...

This is my son
and I love him.
This is my son
with him I'm pleased;
This is my son;
hold him Jesus.
And he'll always have his Father's love

When Noah took his family, and set out upon the Ark,
They knew not what would greet them, as they sailed into the dark.
I know not what we're in for, but my son will know the Lord.
And, he'll always have his Father's love.


In the water and the Spirit, my son will bow before the King.

And hear the angel voices, with hosannas that they sing!
We stand before the altar, precious lamb and perfect love.
We will always have our Father's love.


He'll always have his Father's love!


We are all sons and daughters of Christ; and we are loved.  How wonderful that Wayne can bow before the King, hear the angels sing, and be in His perfect love.

Reflection Verses:

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. (Proverbs 1:8, 9 NLT)

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. (1 John 4:9-17 NLT)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Waves of Grief

Waves of Grief

As each moment passes by, the grief comes in waves, like those of when we have gone to the beach.  Some lightly brush against your ankles, while others nearly wipe you off your feet.  

During the day, when to-do lists and care taking of my son take place, little waves ripple in.  I might have tears in my eyes or a shaky voice.  Sometimes I appear to be okay, but I am pushing the waves back in those moments.  Usually the waves are strongest when I am faced with yet another decision that I would have discussed with my husband, when I am alone, or in the darkness of my home at night; when I feel the absence of my husband as I try to sleep.  Wayne was a night person and would often talk to me to help me sleep, and now the TV poorly serves that purpose.  I find my pillow tear-stained and wet, my head aches, my stomach in a ball of knots, until I eventually fall asleep.

I know that you may be grieving too.  Your memories of Wayne are different than mine, but I can't help but feel that my memories of Wayne are all-encompassing of whom I am, and are much different than yours, deeper reaching into my heart and mind.  Your journey through grieving will be different, as it should be.

I have known Wayne since 1995, when we met in college and started dating that Fall.  We spent all of our time in between classes together, and then we married the summer we graduated.  Our 15th wedding anniversary would have been this summer of 2014.  We have worked in the same places together, worshipped together, and weekends were spent together.  We simply went together as much as we could.  Wayne would call or text me to tell me when he was on his way home from a practice or meeting, even if only 5 minutes away.  He would map out his runs and share them online, so I could know where he was if I needed him.  We would plan our weekly meals out, discuss our finances, plan fun family events, and snuggle on the couch watching favorite shows.

We truly were made for each other; and I believe God placed us together.  Wayne was my confidant, who knew me in intimate ways that no other earthly person could.  He knew what I needed before I needed it, he knew what to say to comfort me in times of stress or anxiety, he knew when my neck needed to be rubbed, he knew everything about me - no secrets.  And now, I do not have that anymore.  

The stores, my workplace, my husband's friends, food, music, venues, hospitals, my home, have memories of Wayne connected to them - they are literally everywhere.  His possessions, dresser, desk drawers, and closet are frozen in time.  I've cried in the phone store because I had to change the service on his phone, and I teared up at the mall when my son ordered his usual soft pretzel.  I carry his death certificate with me because I have to prove to business people that he is gone; I see his handwriting and I brush my fingers over it; I hold his hairbrush in my hands; I cry at praise songs on the radio because they were also sung by Wayne.  

I cry when my son comforts me with a hug and kiss, just like Dadda.  Sometimes I call my son "Wayne" or I talk to Wayne in the house, forgetting he is not right there.  I cry at the thought that my son, instilled with a love of God and Dadda's integrity, will still grow up without his earthly father to guide him.  Wayne was truly a part of me; infused and entwined in such a way that I now feel incomplete.  No other person can provide that for me.

The tears fall and my chest hurts.  This is a lonely journey, for even though you are praying for and walking by my side, this loss is very deep and personal, for I knew him also in ways that you did not.  I miss him and no distraction can take away that feeling of loss; it is now mine to carry; and yet I refuse to forget the honor, and grace, and integrity in the way that Wayne lived his earthly life.  

I am still a mother, and am allowing my child time to grieve and adjust as well, as well as trying to give him normalcy in our daily activities.  I focus my energy on his well-being.  I also need to pray; to mourn; to just be.  

