Hell Week

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It is no secret that we love the Lord.  As I type this, I pray it helps someone today!  I just want to share this week in the hope that God may continue to bring us comfort in this difficult time and that He is able to comfort someone through this outpouring of my imperfect heart.  Love y’all!!


It’s been an absolute downpour of flaming piles of doo-doo from September 28th through today.  That old phrase about “when it rains, it pours”…accurate to the letter!  But When the week began, I didn’t realize it would be this way.  I thank God for His goodness, His love, His eternal grace, His mercy, and His comfort…because without it all, I’d be lost in an ocean of despair and anger.

As most of you know, I have the privilege of being a tutor and nanny in the afternoons for a wonderful family and their 2 incredible boys.  Well, their handsome, sweet dog, Clint the Dalmatian, turned 14 years old Sept 23rd and then began, over the next 4 days, to exhibit signs that it was “time”.  At first it was decreased appetite, him not wanting to be alone (he had to be underfoot every moment), and difficulty walking (tripping while walking and when he’d stand in one place, he’d fall).  As the days progressed, it became apparent that he was not getting better and he appeared to be “looking for a place”. And then, one morning, he could no longer stand at all.  Through tears and prayer, they made the difficult and emotional decision to have Clint put to sleep.

Many people don’t understand how tough this decision can be for families who see these animals as more than “just a dog”.  They celebrated his achievements, just as parents celebrate that of their own children. Clint had been a championship show dog!  They showed me his ribbons and medals as well as his photo album.  Such pride and love for this canine! Clint had been with this family since before the boys were born.  He was, in many ways, the original child…the first born.

After speaking with friends and asking about options, they decided not to take Clint to a veterinary clinic.  Instead, they had a wonderfully sweet vet, Dr. Stacey, come to the home.  This allowed the entire family to love on Clint, feed him cake, and talk to him in his final moments.  It was precious and beautiful to see how much love this family had for their precious Clint.  There were no dry eyes Sept 30th.

As we moved into October, we prepared to celebrate my birthday on the 2nd.  Then we received word that our Plexus family had lost someone.  Danny Volovlek went home to be with the Lord in the early hours of the morning on October 2nd.  He passed in his sleep after a long battle with Pancreatic cancer.  Danny leaves behind his beautiful and sweet wife, Lorie (together 26 years) and 2 boys.  As we wept and prayed for them, we didn’t much feel like birthday celebrating, so, we just spent time together and hung around the house. He was laid to rest today…we’re so thankful to Lorie for keeping everyone in the loop with her YouCaring updates.  What a blessing and honor it was to be included in this journey through her writings, updates, and honesty!!  She never hid anything in the updates or fluffed/embellished.  She wanted even those far away to know the pain, the joy, the realness of all that was happening…thank you!

This next portion is still raw, fresh and something we as a fire department family are crying out to God over.  The funerals haven’t even occurred yet.  I apologize for any overly graphic details…we are a medical family and being detailed is our norm…so, if you have a weak stomach, you may not want to read past “It’s a blind hill” in the next paragraph.

On October 4, as my husband settled into a day on shift at his department, they received horrible news.  One of their own firefighters, Diana Gilboy, who’d just celebrated her 10 year anniversary with the department, had just been transported as a trauma code to a hospital.  We would later learn that she was killed in a motorcycle.  It was a club motorcycle ride and Diana and her passenger, Sarah Winter Harmon (Sarah Post) were riding, with helmets, up a hill.  It’s a blind hill.  According to the investigation, the moment they topped the hill, a truck pulled out of a driveway…neither the driver of the truck nor Diana had time to do anything.  There weren’t even skid marks at the crash site.  The bike struck the driver’s side of the truck, rupturing the fuel tank on the bike, and exploded.  Diana, Sarah, and the truck driver were all burned by the explosion.  The people on the ride with these two wonderful women could only watch…there was nothing anyone could do.

My husband, a man of few words and guarded emotion, called me choking back tears.  The moment he uttered the news, I couldn’t breathe.  After I hung up the phone, I fell on my knees in tears. I cried and prayed, listening to this over and over.

These women, in every sense, were generous, vibrant, wonderful individuals.  They had hearts for service.Diana, 43, was a firefighter paramedic (“a damn good one” I’ve heard from the lips of individuals who never give a compliment unless it’s been hard fought and earned), a kind and social spirit, and the most amazing motorcyclist I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.  She’d even been approached with the opportunity to race professionally…she was AMAZING!   Sarah,34, was a nurse for our local Florida Hospital as well as a nurse for Hospice of The Comforter and a flight nurse.  She had a contagious smile and a beautifully sweet spirit.  Our community has been hit hard by their loss.

I try to wrap my head around this last week…trying to understand why these things happen.  The only answers I can find are 1.) God calls people from this life when their tasks are complete in His plan.  Only He knows the hour…the moment we will breathe our last. 2.) God has a purpose and a plan in every single moment of every single day.  We have to stop asking “WHY” and turn to HIM…He’s the only one with the answers, the comfort, the plan.  3.) Don’t try to put earthly understanding on eternal matters…that’s why it doesn’t make sense.  But make no mistake, no matter the situation, God has the ability to use it for good…though we may not have understanding of how or see His impact immediately.

I’m so thankful for a loving God.  I’m so thankful for the friends he’s surrounded Fireman and me with…and the journey He’s allowed us to take on this path!  I’m thankful for the comfort and overwhelming joy He fills us with in times like this.  You know, I felt guilty yesterday looking through photos of Diana when I found myself smiling…almost laughing.  And then I thought about how God uses our memories in times like this to give us joy…to quell the sorrow or drench the anger we bear in loss.  “Joy in all things” my Aunt used to say.  And Now, over 2 decades later, I know what she meant.  I shouldn’t have guilt over a smile or my joy in my rememberings…that’s God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the life and sweet moments with those we’ve lost.  Lord, I’m running for your heart…may I ever continue to grow in you and gain understanding…til I am a soul on fire for you in all things!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



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