If you don’t follow the posts on Caring Bridge . . . Samuel has taken a turn for the worse. He has been getting weaker and vomiting occasionally. Today he began vomiting more and then his speech slurred, making it frustrating for him to communicate. Brent has taken him to the hospital where he is currently getting an MRI and has been admitted at least for the night. Samuel stopped talking, but can respond to yes/no questions. He has indicated he is not in pain. We’re thankful for that.
Please pray for the medical team as they meet tomorrow and decide on the next course of action for Samuel. Pray that he will be able to come home and be surrounded by family.
It’s been a very emotional day, but tonight, just after we prayed with Brent on the phone, George’s brother Jim sent this picture of the sunset in CO, reminding us of our glorious God. He is our Refuge.
Thank you for caring and praying. Some of you know that George’s mother, Marilyn (Teddy), fell last Monday morning and broke her pelvis. She’s still in pain and it will take time to heal, but she’s showing some improvement. And Hal had another stint in the hospital, on a morphine pump for 4 days to control his pain. The Lord made it possible for him to go home – another merciful miracle.
So, it’s been quite a week. We’re thankful for the blessings of family and church and so many friends like you who are praying. Our Shepherd is WITH us in the “valley of the shadow of death.”
Trusting His mercy,
George & Kathy
Again, many of you follow on Caring Bridge where there is more detail and Brent and Susan express so eloquently what they as a family are going through. But we want to communicate faithfully with all of you who have traveled with us for so long, and we appreciate more than we can say your upholding all of us with your prayers during this time. We are finding that it is an incredibly challenging and painful time, yes, but also sacred in a way that’s only possible with the Lord. Who can explain how wrenching grief and unshakable joy can co-exist? We can’t begin to understand, but we are experiencing it. Samuel belongs to Jesus, and He is carrying him across the river, through that transition from the land of the dying to his eternal Home where he will be completely and forever HEALED.
Brent and Susan are both spending most of their time at the hospital now, keeping watch by Samuel’s bedside. The cancer is shutting down his body, but for now he continues to cling to physical life, though he has not been responsive to anything or anyone since Sunday night. Susan’s parents (John & Yarby Williams) and we are taking turns caring for the other kids — Lydia (11), TJ (9 1/2), Anna (8), Rachel (6), and Joshua (2) — now in 24-hour shifts. Pray for wisdom, strength (physical energy!) for us as grandparents, and that we’ll be able to pour love into each of these precious children who are losing their much-loved oldest brother. The kids’ hospice people have helped them with some projects to express their memories of Samuel and create some things for a legacy. We as a family are so grateful for all the medical people involved, who have been so kind and understanding, allowing the troop of siblings (down to little Joshua wearing his tiny mask) to visit their brother daily . . . and extended this to grandparents as well. We are so thankful!!
So, we’re saying our goodbyes day by day, reading Scripture, reminding Samuel of God’s promises and that we and so many others love him. Some have texted messages to him through Brent and Susan (which are read to him), and some family members have spoken their goodbyes over the phone as it is held close to him – including his great-grandmother for whom Samuel and his sister Lydia were often pew companions in church when other family members could not be there.
Speaking of whom . . . George’s Mom (Marilyn/Teddy) has begun healing from her fall on the 13th which broke her pelvis. She is doing physical therapy and making progress, but the road will be long. She still needs 24/7 care, provided by a CNA on weekdays with George’s two sisters and Kathy (when she is available) spending nights and weekends.
George’s brother Hal is home from the hospital with a new pain medication that has proved very helpful. He seems to be doing well for now. We appreciate continued prayer for him and his family. Theirs has been and continues to be a long, hard road.
Thank you for your prayers, and to many of you who have sent meaningful Scriptures, songs, and encouragement that help us stay focused on the Lord, our Good Shepherd.
In His hands, trusting through tears,
George & Kathy
Dear wonderful friends,
Samuel is with Jesus. Pray especially for Brent and Susan and his siblings: Lydia, TJ (Thomas), Anna, Rachel, and Joshua.
With grief and hope,
George & Kathy
Just a brief note to tell those who would like to know:
There will be a service at Calvary Church here in Charlotte for Samuel at 2 p.m. next Saturday, August 1. His body will then be buried in a private ceremony at Calvary after the funeral.
There will be no visitation because of COVID restrictions.
All are welcome to come to the service, just be aware that Calvary asks that everyone wear a mask and practice social distancing (ushers will make sure people are properly spaced). The service will also be live streamed at Calvary Church Live.
Thanks for your prayers for the family this week as many decisions are made. Pray for family members who will be traveling, including one of Susan’s sisters coming from England with her family.
We love and appreciate you,
George and Kathy
July 30, 2020
Dear Loved Ones who Care and Pray,
Thank you for your patience in loving our family during this time, caring and praying even when we haven’t been able to communicate much in recent days. It still seems so hard to believe that our precious Samuel, first of our grandchildren, only 12 years old, is no longer with us here on earth. Can it be that it’s only been five days since he left us and was welcomed into heaven? Feels like much longer!
After helping others in grief recognize that in times of trauma or great loss one can expect to experience disorientation, we are now ourselves finding that to be very true. Grief is so confusing! Tears come and go unbidden . . . we wander around sometimes wondering what to do next . . . it’s hard to think clearly, hard to focus. Even for us as parents and grandparents in this situation, we don’t always know where to go, what to be doing, how to best “be there” for Brent and Susan and their kids. Please pray for WISDOM for us in this, and please pray for moment-by-moment STRENGTH and GUIDANCE for them in the many decisions they’re having to make this week (painful decisions like choosing a grave site and planning the funeral service).
But in the midst of tears and confusion, when emotions overwhelm us and the enemy seeks to strike us down, our Sovereign Lord shines light into the darkness and proves Himself forever FAITHFUL and MERCIFUL. We have been watching for and noting down the “mercies” of God in this journey of cancer with Samuel. (Perhaps we’ll share that in an upcoming update; it’s already a fairly long list and keeps on growing.)
“The steadfast LOVE of the Lord never ceases; His MERCIES never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your FAITHFULNESS.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.'” (Lam. 3:22-24)
We realize that many of you who receive this are in different time zones or different countries, too far away to be with us this Saturday, the 1st August, for the service celebrating Samuel’s life. But we covet your prayers that it would truly be a joyful celebration, a great gift of praise to our God for the HOPE He gives, and a strong, clear witness to those who don’t yet know Christ.
Christ is our HOPE in life and death!
George & Kathy
P.S. — For those in the area, although we had said there would be no visitation (and that is the case at Calvary Church), it has since been decided that there WILL be visitation Friday, July 31st, from 4-6 PM at Heritage Funeral Home, 3700 Forest Lawn Drive, Matthew, NC 28104. Masks and physical distancing will be expected (including a limit of 50 people at a time in the building).
Dear faithful friends,
We have just put out a hard-copy prayer letter with pictures and a more complete write-up which you can download at this url: https://www.dropbox.com/
If you missed the service for Samuel Cail, you can still view it (including the slide show that was shown before the service) at this url: https://vimeo.com/443883706/
We are so thankful for your prayers and encouragement.
George and Kathy