Francis is now at peace and pain free. He passed away peacefully yesterday (Friday) afternoon here at home. It was perfect the way it happened and I was there by his side to hold his hand and tell him good-bye as he slipped away. It was just the way he wanted.
Despite the awareness of what was to come, the blow of his death has been intensely painful.
Our family and friends have been wonderful over the hours since his passing, and I can’t speak highly enough of Big Bend Hospice and our nurse and chaplain.
Ryan Fisher, a friend of mine from my DC days in then-Rep. Mike Pence’s office sent me an encouraging email yesterday. I read it to our chaplain and nurse after we prayed over Francis. I’ll share most of it here:
I was reading Psalm 23 in my Bible study this week and felt convicted to share a commentary, by 17th century minister Matthew Henry, with you.
Verse 4 is the famous line by King David that reads, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” The commentary I read stated this:
“It is death indeed that is before us; but, it is but the shadow of death; there is no substantial evil in it; the shadow of a serpent will not sting nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is the valley of the shadow, deep indeed, and dark, and dirty; but the valleys are fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God’s people.”
It’s an angle I had never really considered before…that is, it’s not nearly as scary as the shadow would have you believe because every one of us beats death just as Christ did. So in the epic battle of Francis v. The Shadow…the safe money is on Francis!
That shadow before Francis was terrifying for both of us. But, the event was a beautifully exquisite and perfectly reassuring moment that I will always cherish.
Our valley was indeed deep, dark, and dirty. But, it was so very, very fruitful.
I will miss Francis with every beat of my heart, but I am sustained by the fruit that we gathered and the faith that he is whole again.