There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear

No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

I cannot believe that Preacher is gone. This has been without a doubt the longest, saddest, busiest week of my life. Before this week, I wasn't sure how I would handle the passing of my father in law. I told McCauley that I knew I would be sad, but that I wasn't sure how much grieving I would do because of sadness I was feeling, or if it would be more grieving for the rest of my family who was so terribly sad. My thought process here was that I would be more sad for my husband and his family who had enjoyed a lifetime with Preacher, not thinking I would be terribly sad since I had only known him for more than a few years and had only been a part of the family for 4 months.

Whenever Angie came into class last Sunday morning, my heart was instantly gripped with fear. She looked at McCauley & I and said, with tears in her eyes, "We need to go home". While McCauley wrapped up his few last words with the teens, I grabbed Achaya & rushed to the car. What I was feeling was different, was raw, was scary. I didn't make it out of the door to the church before tears filled my eyes. I didn't even know what was going on and my heart was pounding. This was not what I was expecting! We rushed into the back bedroom and all enjoyed precious last moments with Preacher, even though he wasn't aware we were there. We all said our last words, we cried, and we sang. My Preacher, my Hoppy, my precious, precious father-in-law passed at 1:35 that afternoon.

This past week was filled with a variety of emotions. We have experienced some great, joyful times. Laughter has exploded talking about the quirky and funny ways of Rick Austin. Times of remembering Hoppy and things he loved, times of remembering Preacher and things he taught. We have had some very, very sad times. McCauley, Angela, Will and myself went through a Taco Bell drive through earlier this week and were all nearly depressed thinking about the countless numbers of Big Beef Burrito Supremes we have ordered in the past, and how we wouldn't have to order one of those that time around. My heart has broken at the thought that my kids will never know their Hoppy. My heart breaks for my dear mother-in-law. I cannot imagine how I would hurt if I were to lose McCauley, my husband of 4 months, and she lost her husband of 33 years.

I miss him. Thursday afternoon I was home alone and became really sad. Before I got a job, I would come home in the afternoons and Preacher was always there. We may not even be in the same room, but his presence was a comfort. I wished so badly on Thursday afternoon that while I was sitting on the couch He would walk in from his room and say "Hey baby, you need anything?" I will never, ever forget the prayer he had with me as I was walking out to interview for a job that hired me on the spot. I will always treasure the memory of the phone call I got as he was on his way home from the hospital, thanking me for being a part of his family, and for putting up with his crazy son. I told him I just wanted to be a part of his family, and I knew marrying his crazy son was what I had to do to accomplish that. :)

He was an amazing man, one of the Godliest that I knew. Also one of the most loving, compassionate, and caring men I have ever known. It was a blessing to share some time with him on this earth. As much as I hated that McCauley & I had to move out of our trailer and in with his parents, I will eternally be grateful for the extra time that we got to share with him. I know without a doubt God had that planned for a reason. I thank those of you who have offered condolences, I know you are grieving as well. For those of you who didn't know Rick Austin, I am terribly sad for you.

I ask you all to pray for McCauley & I. McCauley has been announced as the interim pastor of the Friendswood Baptist Church. It is an exciting time, but bittersweet because of the circumstances. This new role, if even temporary, will majorly change my life. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared. I'm scared, but I trust God. Please continue to pray for my family, especially Faith. We are all still experiencing very hard times, and believe that God has designated times of grief and are not trying to rush past this time. We still believe that God is right, and give him all the glory. I praise MY Lord, because my Hoppy is no longer in the pain and suffering that he has been in the past few months.

Oh, how I wish I could experience what Hoppy is experiencing now...