I know this grieving process will take time.  The memories will always be there, but perhaps they will not feel so painful someday.  Many of you will move on, and parts of this journey may become a distant memory to you.  For me, it will forever be in my life story.  I know that I need help, perhaps from someone that does not know Wayne.  I need to share without this person grieving alongside me, causing me to extend comfort, but instead seeing and celebrating the hope and love in Wayne's life, comforting and encouraging me on.  My son will need help too - guidance in holding his Faith, his love of God, and the bond that he and I will always have with Dadda.

I also think that perhaps this pain, this loss, is so that another can have light instilled in him or her.  If so, let it be.  I will carry this burden; which is really carried by God.  This loss is not something to just get over; it is part of my journey.  Perhaps understanding my grief; detaching from things out there and attaching inwardly to Jesus, will help me to heal from the pain, to remember, and to live a life glorifying to God; to allow the waves to come, yet keeping my feet firmly planted.  Hope is there; hope perseveres.

Reflection Verses:

The floods have risen up, O Lord.  The floods have roared like thunder; the floods have lifted their pounding waves.  But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore—the Lord above is mightier than these!(Psalms 93:3-4 NLT)

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15 NIV)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NIV)

Thursday, April 3, 2014



I had not left my husband's side, and had not been home in weeks.  I had been living in the ICU and in Hospice Care with Wayne.  

While Wayne is now living in Eternal Life, healed and restored, I came home to a house full of memories, with exhaustion, physical pain, and a broken heart.

I had to go into a different mental mode when I came home.  Not a time to grieve, but to plan - writing an obituary, deciding when to have calling hours, choosing which casket and which plot, helping with service details in how to best honor Wayne, giving my own testimony, when to have internment, and so on.   My sister moved in for a few days to help, distracting me, and entertaining and caring for my child.


After decisions were made, first came the calling hours at our home Church.  Seeing my husband's conducting baton, tied to a music stand, brought tears to my eyes.  That baton was held in his gentle hands, connected to Wayne, helping him to guide others in music.  There was a beautiful large poster board print of our family, with our arms entwined around each other forming a heart; smiles on our faces.  Posters, banners, cards, and notes from students past and present were on the walls.  A slideshow of photos and drum corps videos played.  Beautiful flowers surrounded the front by my husband's open casket.  

My 7 year old son and I walked up to Dadda's earthly body, and my son patted his arm.  He asked to touch Dadda's skin, and he remarked that it was cold.  He knows this body is only a shell, wrapped in Dadda's recital suit from his college days.

As I waited in the receiving line, I heard "I'm sorry", or "It's not fair", or "He was so young".  And, here I was, trying to smile, be a light, and doing my best to comfort you.  I am glad to have served you in this way, and perhaps your statements have some truth to them, because I know you hurt and miss him too.

My husband would have said:

"There is nothing to be sorry for, because you did not cause this."

"Maybe it seems unfair, but if not me, then who?"

"Jesus was young when he died, and His suffering gave us eternal life.  There is purpose, even in suffering."

I could not bring these words to you then, for I could only mutter "Thank you", or "Thank you for coming", but here they are now, for these are truth to me.  My heart still hurts, but I know that Wayne is eternally healed.

After calling hours were over and we had prayed, my son and I had a private moment in Church. We touched Dadda's body again, and then my son chose to help the funeral director lower Dadda's body and lock the casket.  What an incredibly faithful and obedient kid.  


The next day was the service - a service of honoring Wayne.  My son and I were two of the pallbearers that brought the casket in and out.  Again, what an inspiring, faith-filled kid he is.  The casket was heavy.  But, by allowing him to be a part of taking care of Dadda and his family, I know this will give us memories to help us heal our hurting hearts.

I had always known that Wayne had wanted a drum corps to play at his funeral, but during brief moments of communication in the hospital, we were able to further discuss what else he wanted.  Wayne had a hand in what the service would be like.  This was a service of musical celebration and remembrance, and a service of sharing and telling about God and His promises.   

We had to use another Church because we knew that Wayne's impact on the community and more, would fill more seats than our home Church could handle.  So, we were in a Church with large stained glass windows, a balcony, and high ceilings, setting the stage for that classic "Church sound"; an environment that allows notes to echo and bounce to each listener.  There was a praise band, drum corps ensemble, an acoustic guitar with song, a Euphonium solo accompanied by piano, audio clips of Wayne singing a solo, and another of a song that he wrote and sang for our son's baptism.  All of the music held a special significance in relation to Wayne.  

