O Come, O Come Immanuel

Candace here-

Immanuel came. God truly is with us in this house and also with you. 

Kevin went to be with the Lord at 3:00 am this morning (December 24th). 

We had a wonderful day with him. We let him “sleep in” yesterday morning to conserve his energy. We had a family Christmas celebration yesterday morning where Kevin came out to the chair in the living room. Rachel and the kids opened so many wonderful presents that you all had sent them and were delighted with joy. 

Kevin was able to give Rachel a hug as he was getting help getting back in bed and it was a true gift to her.

They were able to get some wonderful family pictures together.

Some old friends came by to sing and worship with Rachel and Kevin. It was beautiful.

Later a choir came by to sing Christmas hymns. That was also beautiful.

All day today we could tell that Kevin was getting closer to (as hospice puts it and we sarcastically joke) his “final journey”.

Once the house quieted down and midnight approached, Rachel crawled up in the bed next to Kevin and fell asleep.

Ashley got on one side and I got on the other and we prayed and talked to Kevin – telling him it was ok to let go and dreaming out loud of all the things he may be about to encounter.  We turned on the Trinity Worship and Prayer album and let it repeat over and over as we sang and the hours passed.

As the time grew near, an old friend of Kevin’s showed up and came in the room and joined us. We let Rachel sleep right next to Kevin until the very end. Then we woke her. He took his last breaths and we embraced Rachel and sobbed. It is over. Kevin’s suffering is over. 

I wish he could tell us what it was like – entering glory. 

I think Kevin might be on the greeting committee for each of us and I told him so.

It was the most peaceful process I have ever seen. Truly, God is with us.

Kevin is the most unique and gentle men I have ever met. I joined Rachel as she opened his “If I die” file today. That man prepared the way for his wife. His file showed his steadfastness and commitment to protect and provide for his family, but also his humor. There were many laughs as we read through it.

What a way to end the Advent season…watching and waiting for the Lord to come to a dying man- to provide relief to his body and to comfort his widowed wife and children. He is faithful to do all that He has promised.

 I hope that you will take Kevin, Rachel, Jude and Evie with you into Christmas Day. Tell their story at your dinner table. Pray for them as you spend time with your own family. Don’t forget all that God has done in their lives and will continue to do. Don’t forget them in the days to come. This new stage will be harder than ever.

Let this courageous family and their story live through you. Let this change you. I am forever changed and absolutely convinced of God’s love and faithfulness to us EVEN when things don’t go the way we want. Oh, how He loves us.

For now, goodnight. I must sleep.

I don’t know when Rachel will write, but pray for her and the kids and all of those who have lost the presence of Kevin.

Merry Christmas. Immanuel – God is with us

 

72 thoughts on “O Come, O Come Immanuel

  1. Rachel, you are forever in my prayers and heart. I wish I had words to comfort you and to heal your heart. Sending prayers and love to you now and always.

    • My prayers and many good thoughts are with yu and your family. What an honor for you to be in his arms when he went to be with our Lord. My God give you strength and peace knowing he is with Jesus. With Love Joanne

  2. My family has followed this story. We have all been so blessed by it. God works in such mysterious ways. Thank you for sharing. Peace be with your family Rachel.

  3. My heart fills with tears and joy as Kevin is now with The Lord but you must carry his loving gift of life in this world on with out him. God has blessed you and will continue to show you the way as you now have Kevin by his side. All our thoughts and prayers are with you and your love ones this morning god bless you Rachel .

  4. Your story will forever be in our hearts. We have witnessed “the good fight, like none other.” NEVER have we seen a man or family fight harder than you. Now we can truly say, “be whole, in the mighty name of Jesus!”

  5. While I am very sad for your loss, and I’m sure it’s great, I’m rejoicing for Kevin and where he’s going to be celebrating Christmas this year! Oh to be in the presence of our Lord! I will continue to pray for you and your family. May God wrap his loving arms around each of you and give you a comforting peace.

  6. Thank you , thank you for sharing this difficult and beautiful journey with us. In my church it is testament to the holiness of the deceased to die on Christmas or Easter. Kevin has run the good race and fought the good fight and is now receiving his crown of glory.

