Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Healing in a Season of Joy

Death sucks. Cancer sucks. No matter how prepared we thought we were for the inevitable, when my father-in-law passed away on Dec. 7th, we quickly realized we weren't ready and it hit hard. I don't think it's humanly possible to be ready to lose a loved one, no matter how sick they are. We always want more time. That's what scares me, there's just never enough time. Death sucks.

We were lucky enough to be with him in his last days and we take great comfort in the fact that he knew how loved he was. He had a steady flow of visitors that last week. Everyone from work colleagues to family and dear friends. My husband would sit at his father's bedside for hours just rubbing his dad's feet and telling him how much he was loved. We brought music into his room the last few days. Even though he could no longer open his eyes or communicate, a sense of tremendous joy came upon his face when he heard Nat King Cole's voice fill the room. It was as if Pop was absorbing the music into his soul. Music transcends everything.  I just know he could feel the love around him, he was at peace.

 Alex's dad was his hero. I want to share with you his beautiful tribute to his dad:

The Words of Alex G. Hesterberg – On Family, Business and Life
Written By: Alex G. Hesterberg, III

On Family
  • If you make a promise, keep it.
  • Travel.  See and experience things together.  I wish I would have done this more with my family.
  • Parents – make sure you kiss your children.  Tell them you love them.  Tell them how proud you are.  When they become parents, they will do the same with their children.
  • Parents – the greatest words I heard from my children were not “Dad, I got into college!”  The greatest words were “Dad, I got a job!”
  • Parents - you may be older than them, but children can teach you a thing or two.
  • Husbands – marry your best friend.  Don’t take her for granted.  Show her love every day.
  • Wives – you may think he’s “good wood” to work with, but some of those knots can’t be sanded out.  Learn to love the knots.
  • Children - don’t lie to your parents.  Until you meet your spouse, no one on this planet loves you more or will understand you better than your parents.
  • Children – learn how to use a phone properly.  Step 1) Greeting.  Step 2) State your name.  Step 3) Ask whom you are calling for.
  • Children – When replying to “Thank You”, saying “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome” is completely acceptable.  Saying “No problem” is completely unacceptable.  Make a note of it.
  • Grandchildren - you are awesome!  Royce, Brendan, Hayden, Mason and Kensington, thank you for bringing your Papa such joy!
On Business
  • Have courage.  Speak up.  Lead even if no one asks you to.
  • Make mistakes.  Learn from them.  Be better.  Try again – even if it takes you a while.
  • Being the first one to the office in the morning and the last one out in the evening never hurt anyone’s career.
  • Take pride in your work and be known for it, whether you wash the floors or you’re the CEO.
  • Your word is your bond.
  • Don’t offend me by trying not to offend me.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  • If you can’t say it in 5 minutes, you probably can’t say it.
On Life
  • Never miss an opportunity to learn.  “Be a sponge.  Be brilliant” is what I always told my children as they walked out the door to school or work. 
  • Be proud of this country.  Don’t take what we have for granted.  Freedom ain’t free.
  • Have conviction, but be patient.
  • Embrace humor.  Adopt it, right to the very end - even if it’s off-color sometimes.  And if you ever felt slighted or insulted by one of my humorous comments, it was never intended to be malicious.  In fact, you held a special place in my heart if I felt I could go there with you.
  • Treat everyone fairly, especially when it comes to humor - no one should be spared.
  • Understand and respect the person.  Be tolerant.  That said, also remember that beauty is skin-deep, but ugly goes to the bone.
  • Laugh like you don’t care how loud and obnoxious your laugh is. 
  • Be proud of your faith, know your place with God, put your trust in Him - but do your best while you’re here.
  • Let the sadness pass - I will miss you, too.  I will celebrate our time together - you should, too.  Remember all of the great things we did so I can bring a smile to your face.  My time here is done and I’ve got work to do elsewhere.  I got a heck of a promotion – reporting directly to God.  And that ain’t bad, for a dumb kid from Brooklyn.

We weren't ready to lose him. There's just never enough time.


  1. Sounds like an amazing man. Thank you for sharing this. So touching and I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers Liza.

    1. Hello Liza, I've been following your blog for almost 6 months now without leaving any comment so I decided to quickly say hi today, just so you know you've got a fan somewhere. LOL. Your blog makes sense to me just like, another similarly interesting blog that I'm also a fan of.

      Keep it up.

  2. Beautiful post, Liza. Thank you for sharing -- you are right. There is never enough time, but you have to make the most of the time you DO have. :) You're all in our thoughts and prayers here.

    1. You're absolutely right. Thank you so much. xo

  3. Just bookmarked this. May print it for wall hanging! Your husband sounds amazingly insightful. Your children are very blessed.