The Colonel Chronicles

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Psalm 68:19

Have you ever been somewhere and you see a child trying to get his parent to pick him up? He squirms and tugs on his mother’s pants leg while reaching high for the sky. His look is a look of desperation as he tries his hardest to get her to lift him high on her hip into a comfortable embrace. Essentially he is saying “I want you to carry me!”

When I was a little girl and I wanted my Daddy to carry me I would go to him and reach high into the sky and say “Carries You!”  He would grin and pick me up. I certainly wasn’t carrying him but, he liked to let me think I was.

As you have read in previous Chronicles you will know that the Colonel’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer took us by complete and total surprise. You have heard me describe the roller coaster of emotions that accompany such a sharp turn in life. But, I hope you have heard me say, most of all, that I believe in a God who is sovereign and has perfect timing. 

I was communicating with my mother from Kiev, Ukraine about a change in Dad’s health over the weekend. He was taken to the hospital Sunday evening by ambulance. The doctor found blood clots in his lungs and also in his legs. It was clear that his health had taken another difficult turn. A day after being admitted to the hospital Dr. Hutchison was able to determine that this disease had picked up its quick rate of speed again. She felt that it was a matter of time for him, looking at possible weeks. Hospice services were ordered and plans were being made to bring him home. He was growing more and more confused due to his increased ammonia level. 

Suzanne and I made the immediate decision to return from our mission work with The Mount in Ukraine. The team and our host missionaries were beyond supportive in our decision and did everything in their power to make sure we got home quickly and safely. To say that I am forever grateful and indebted to them is the understatement of the year. We arrived at the Columbia airport at on Tuesday evening. We were picked up at the airport, dropped off at the hospital door, and had our bags carried to my parent’s home and put in our rooms. When I walked into the hospital room Daddy smiled real big. He also gave Suzanne his typical crazy look which showed us he knew we were home. 

Thom flew to Columbia yesterday morning at 10:30. Suzanne and I picked him up at the airport. When Thom went into the hospital room he smiled big and knew that his baby boy was home.

He came home by ambulance around 1:00. His new hospital bed was set up here and hospice met with us to discuss their services. We were happy to all be together and ready to care for The Colonel and help him to be as comfortable as possible. My Mom slept on a futon next to his bed. We kept a very watchful eye on him for his first night home. 

Today was exactly 13 weeks to the very day of his diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Today is also the day that The Colonel, my precious Daddy, and my mother’s soul mate got to meet Jesus. We noticed that his symptoms had changed this morning. Stuart, the minister of music at my parent’s church, stopped by for a visit at the exact time we were gathered around Daddy’s bed. Stuart, my Mom, Thom, Suzanne and I were with him as he passed through this world into the arms of Jesus. It was very peaceful.  We prayed and read scripture and cried. 

God carried my Daddy through the final chapters of his life. I do believe that Dad gave all of his effort to beat this disease but, it was not part of God’s plan. I do still believe in miracles even though God did not choose to heal The Colonel. I have no less faith in my God. I am not mad at Him. I do not doubt Him. If anything, I love Him more. I trust Him more. I yearn to please Him more. 

I just kind of want to go to God right now and say “Carries you!” But, oh how I know that He already is. He is carrying the Fabian family closely and guiding our every step in these unfamiliar waters. 

Daddy carried us through many trials in life. He taught us well. He took care of us. He provided for us. He punished us and rewarded us. He laughed with us and played with us. He read us books and taught us football. He taught us to love and respect God, country, family, and fellow man.  He had a wink that would melt my heart. He said “I love you” a lot. He always had a word of wisdom. He would say “There she is!” when I came home. There has not been a greater man to me. 

To say I will miss him is an understatement. I am sitting in his big leather recliner while I am writing this and it just feels comfortable. My heart is broken yet rejoicing at the same time. I will continue to say God is so good and faithful. I pray that you feel that too. I am so thankful the Lord carries us.

I find it very fitting that this season’s Clemson football tickets came in the mail today. That kind of makes me grin.

Much love and sincere thanks to you,

Mary Anne

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