Francis v. The Shadow

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.


25 responses

  1. Our thoughts, prayers and sympathy are with you, LeAnne. May you have peace in knowing Francis no longer hurts physically. He is still with you, he’s just on the other side. All our love, Brooks and Carol Simpson

  2. You and your family are in our prayers.

  3. God bless you LeAnne. Francis will be missed. I didn’t know him very long, but he left an indelible mark in my life. He is now free and we will all eventually meet once again.

  4. Your words are so moving and so wise. Our thoughts are with you in your time of transition.

  5. LeAnne, you are an amazing young woman, wife, mother, daughter, niece, and friend. I will continue to hold you in my heart and prayers.

    1. Debby perfectly said. I am not sure I would have handled this as gracefully as LeAnne has. She really has inspired me.

  6. I am so, so sorry LeAnne, but I am thankful he is finally with Jesus. From weary and heavy-laden to perfect peace. I love you, Friend, and you and the children are in my prayers.

  7. Joyce Accavallo | Reply

    Praying for peace and comfort for you and your family.

  8. That is beautiful LeAnne! Thoughts and prayers with you and the kids.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. You are an incredible strong soul. Peace be with you. You and your family our in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Dolores Strickland | Reply

    The whole concept of the shadow of death is such an amazing thing! I feel comforted by your words and your amazing strength. Sent with my caring thoughts to you. A distant cousin.

  11. LeAnne:
    I cannt fathom the depths of your pain. But I do rejoice that Francis is now free of the depths of pain. What a beautiful story. Although that brings little comfort to you, your faith has ministered to us and brought comfort to those of us living. I continue to pray for you and seek solace for you during mourning.

  12. Linda Ratcliffe | Reply

    Praying for you and your Family as the Peace and Confort of God is on you.

  13. LeAnne – Yours and Francis’ testimony of faith will be a light for all the world to see. I pray God’s grace will be sufficient in the days, months and years ahead. My life is much better because of Francis’ influence and there are many who will benefit from his investment into my life. Hugs to you, Kouper and Riley from the Yoders in Calhoun County.

  14. Beautifully expressed words. Will continue to pray God’s continued strength for you and your family for the days ahead, one day at a time. May you continue to find God’s blessings and acknowledge them as you did in these words. He will draw close and keep in the “shadow of his wings” for now and protect you and your kids.

  15. LeAnne – our prayers and thoughts will continue for you and your family. Your strength throughout has been a testimony to all of us. God Bless – the Dudley family.

  16. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  17. Lucy Thibeault | Reply

    LeAnne. Jacques and I pray that your faith gives you comfort and assurance that Francis is with Jesus – safe, pain free, and loved

  18. Praying for you, friend. Praying that your family will be encouraged by John 5:24.

  19. Tammy Kitchens | Reply

    Frank and I send you and your family love and prayers. Francis was and is so special to us. We know that he is peaceful and experiencing great comfort and encompassing love in a way we cannot yet understand. You are so impressive and Francis could not have picked a better companion for himseld or mother for his children. God Bless you and we will keep you in our prayers. Love from, Tammy and Frank Kitchens

  20. I am so sorry LeAnne. Please let us know the funeral arrangements so that, if you wish, we can join in the celebration of his life.

  21. Sherry Michaelis | Reply

    LeAnne: I do not know you, and barely knew Francis, although he was a good friend to my son, Jacob, and a friend of my daughter, Krishna, and many of their friends, here in Fernandina. I have followed your journey, with your dear Francis, and how eloquently you have recounted each high and low. I am very sorry, for your loss, and for the loss your children will bear in not knowing their father as they grow older, but I have no doubt you will be able to keep him larger than life in their eyes and in their hearts. I have never had personal experience with Hospice Care, but I am so happy you enlisted their care as it seemed to finally give you both a great deal of relief, and peace. My heart goes out, to you, for your personal loss as it seems you not only lost your husband, but also your best friend. I hope you can gain some comfort in the fact that Francis was greatly respected and loved by many.
    Respectfully, Sherry Michaelis

  22. God bless you LeAnne. All of your friends here in DC will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  23. Marilyn Platt | Reply

    LeAnne You have been amazing through all of this. Thinking of you constantly. Praying for you, the kids and all your family.

  24. Phyllis Hayes | Reply

    LeAnne, I agree with so many others that you and Francis have strengthened my Faith by reading your blog and praying for you. This is definitely a sad time but a joyous relief for his comfort and eternal home. Hope to see you all soon and hope you can do some relaxing things soon. Bless you all!!

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