Exclusive Excerpt: Nathan Edwards

Whether you were a part of the original Facebook group or Susie and Mark's cancer journey is all new to you, Notes from Susie: Choosing Gratitude in Life’s Low Places offers something helpful to each reader. Combining additional material with the compiled and enriched Facebook posts written during Susie's illness, the book illuminates the Edwards' joys and struggles, all the while buoyed by recent and timeless hymns that assured them of God's presence.

As part of our next blog series, we will highlight excerpts from the sections of the book created to complete the story, add background, and lend future perspective to the reader. This week, explore an exclusive excerpt from Nathan Edwards as he discusses how the special moments between grandmother and grandson became fond memories for years to come: 

A very wise person helped me to understand that there isn’t necessarily a right way to handle this type of situation. We simply handle this in the best way we know how. I believed her (mostly) and applied that same philosophy to how we helped Daniel [son] prepare for Honey’s passing. As he is one who needs facts and details, we answered all of his questions directly and truthfully. We prayed specifically for Mom – for less pain, for informative and definitive tests, for positive test results; and for strength and comfort when results were not what we had hoped. We assured him that Honey would be healed in heaven with God. We told him than we would be sad because she wasn’t here with us, but we should be glad that we knew her, and thankful that she would no longer have to live in pain.

Perhaps the best part of how we helped our kids prepare for Honey’s death was that we didn’t have to do it by ourselves. In many ways, Honey herself prepared both Daniel and Ella [daughter]. While she was sick, she did everything she could to have the strength to honor the sacred Target run with them. She continued to tell them that she loved them dearly… just because they live and breathe, and she continued to tell them how much joy they brought her.

Even before she was sick, though, she was helping him prepare to remember her after she was gone. There were times in his younger years when Daniel would spend extended periods of time with Honey and Papa. They would stay in Birmingham while Corri [wife] and I took trips, or we would send him to Nashville to visit. Each time, Mom would have special things for them to do.  She would research museums, farms, parks, and everything in between to be sure that there was plenty for them to do. She took pictures, and she made scrapbooks of their adventures together. I underestimated the value of these treasures. While Honey was still alive, we would wake up to find Daniel flipping through the pages of those books. That has not changed now that she’s gone. We still find him reading those stories and seeing the pictures of those special times. It is a way that Mom helped prepare our son to remember her after she was gone.

There are many things from Honey’s life that we could try to instill in our kids. But, one trait is clearly a “must”: Honey lived a life of absolute gratitude. She was thankful in all things, for all things, and especially, for all people. When our kids begin complaining about something they didn’t get or doing something they’d rather not, Corri and I try to remind them about Honey. We tell them that the best way we can remember Honey, and to thank God for getting to know her, is to show gratitude in all things, for all things, and for all people. We have to remind them of that from time to time. We all need reminding of that ourselves from time to time.