Thursday, February 12, 2009

Funeral/Blog Letter after Passing

A brisk fall afternoon, the bright red and yellow leaves are falling from the trees at Round Lake Park, the sun is shining, I can feel the cool fresh air entering my lungs with every breath. I smell garlic and homemade Italian food in the wind. For you maybe it's a spring day and the flowers are blooming, or it's Christmas and the snow is falling and you are sitting with a warm mug of coffee by the fire. It's at those seemingly perfect moments that you know this all didn't happen by chance. It is not by chance that the leaves turn red in the fall, and it is not by chance that I'm not standing here reading this letter to you now.

After all the suffering I have seen thus far, there are only two things that I know are true. That I love my wife and kids so much, and that God loves me infinitely more than that. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all who have loved, served, and prayed for us. I am so very sorry to leave you all behind, but at the same time I am so happy to be home with my Maker. Everything that I love about the fall and the leaves and the fresh air and Italian cooking in the wind, pales in comparison with what it is like in the presence of Jesus. I have not eaten in a very long time, but know that I hunger no more. There is no more pain or suffering, no more tears or sorrow.

Grace, AJ, and Gracie, know that God holds you in the palm of His hand especiallly now. Jesus will lead, guide, and protect you. I am confident that your mourning will turn to dancing.

Fight for joy in this. Rejoice because cancer can kill my body but it cannot kill my soul. Rejoice because my greatest sickness was cured in 2001 at the age of 20 when I believed that Jesus could forgive such great sins as mine. Rejoice because even through sickness and death God has done great things in my life, and yours. Rejoice because this is not the end, it is just the beginning.

Rejoice! Again I say rejoice!

I will see many of you soon.

Andrew W. Mark


  1. Praise God! What an encouragement Andrew is to others by sharing his journey! May God continue to be glorified by Andrew's legacy, and through the continued faith of his family. What an incredible honor to be used so greatly by our Father, as He reaches out to many through your testimony. Many prayers and thoughts go out continually to Grace and the children.

  2. Again, I am in tears. Your husband was a remarkable man, Grace, and your lives together have been well lived before God. You both have impacted my life and I will never be the same. Thank you for sharing this letter with us and know we love you and will continue to pray for you always.

    Todd, Julie and family

  3. Grace,
    Thanks for sharing your lives with us. It is such an encouragement to so many.
    I know God has some amazing things planned for you, as He doesn't take us through deep valleys to leave us there. He wants us to enjoy the views from the mountain tops all the more.
    I know you already know this, but so many people are praying for you and the kids.
    I am praying specifically for you that you would be strong and that God would show Himself to you in the most tangible ways. That He would be your best love, your highest joy and that you would find all your sufficiency in Him.

    Grace, I can't imagine what you are thinking, but think on Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

    We love you all and are praying for you everyday. Please keep us posted on how you are doing, so we can know better how to pray.
    The Weinbergs

  4. Wow Grace, even still, your beloved touches our hearts with his strength and words. I pray that in reading this note, you find much peace in knowing he is with His first love and is rejoicing. What a gift to leave behind. Thanks for sharing it.

    We love you much and continue to pray for you and the kids.

    Rick, Julie & kiddos

  5. Dear Grace,

    Thanks you so much.
    I love that - "Fight for joy in this." OH it is a fight. We are victorious only in HIM.
    In our Lord's sweet time - may the dancing come.
    Praying and praying for you.

    Selena Porter

  6. thank you for sharing this. we think of you everyday and have your family in our hearts.

  7. Grace, What a beautiful letter! Every time I think of Andrew, I can't help but picture God saying "Well done, my good and faithful son." I am so proud of both of you for standing firm in your faith, and I am encouraged to see how God is glorified in your life. Despite my sadness, every time I think and pray for you both I have joy in my heart. There is a CD by Laura Story that I have in my car right now and I think of your family whenever I hear the lyrics. I know you would be blessed to hear it. She wrote the song indescribable by Chris Tomlin. Her husband also had cancer. I want to thank you also for writing on my blog a while back when you suggested drinking the ginger tea. I know how busy you were at the time, so I really appreciate it. It did help my husband's cough when nothing else would. Please know that even though we haven't met, your blog has impacted me, and I will be praying for you. Love your sister in Christ, Lauren

  8. Grace, thank you so much for posting the letter from your husband. My sister Esther passed away last July and the beauty, courage, and truth expressed in this letter touched my heart deeply and reminded me so much of my sister. Thank you for reminding me of the hope we have. Can't wait to see them soon!

  9. The loss of a loved one is never a pleasant thing, no matter how adept one is at encouragement, and how well one can sew together hundreds of yards of silver linings.

    No matter how well the coping skills, it will always be painful.

    In fact, the comment I'm about to make here may seem quite selfish, but I'm so thankful that when someone passes, they are truly a Born-Again Christian.

    This makes it possible to tell the truth at the funeral.

    I'm aware of some funerals where people will memorialize the lost "loved one", by saying what a "great" person they were, and how "much" they will be missed.

    When in fact, they were a scoundrel.

    More untruths are told at funerals, than at weddings, because a wedding gives people the benefit of the doubt. (You know that at least there are good intentions for the future)

    But at a funeral, the person has already lived their life, and made their choices.

    When a person is a Born-Again Christian, they not only inspire a genuine love from their family, but they also take the burden away from having to "dress up" a memory.

    The words can be genuine.

    How sweet a victory for the Lord who surrendered His life on the Cross, and gave precious value to the one He redeemed, that Andrew would be a Good Steward of that Redemption, and of God's good Name.

    I did not know Andrew, but it's obvious from the comments I have read that he was not only Saved, but demonstrated that Salvation in a genuine walk, making it appropriate for him to have the Crown of Salvation placed upon him at the Resurrection.

    Our world cannot have enough good examples of what it is to walk with the Savior through a world torn apart by divisiveness, and confusion.

    May The Lord Bless You, And Keep You, And Continue To Bless By Presenting Andrew As A Good Example To Follow.

    Heaven Got A Good One, This Time.

  10. Hi Grace-

    I heard this song and thought it might send you some encouragement.

    I will always be praying for you and your family.

    It is Not Death To Die

    It is not death to die
    To leave this weary road
    And join the saints who dwell on high
    Who’ve found their home with God
    It is not death to close
    The eyes long dimmed by tears
    And wake in joy before Your throne
    Delivered from our fears

    O Jesus, conquering the grave
    Your precious blood has power to save
    Those who trust in You
    Will in Your mercy find
    That it is not death to die

    It is not death to fling
    Aside this earthly dust
    And rise with strong and noble wing
    To live among the just
    It is not death to hear
    The key unlock the door
    That sets us free from mortal years
    To praise You evermore

  11. Praise God for his inspirational and faithful servant. God bless you all in your 'valley of the shadow'. How amazing to answer Andrew's 'I will see you soon' with a sure and certain 'yes, you will'.


  12. I heard the story of your family on Todd Friels Wretched Radio today. I am in prayers for your family, and thankful to be able to witness such a testimony of our Saviors work in your lives.

    Here is a song by a favorite Christian singer Steve Green that has encouraged me so much throughout the years...

  13. I am sorry to your loss. It's a big tragedy. I heard your story, I was shocked about your family. I am very thankful to you.