There were video testimonies of Wayne's impact in others' lives.  The pastor's message was a reminder of the promise of eternal life, and that we need to make that intentional choice to follow Jesus, just as Wayne did.  

It was all beautiful, as my son leaned against me, tears in our eyes.  But, especially beautiful was the scene, that many told about from further back in the Church.  When the drum corps ensemble reached a melodious crescendo, the sun broke through, shining a gold spotlight into the Church.  Just like when we wheeled Wayne outside during our stay in the ICU,  the sun shone down on us, spreading the warmth and light of that moment.  Thank you God.


The next day was a private internment in the cemetery - the one that we as a family have spent time in - running, walking, and geocaching.  It has hills and historic monuments.  It is especially beautiful in the Fall.  

My son and I again were two of the pallbearers.  With our shoes crunching over snow still unmelted, and the wind casting a chilly breeze, the sun shone yet again.  I still had Dadda's coat in the van, so I wrapped it around my son.  He says, "I want to keep this coat, so that I can wear it and think of him."  I am wrapped in a blue blanket from the funeral home, and family sits with us on the chairs in front of the casket.  We read responsive words, pray, and say final good-byes.  

Wayne has played Amazing Grace at other funerals on the flute, and now it's his turn to be honored with this familiar, comforting tune.  The beautiful flute solo plays, holding it's tune, despite the cold air.  My son and I place single roses, wrapped with ribbons of blue and musical patterns on Dadda's casket.    Since we already said good-bye on the day Wayne died, I hold my son in front of it and say, "We miss you, and will hold you in our hearts forever."

As we head to our cars, my son says he wants to go back once more.  So, we walk, the two of us, back to Dadda's casket, and we tell him we love him.


And so now, here I sit, in the quietness, finally with time to grieve; reading thoughtful cards and messages; trying to write and express my emotion.  

And, yes, I am inwardly focused, focusing on my loss, my hurt, my feelings of emptiness.  But I know, for even when I am in this pain, God is still with me, letting me be human, letting these emotions out.  

I am in our house, where memories of Wayne come flooding in, because his presence still feels so very near.  God is here too, and we will wrap ourselves in His comfort, while we mourn for a while.

Many of you have offered to help.  Please be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone, not just me.  Do not just offer these words and wait to be asked, but act upon it.  Many of you have commented on my strength during this journey and that is Glory to God.  

And so I ask you, please pray for us, for the journey will continue, and at times the path seems quite unclear, and the strength feels as if it is faltering.  My grief clouds my mind and so for now, I rest.

Reflection Verses:

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NLT)
No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.  Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:18-20 NLT)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Purposeful Journey

Purposeful Journey

~~~ Today was Wayne's service.   Thank you for helping us to celebrate Wayne's life here on Earth, and his Eternal Life in Heaven.  A presentation was created with music and video clips.  Here is my portion. ~~~

On the day of the cancer diagnosis, Wayne knew and said that God will use this journey for a greater purpose. 

Many of you have followed along with us on this journey and you have also seen or heard of the ways this purpose has been and is still being fulfilled. I have shared about a nurse sharing his own testimony, a doctor asking questions about Christianity, praying with others in the hospital, and there is so much more.  This journey is not over yet... the purpose will continue.

2 Corinthians 4:13-18 (NLT) says:
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

No matter what the outcome is, there is purpose in the answer that God desires for us.  During what seems to be an intense and challenging journey, I have found that prayer changes the person praying as well.  And, we hope that you too are changed, that you have a deeper relationship with Jesus, and that you intentionally choose to follow Him.  That is Wayne's and my desire for you.  When things are tough, do not fall away from God, but press into Him deeper. That is where you will find the strength, the hope, the love.

My husband, my best friend, has felt called in his earthly life to reach out to others.  It may be through Tim Horton's coffee get togethers, music, his job and work, running, and just by being a man, husband, and father, that loves Jesus.  Throughout his life, Wayne has just chosen to do what he has been felt led to do, and that the glory of this is for God. I know it is his hope that you have seen the love of Jesus through him, and that you too follow the call of your purpose and gifts of this life; giving glory to God ... intentionally choosing to follow Jesus, living a life of integrity and love.

Wayne insisted on bringing his devotional called "My Utmost for His Highest", by Oswald Chambers, with us to the hospital on the night we came in.  I have read each day to him from it, and on Monday, March 17th, when I read it, Wayne said to me "that's my life." Here is what it says:

