Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dennis Ray Powell

My dad passed away on November 1, 2015.  It has still not totally soaked in.  He had been so sick since May and never fully recovered.  His problem was he couldn't eat.  Because he couldn't eat safely, he developed pneumonia and was hospitalized from May (Mother's day weekend) until August.  When he came home, he had a trach and a feeding tube.  This was not ideal.  He got the trach removed, which was awesome, but he still had to eat through a feeding tube.  For anyone, to think of not eating by mouth is overwhelming and doesn't make for a fun life.  But he was determined to do his therapy to try to improve his swallowing or live with a feeding tube and enjoy his family the best he could.  He did, of course, pray and ask his church and family and friends to pray for healing from this problem.  God did heal him, but not in a way we would have chosen.  He is healed now in heaven.  He is eating now in heaven.,  And although we are very sad here on earth, he is happy now in heaven.  He is with his Savior.

Some of the things I remember most about my dad that have stuck with me were his devotion to God and his family.  I remember sleeping on the coach at their house and hearing him pray in the kitchen early in the morning.  When I was pregnant with Camden, he was a twin.  I remember dad calling me and telling me how God had impressed on his heart to pray for he thought we were having a girl.  Around that time (about 13 weeks), we lost Camden's twin.  I truly believe that Camden has a twin sister in heaven.  And she is with her grandaddy now.

Being close to Columbia, I have been able to go up there a lot.  So I was able to get to spend a lot of time at the hospital with him and mom.  One day he told me that he wanted me and Jennifer and the grandkids to see him living out his faith.  He said that living for God is easy when life is easy, but he wanted everyone to see that his faith was real in the good and in the bad times.  He remained faithful to the end.  In fact, he visited a sick church member the day he died.

He stood firm in his devotion to God; but he also was devoted to his family.  He loved his grandkids..maybe more than his kids:)  Seriously, he showed love to all of us.  He spent time with us and made sure we knew he loved us and were proud of us and how we were raising our families.  Nathan spoke for himself and Ashton at the funeral.  One thing they both remembered was him leading them in devotions during Grammie Camp.  

Grammie Camp 2015

He also was devoted to my mom.  Jennifer and I wrote about him for the funeral program.  This is what we said.  

Our Dad

We could say many things about our dad and what a wonderful man and father he was. He taught us the importance of loving God and our family. Throughout his life and especially this last year, he showed through his actions how to love us and more importantly his wife, our mother.  When our mom was sick in the hospital 2 years ago, we saw him put her first and take care of her. When he got so sick last May, she did this for him, but he also continued to take care of her and put her first. As he was stuck in a hospital bed for over 3 months, he cared about her by insisting she get out of the hospital at times and do something fun. While he couldn't eat by mouth and had to have a feeding tube, he insisted that she leave the hospital and go get something decent to eat. He also continued to pray for his entire family by name when he was in the hospital, asking how he could specifically pray for us. And when he came home, still having to take all nutrition by the feeding tube, he showed love to mom and his family by making pancakes for us even though he couldn't eat any of them. If you knew our dad, you knew he liked to eat. So not being able to eat was torture for him. But he not only tried to keep living via a feeding tube so that he could be a part of our lives, he insisted on helping us enjoy our food by making it for us. This showed us extreme love.  On the weekend before he died, Amy was able to take mom to the fair. The plan was to take them both, but he didn't feel good enough to go. As she left that night, he sincerely expressed gratitude for taking mom out to have fun, even if he could not go.  He put her needs first as usual. And in the end, when he was too tired to get out of bed, after he told mom he loved her, he thought of her needs and told her to get some rest. Caring to the end, he is now fully healed and resting in the arms of his Savior. And we are sure he is also enjoying a good meal!

I know this has been long, but it could be much longer if I started recounting all the good memories I have of my dad.  From making me feel good about myself as a teenager, to climbing in the back of the car to comfort me from a broken heart to crying the day I left for college.  But I will end it here. And soon I will post pictures of my family as we came together to grieve and celebrate the life of Dennis Powell.