Have you ever been given the gift of a wonderful memory?  

I have…..

 Nassau, Bahamas
 Earlier this week, I wrote about our recent vacation to the Caribbean.
We went with my husband’s parents and his sister’s family as well.  We all had a fabulous time, (except for me coming home sick).
My husband and I had a great time just hanging out with our family and having no agenda other then eating, swimming and visiting different islands.
  Me with 4 of my 5 kids in front of our ship in St. Maarten
Of course, being on a cruise, we enjoyed wonderful food (especially my husband), and none of us got seasick.
We visited different ports and had fun walking around town.
  I didn’t know that I was in this picture 😉
We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and spending time with my husband’s parents and his sister’s family.
  St. Thomas
Our vacation was very relaxing and the kids were eager for the next adventure.
My kids met some interesting people along the way….
 
My favorite day was spent on the beach in the Bahamas with my husband, 5 kids and son-in-law.  
Spending this day on the beach brought back memories of the countless times that I spent on the beach with my father.  You see, I was raised along the coast in Southern California and my dad was the classic beach bum.  He really wasn’t a bum, he was a social worker, but he loved going to the beach.
We would go to the beach all the time as kids and swim in the ocean, build sand castles and bury my dad as well.  Later, he would do the same with my two oldest daughters.
I missed him especially this day.  He has been gone for almost 4 years.  But on that day in the Bahamas, I stepped in and taught my youngest kids how to make sand castles, just like my dad taught me.

Since my father’s death, my father-in-law has become even more special to me.  He is both a wonderful father and a fantastic grandfather.  I am blessed to live close to him and my mother-in-law and they have been fixtures in my life for over 25 years.

My daughter, husband and son.

This vacation was a gift to us all from my father-in-law.  It was meant to be a special time to be spent with family, building even more memories then we already have.
While we all had a wonderful time, it was also rather bittersweet.  You see, we do not have much time left to enjoy with my father-in-law.

Last fall, my father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) last year.  The type of ALS that he has moves rather rapidly and he wanted to give us all the gift of wonderful memories spent with him while he is still able to move freely.

This truly horrible disease is moving very quickly.  In the short 5 months since we heard of his diagnosis, he can no longer speak and is losing muscle strength and will be getting a feeding tube soon since eating is so difficult to do now.

Despite the challenges he faces, my father-in-law is a wonderful example of grace and courage.  As a believer in Christ, he is not afraid of death.  But, he is very sad about leaving us all behind until we can join him in heaven.

As a family, we are grieving for the fact that we will lose him much too soon.  But, I am so grateful for the wonderful memory of this vacation that we will all treasure in our hearts.

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When I first started this blog, I focused solely on plant and gardening information.  But, I soon found myself sharing bits and pieces about myself and my family.  

I found that I actually like to know a little about the people whose blogs I read.  It makes them seem more real to me somehow.

So, I will probably share with you from time to time how my father-in-law is doing.  It is a major part of what is going on in my life right now.

We would appreciate your prayers as we journey through the next few months 🙂

**Please check out my latest Birds and Blooms blog post “Flowering Shrubs for Hummingbirds”

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

5 replies
  1. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    Noelle…You have me in tears. What a wonderful thing to do for the family.I'll bet the time with him was so special.Please do keep us informed as to how he's doing.I had a friend whose husband had this terrible disease. So hard to watch a loved one suffer. I will add him to my prayer list. Hope you are feeling better. Take care, Hugs, Balisha

  2. up4dance
    up4dance says:

    Sweet Noelle,
    We have yet another connection, as my father was taken from us by ALS in 1999. My thoughts and prayers are with your courageous and loving father in law and your family as you travel this journey together. God bless.
    Karen

  3. Elephant's Eye
    Elephant's Eye says:

    A blog too sharply focused on Gardening reads like a text book. You have been a woman with a heart and soul since your very first blog post. Will be thinking of your family on this journey ahead. I hope you are feeling well again?

  4. Nadya
    Nadya says:

    Noelle – What a wonderful memory your family will have. I lost my mother to ALS 5 years ago. I understand everything your family is going through. Please stay strong.

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