~~~ (I do not have permission to quote this text, but it talks about evaluating yourself and living in such a way that your life is obedient and glorifying to God.) ~~~

I know that many of you have stories to share and I will read them all.  If you still have a story or encouraging word to share, please make sure you put it into the Memory container.  I encourage you to share what you wrote with each other in fellowship, in conversation, and in the weeks, and years to come.  Continue to spread the Word of God, the hope that is always there, and the promise of eternal life.  Your own life story will be unique; please share it.

Lastly, I want to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for your love, support, and prayers during this journey.  You are all a special part of my family, my heart.

2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) says:
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

For the Paper

For the Paper

Wayne Adam Burlison was born on October 2, 1977.  He went to worship, run, and play music with Jesus, on March 26, 2014.

Wayne was diagnosed with cancer in December 2013.  On the day he was diagnosed, he said that God would use this journey for a greater purpose, and we have seen that.  Wayne continued to work and spread light, loving his family, and persevering during that time.

Wayne was a man with a beautiful heart; a heart that follows God.  He was a man of integrity, with a passion for music; a teacher and guide, with a gentle disposition.

His involvement with a multitude of musical groups, in worship, conducting, playing, and teaching, allowed Wayne to share his passion, gift, and love of and for music.

Wayne also developed a passion for running.  He ran a marathon, and many other races, teaching, inspiring, and leading others to run.  He often ran back to help and encourage others to cross the finish line.

Wayne is a much loved man, father, son, best friend, and brother in Christ; setting an example that will forever be inspirational in our hearts.  We will continue to tell Wayne's story.  It is a story of hope, love, and grace.  His story will continue to be told by his wife: Lisa (Scherff) Burlison; son: Adam; Mother: Sara Burlison; Brother; William Burlison, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and all those that have shared in his gift of music, love for running, and fellowship in conversation.  Wayne is predeceased by his sister Lisa (Burlison) Lella; and his father; LeRoy Burlison.

Wayne now has crossed the finish line into eternity; playing music in perfect harmonious pitch, running barefoot; a healed and renewed soul. 

Wayne's desire for you is that you live a life of integrity with a heart for God, and a love for all, appreciating the blessings of each precious moment.  John 10: 27 (NIV): "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  2 Corinthians 4:13-18 (NLT):  'But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.'

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Never Ending

Never Ending

3/26/14; evening

Dear Friends & Loved Ones,

It is time to say good bye for now. 

Wayne, my husband - a father, brother, and friend - has gone home to be with his Creator, where he now can enjoy the promise of eternal life in Heaven.  

He will be deeply missed here on Earth, but my memories of him are forever in my heart.  When we married, we became one, and Wayne's impact of and in my life has changed me forever.  

Though my heart hurts at moving forward without him physically by my side, I press on so that I can continue his work; continue living like and sharing about Jesus; sharing the hope that perseveres; the grace that abounds; and the promise of eternal life.

This is also not the end of this blogging.  I feel called to write, to share, to express.  For now, I will pause and mourn and rest.  But, I will come back because there is more to tell; more to share; more; immeasurably more.

I love you.  Never ending.  Everlasting.

Reflection Verses:

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23 NLT)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV)

Monday, March 24, 2014



This has been a difficult couple of weeks.  We have been in the hospital 16 days.  My husband has made some miraculous gains and we have had some time to communicate.  However, Wayne's physical body is still weak, and an "emotional roller coaster" is the best way to describe this journey.

Our focus has been comfort and healing. Please forgive me for not sharing all information.  I felt it was in the best interest of our family's privacy, and we truly have not known what to expect each day.  Wayne has surprised the doctors, and each day here has had a very distinct purpose or memory that will be remembered and cherished.  Wayne has shared God, even without the use of words.  

The past few days Wayne has slept most of the time.  He barely communicates, if at all.  His lungs still have fluid in them, his kidneys are not working so fluids build up in his body, his stomach does not digest food, and the cancer (which is not treatable anymore) is growing.  Wayne does not want you to see him this way.  I know he wants you to remember him running, conducting, playing, praising, and showing that smirky smile that we all love.