  7. I’m so sorry. Rachel, you don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Jennifer Marinacci. I’ve seen your posts, but I have hesitated to ever post anything because I have struggled about what to say. I’m a believer, and continue to ask questions about pain and suffering. But it’s not about me and my lack of ability to know what to say. Other than: I’m so sorry. And: THANK YOU. In the middle of more pain and suffering than I can even imagine, you have demonstrated more faith, hope, and love than I can even demonstrate on a normal day as I go about my business in my very blessed (spoiled) life. It’s stunning. And humbling. And so very beautiful. Thank you. I will indeed remember and pray for you as you continue to experience this pain. I wish there were words I could say. But I just don’t have them. Please know so many people here in Eugene have been praying for you and your family and sending love your way. Love, Rebecca

  8. Dear Rachel,

    I have no words, only hugs and love. You are a rock and I know Kevin is smiling down at his true love and wonderful children.

    Love,
    Patti

  9. Thank you, God, for letting us witness a life well-lived and a death unresisted. Thank you for the time you gave Kevin, to allow more time with his family, to make his testimony shine, to prepare Rachel for her loss. Continue to show off your name upon the earth through your people.

  10. Rachel an family,
    Let Kevin’s levity, wisdom and true commitment stay with you always. I know it will will us.
    Blessings and peace through this trial.
    Neighbors D&R

  11. Rachel, like many others I am sad for your loss and Jude and Evie’s. As well as the many others that Kevin’s life has touched. I have met you a few times through Candace and all I could think was she is so strong! God has given her such strength, such grace. She is a great testament, to Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Rachel take time to grieve, spend time in the love and comfort of your kids. Look at the little things. Sleep, get some much need blessed sleep, you’ve definitely earned it. You were what God had in mind, when he created women to be partners to men. You are a wonderful person and you have some great friends. Surround yourself with them and take comfort, comfort each other. You and your family’s journey has touched so many people in way’s that I don’t think you’ve realized yet. Your story isn’t finished… yet. For now, rest, grieve, take comfort, pray, glorify God and realize that Kevin is no longer in pain. He is heaven, completely healthy, smiling down on his family and looking over you, protecting you, watching you, watching his kids grow. Loving you. He too will hear the words of your prayers and you will hear him answer in your mind. Celebrate his life and friendships. Look back on all you did together and remember and smile at the memories. I’m praying for you, Jude, and Evie.

  12. Rachel, Sending our love from Georgia. We are so sad for your loss and so grateful to have had the blessing of witnessing your faith and diligence. You are an amazing woman and you have inspired me and helped me through my own struggles. Sharing the way you have has blessed our lives. We will continue to pray that you are blessed beyond measure. We will pray for your comfort and guidance and will pray for your little ones.

  13. Rachel I am so sorry. I am praying for you Jude and Evie. Not what anyone wanted to read this morning, but Kevin is no longer suffering. He is in the house of the Lord shinning down light from heaven, it is amazing the sun is beaming here in Adair Park for the first time in a few days. For whatever reason you are bringing a smile to my face while my tears for your family flow.
    Kevin had the best partner to play the hand that God dealt, you gave us all HOPE. My prayers for you, Jude and Evie are constant.

  14. Rachel,
    My heart aches with you. Know that you are wrapped in the love we all fee for you. Listen for Kevin’s voice in your thoughts. He is there. He will talk with you. i received some of my clearest communications from Paul, right after he passed. Kevin is always with you and aware of all that is going on in your lives. He hasn’t left, he has just left his body. Paul said he could do more good where he is now than he could do when he was in his body, and he has proven it time and again. So can Kevin. These will be busy days ahead, but do feel free to call if you feel the need. I am here and want to help any way I can.
    love and hugs,

  15. Weeping, I cannot find words. Praise God that Kevin is finally resting and rejoicing. Rachel, what an inspiration you have been. What a good and faithful servant, wife and believer. Peace be with you all. Amen.

  16. Rachael asked that he not be taken home on Christmas, or on their child’s bday…For her I’m glad that request was granted. Pain no more, rejoice that he is finally free from this world of pain. I pray for the family and all that now share the journey of grieving Kevin. 🙁

  17. Dear sweet Rachel, all your friends are crying with you today. The pain in our hearts is not like yours, but we hurt with you and for you. Kevin was truly a gentle man, and wise beyond his age. I loved to listen to his carefully chosen words. It has been a beautiful thing to watch those closest to you commit so much of themselves to help you and Kevin get through such a difficult time. I pray God’s continued blessing upon you, your two little cherubs, and all your ministering angels.

