July 7, 2011

remembering...

i have been so overwhelmed with love and encouragement from all of you. especially the good old fashioned MAIL in the mailbox! thank you for the cards, posts, emails and prayers. we have made the transition back into our home and are experiencing a lot of ups and downs, happiness and sadness throughout everyday. that is exhausting. but overall, we are doing well. it is very hard to actually grasp the fact that James is gone. but he is, and knowing that he is worshiping our Savior in heaven, with a perfect new body makes my heart just smile. as i look at photos of him in the last weeks, it is really obvious that his body was tired of fighting. he lost so much weight, but still looked as cute as ever to me. but he was tired. even these last photos that were taken our last night at home he tried so hard to smile and love on the kids... but you can see the struggle.
i share the following details with you, because i know you are interested. you've been so faithful to pray and journey with us it feels right to keep it going. i'm also going to try to post portions of his 'freedom service' too, so if you were unable to be with us, you can experience the incredible moment that was. to everyone who did come (so many i didn't get to hug) THANK YOU! it was an intense time together and i know it truly honored God as well as the legacy of James' life. i'm sure he would have been embarrassed to hear everyone talking about him, but it was such an awesome time to seeing how one person can really impact so many. he will be greatly missed.

i knew i would have a foggy memory of all that happened in the last hours of my sweet James' life so
i asked my friends, kelly and sarah b., who were with me to write down how things unfolded. this is what happened in our last moments together...

"Tuesday morning
, June 21st, James woke up very tired. He hadn't slept well the night before and didn't have the energy to start the day. Even eating breakfast was exhausting for him, and he never quite caught his breath afterward. As the day progressed, his struggle to breathe worsened. His fatigue was overwhelming. James told Sarah he was tired of fighting and just couldn't do it anymore. He told Sarah, "I think it will be better for everyone if I just go." Sarah began communicating with family and friends their need to come and be present to offer prayer and support. Around 5 p.m., people started arriving at their home.

Everyone was able to have time with James - - to pray with him, to share with him their commitment to care for his family, and to communicate how much he was loved. Abbie's grandparents took her to dinner and started the hard process of communicating to her exactly what was happening. Asher wanted to stay with his daddy. Sarah and James' brother Jason made a couple phone calls to Hospice and St. Joseph's Hospital to learn about some of their options for James' care. It was a clear provision of God that James' pain doctor was the one on-call that night. Dr. Morgan shared what the process would look like if James wanted to come to the hospital and allow his body to concede that his time was coming to an end. Around 10 p.m., Sarah and James were able to have a private conversation with their pastor, Nathan. Family and friends waited downstairs, asking the Lord for direction and wisdom. Nathan joined everyone downstairs and gave Sarah and James time to be together. During that time, he told her he had absolutely no regrets. They talked about the full life they had shared - - travels to Europe and Asia, Disnelyland, Colorado, family trips, and great memories. He looked her in the eyes and said, 'To live is Christ, to die is gain.'

Shortly before midnight, Sarah communicated that they had decided to go to the hospital. An ambulance came to help transport them to St. Joseph's Hospital. Everyone else followed shortly behind. Around 1 a.m. Sarah's parents brought Abbie and Asher up so that James could have time to say a very hard and sad goodbye. James was able to tell them how much he loved them, how sad he was to have to leave them, and how important it was that they follow Jesus all the days of their lives. It was devastating to hear Abbie cry out to her daddy, to tell him how much she didn't want for him to go - - but it was a precious time for their family and God was so present to offer His peace and hope. When the kids went home with their grandparents, James was again surrounded by his family and friends as Dr. Morgan came in to offer him some medications to help him relax before turning down his oxygen levels. People offered James encouragement. He asked to have Psalm 103 read. Songs and hymns were sung in worship and trust to God as we watched him drift into sleep - - songs including Great is Thy Faithfulness, Beauty from Ashes, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, and All in All.

Dr. Morgan communicated to us that as his body was depleted of a strong, consistent oxygen supply, it would slowly start a process of shutting down. He didn't know how long it would take or how James would respond to the medications he was offered. It was important to James that the end of his time here was peaceful and not physically traumatic. Dr. Morgan committed to him to do everything he could, and he made good on that promise. His care for James was exceptional. God was so good to have him there for such a time as this.

Last good-byes were said and James was given medication to allow him to rest peacefully until he took his final breath. James went to be with the Lord shortly before noon on Wednesday, June 22nd. He was surrounded by his wife, his family, mentors, pastors, and friends who love him dearly. We prayed and thanked God for the gift of James Sorell as we entrusted his spirit to Jesus and sang "It Is Well with My Soul". As his friend Todd prayed shortly after James went home, we are so thankful he is now able to feast and walk and breathe and talk and have a fully restored body as he stands at the throne of grace. He will be dearly missed."

11 comments:

Cindy said...

I love you Sarah. Thank you for being James' wife and for loving and caring for him.

TheKirk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mendy said...

Thanks for sharing that, Sarah. I'm so grateful for all the support and love surrounding you and James during that time. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Denise said...

Thank you for sharing!

joyfulnoise said...

Thank you for sharing this Sarah. What a beautiful testimony y'all have been. We will continue to lift you all up in our prayers.

Carla said...

Sarah, Thank you for sharing this very personal time. You are an amazing woman who serves an Amazing God. Keep hanging on to Jesus..never let go. I'll be praying for you all.

Allison said...

Wow. That was such a blessing to read, yet at the same time, so hard to read. What a testimony both James and your family are. Thank you for sharing these last precious, most intimate times, of James' life and your time together. The pictures are priceless and precious. What a gorgeous, godly family.

We love you,
The Dulls

jdmartin said...

I have long been in awe of your family's courage, love and steadfast faith throughout James' struggle. You need to know that people you really don't even know - like me - have been deeply moved and affected by James' testimonial life and the way in which you, Sarah, and your whole family, have dealt with his life events with grace and kindness and love. Blessing to you...

Lindsey said...

I'm so honored to be a witness to your life. James, Sarah, Abbie and Asher, you are rare treasures in my life.

Kristina said...

Thank you for sharing, Sarah. Unbelievable. God is so evident, even though there are no words for the pain you describe.

Kristina said...

Just read this again and am still being ministered to by James and you all. Remembering how he lived and how he died encourages me to live even more fully alive. Love you all, Kristina

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