The hospital is a very noisy place.  It is hard to rest and to feel at peace.  People are in and out of the room day and night. Wayne was told that he could not go home because of the ventilator, so we brought home to him in the hospital.  

After talk with the care team, we decided to try and see if Wayne could breathe on his own off of the ventilator.  (He had shown this capability during short tests.)  If he could do this well enough, then we could take the chance of moving to a quieter location, so that Wayne's body could let go according to God's timing, and not ours.  
The hospital family has become our extended family.  Nurses and doctors from other floors came to see us, kiss and hug us, and send us off in the ambulance.  They brought us juice, coffee, and treats.  This is a special moment because we can celebrate our forever bond and memories of these 16 days together.  We can celebrate Wayne and the journey.

By the Grace of God, we have been able to transport Wayne to a hospice location, and so far he is maintaining his breath.  From this point on we do not know how much of this precious time we have left. 

The past 16 days have been so busy that we have not had peaceful rest or family time.  It is for this reason that we ask to have no visitors.  We know you love us and want to help.  So, we ask you to pray for comfort and rest.  Pray that our family time is quiet and special.  Pray for the hospice staff that cares for us, and that they too see God's work in all of this.

For now, I will be quiet.  No blogging, no writing, no phone calls, no texts. I am with my husband and son; for this is precious time.  I will come back when there is more to tell.

Goodnight and love to you all.

Reflection Verses:

After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. (Mark 6:46 NIV)

...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV)

Sunday, March 23, 2014



Wayne had the opportunity to go outside a second time.  So, the hospital staff again organized and gathered people together to make this happen.  This time portable heaters were added.  And again, the sun came out from behind the clouds during our visit to the Healing Garden.  

While we stood in and breathed in the crisp air, my son walked around with the child life specialist, reading all of the signs for the plants that Spring promises.  Hidden seeds and bulbs of treasures yet to bloom.  During this exploration he found a golden dollar coin.  Then, when we returned to the room, the respiratory therapist (who wears green scrubs) "magically" doubles the coin for him.  My son ponders if this man could indeed be a leprechaun.  He is excited about this treasure, and makes plans for these two coins on where and how to treasure them.

This experience at the hospital is something to treasure too.  I treasure the time our family spends together here. Every moment is precious.  The nurses have brought me things - coffee, home cooked food, access to the staff locker room so I can shower, hugs, compassion.  And, I treasure these people.  They have become my friends, and will always be a part of my heart.  

It is my hope that our time here has also planted seeds in the hearts of many; bringing forth more treasures to come.

Reflection Verses:

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2, 3 NLT)

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Matthew 6:21 NLT)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mountains and Valleys

Mountains and Valleys

Mountains and valleys have come up in Scripture quite often in my devotions and readings over the past few months.  We traveled through them on our trip to Florida, but we do not have any in the area where we live.  My husband is originally from an area that is mountainous, and I have enjoyed traveling there in the Fall, with the slopes covered in oranges, reds, and yellows.  I have one particular memory where I was there in the winter and my station wagon struggled to get up a hillside.

I have never climbed a mountain, but I have climbed steep hills.  On the way up you lean forward, maybe grabbing the earth for support, your legs pushing the weight of you forward and up.  You exert yourself, taking deep breaths.  Once you get to the top you can look around and see more.  You can see what you have overcome and accomplished.  You can also see the valley.  This valley is nourished by the rain water that has washed down the side of the mountain and it has caused growth of various lush vegetation.

If the land was flat perhaps the journey would be easier.  But, because the mountain nourishes the valley; when the mountain is climbed, growth, perspective, and change occur.  The mountain and valley work together and it is good.  The mountain is a way out of the valley, even if the climb is difficult.  If I tried to take a short cut going through the mountain, the required journey won't take place and growth might not happen as it should.  The mountain is necessary to the journey.  It provides that essential water, nourishment, and growth.

There are mountains and valleys of life, of emotions, of relationships, of health, of days.  My husband's journey with cancer has certainly been filled with mountains and valleys.  My husband, myself, and our son are climbing this difficult mountain, but we can look back and see that it is good; that God provides what we need in order to grow; He nourishes us.

Reflection Verses:

Psalm 104 (NIV)
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.
He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.
10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
    the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
    the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.
24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
    to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
    they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
    they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
    they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.