  18. With love and tears I send you these words from Isaiah 54. “Your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is His name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit – For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back… with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you… great will be your children’s peace.

  19. My heart is heavy. I am so very sorry for your loss. We are praying for strength, peace and healing for you and your family. Heaven received such an amazing gift.
    God Bless.

  20. Kevin fought the good fight. Now he has entered into the joy of his master. Rachel, you have fought the good fight, too. I hope you can have supernatural rest in the days to come. You are much loved.

  21. Truly you have blessed my soul more this Christmas than anything else I have experienced. May the God of peace and love guard your hearts.

  22. Rachel – we are sadden by the lost of your wonderful loving husband. We know that he is rejoicing with no more pain and suffering in the present of our Lord and one day we will meet with him. You and your family are in our prayers.

  23. Love you, Rachel. We will tell your story and we will worship and grieve. We won’t stop praying for you and your little ones.

  24. Rachel,
    It brings us all both pain (for yours, Jude’s, and Evie’s loss) and gratitude because Kevin is no longer suffering. His entrance into the presence of the Lord had to be as remarkable as his life here on earth. We pray and seek comfort, peace and rest for all of you during this time. And please know that we are sending hugs and kisses for you all. I wish I knew what more to say…but know that we all love you, Jude, and Evie very much. Blessings and honor to you and your family.
    Ed, Christine and family

  25. I am so sorry for your loss. When God calls to take me I hope that I will meet your wonderful husband. Your family will always be in my heart.

  26. Rachel, words cannot say enough and I cannot possibly know the depth of your feelings now.

    Although I only remember Kevin from work, I know that he was a great husband, father, and provider. It must have been difficult for him recently knowing that he felt powerless to be that man … he is in a place now where he will always be that man – a place where he is strong, and cancer-free … a place where he will always be able to watch over you and your beautiful children 🙂

    Thoughts and prayers

  27. Dearest Rachel,

    I know that your heart is broken, but please take the time to feel God’s Grace flow over you and the children. My heart is broken for you too. Take comfort in the fact that you and Kevin gave it a good fight. You are in my prayers.

  28. I feel truly blessed by the experience, strength, and hope that has been so freely given by Rachel, Kevin, and everyone involved. Thank you for bearing witness. I will pray for strength, peace, and contentment in the days to come for all who have lost Kevin’s presence.

  29. Rachel & family,
    I do not know you, but I am blessed to have read Kevin’s story and FAITHFULNESS of our Father! May He continue to show you glimpses, NO OUTPOURINGS of His Presence in your life. I pray that you always see pieces of Kevin in your sweet children and that they will always remember their precious memories with their amazing Daddy. Please know that Kevin’s life and your testimony point to Him, our Comforter, our Sustainer, the Merciful One and our Redeemer.

  30. This breaks my heart. I wish I had words to ease this sorrow. May God Bless this family the strength to get through this most difficult time. Keeping you in my prayers across the miles.

  31. Rachel,
    I don’t know what to say or how to express my thoughts and can’t even imagine what you and Kevin have been through the last few years. All I can do is to continue to keep you and your family in my prayers, trusting that the Lord has you in his hands.

  32. Kevin..thank you. Your love and kindness was an energy felt so strongly by this man who only knew you for just a spli second in time. I will forever remember your gentelness.

  33. I’m very sad to hear of Kevin’s passing.
    He was a trooper and I am glad his last days were peaceful and that he was surrounded by love.
    My heartfelt sympathy to his wife, children, family and friends.
    He will certainly be missed.

  34. Came across this blog through a friend’s fb page a while back and have been following along and praying for you all. Will be lifting you up to the Father as your grieve the loss of Kevin. Praying for perfect peace and comfort to surround you with every breath you take. Thank you for sharing your story so openly honestly with us.

  35. Rest om Peace sweet Kevin and have a great time being with Jesus onhis birthday. Love and sympathy to RACHEL AND THE CHILDREN. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

  36. My heart grieves for the family and rejoices that Kevin is pain-free, and whole, and with our Lord. My thoughts and prayers will continue with this family as they learn to live without their husband, father, son, and friend.

  37. Rachel, Jude and Evie, You will all continue to be in our constant prayers. We think back and marvel at the exhausting journey you took with Kevin to keep him this long. Your dedication is a testimony to all of us. May you feel God’s peace at this time. Love always!

  38. Your families story has forever changed our hearts. Thank you for letting us in. We all learned and gained from your journey. You will be in our prayers in the days and weeks to come. May The Lord comfort and sustain you and your sweet babies.

  39. Peace that surpasses all understanding is my prayer for you and your family Rachel.
    I am blessed by Kevin’s courage to share the story of his good fight and inspired by his family and friends as they stood beside him.
    Your faithfulness is an honor to The Lord who loves you dearly. He walks with you and your family through all things.

  40. HI
    i DONT konw Kevin and family personly. I have them thru Lila a nd Paul and my daughter Linda she si also from thier church so i have read of them and prayed for them.now I will keep praying for Rachel and the family
    God take care of you all love Audrey

  41. God bless you and your family Rachel. May He fill you with courage as you embark on a new journey, adjusting and trying to figure out, once again, how to be. You all are beautiful. Looking forward to playdates as you get settled back in. Indeed, from God we come and to God we must all return.

  42. Dear Rachel,

    I don’t know you in person, but I feel like I have come to care for your family through your blog the past few months. My heart broke this morning when I read this, but I was also relieved for Kevin, and for your family, that he feels no more pain. I’m not a religious person myself, but I know that someone is watching over your family. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this unbearable journey with you and your family. You and Kevin have touched my life and I thank you for it. Merry Christmas.

    Julie

  43. Rachel,

    I am praying for you and the children. This time is so bittersweet, but I know you are precious in the eyes of the Lord and He loves you all with great compassion.

  44. Rachel, as so many have said, you and Kevin’s journey together is such a powerful testimony! You are the gold standard for courage, faith, and hope. You and the children are always in our prayers! Love you and praying for Immanuel to comfort you all!

  45. Rachel, Jude and Evie,

    It’s almost 3AM on Christmas morning and I can’t go to sleep. I’ve been reading through the past two years of your life from this blog, trying to get to know a man I didn’t know and barely met; mourning the fact he’s now gone and that I didn’t become his friend while I had the chance… I’m so ashamed. I don’t know how or why I didn’t make an effort to be your friend. You don’t know me or my family, though we go to Trinity and *very* briefly got a chance to say hi to you and Kevin at the church retreat earlier this year at Sharp Top Cove. It was in the evening, by the bonfire, and I wanted to say hello to you guys. It was just a brief conversation, but I was so moved by getting to meet you both, and observing you guys that weekend in the mountains. I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter named Evelyn (who we call Evy) and a five month old son named Luke. In the coming months and in this new year Rachel, I want your family to know my family. And I really want us to be part of your lives. Christ have mercy on your amazing family. I really don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry.

  46. Dear Rachel. This Psalm came to my mind when I think in you: Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction;be persistent in prayer. Roman 12:12.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your children. God bless all of you.
    Love and hugs.
    Carmen

  47. Will think on these words, truly God is w you and us. Thankful that Kevin has left his earthly tent behind as we all will do but has a head start on the great glory that is real and revealed to him in full. Praying for strength for all his dear family and friends. Love, some who were touched:).

  48. I had a privilege to teach, coach, and work with Kevin these many years. He was a loving father, devoted servant of God who blest the lives of all he touched. My prayers are with Rachel and family. If I can do anything through this loss feel free to write, call me. He will be missed trmemedously!

  49. Kevin worked for me at Esquire and I really liked him. He always went above and beyond the call and loved what he did with technology. He was also a really cool guy and a great member of our team. He will be missed in all facets of his life.

  50. Hill Family,

    We are so sorry for your loss and are praying for you. May our LORD draw near to you and comfort you.

    Sincerely,

    Marty & Jen Reardon

  51. Dear Rachel. I have just finished reading your blogs – going back to October. Claudia sent me your “web site” just today. So sad and yet so inspiring. I am so pleased to have had a few minutes with you and Kevin recently and your two remarkable children – so beautiful, so intelligent and charming etc etc. Please add me to your “list” for further blogs and messages. With my love and prayers, aunt irene

  52. God blessed Kevin. I am without words this morning. I last talked to Kevin a couple of months ago about an IT problem I was having. He looked fine. He will be truly missed at work. He was always very kind and explained my issues with great patience. I am lucky to have known Kevin. Thank you to Kevin’s friends and family for sharing his last few moments with us. It certainly touched us all.

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