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Memories, Tributes and Dirty Fingernails (con't)
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IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR SON DWIGHT OZARD
(written November 2006)
One year ago Nov. 14th our beloved son, Dwight went to be with his Lord and Saviour, after a brave battle with Multiple Myeloma over 4 years and 8 months; – a wild roller coaster ride of hopes raised and then dashed, delays and disappointments, ups and downs, several heavy duty chemo treatments, 2 stem cell transplants, more drugs than any one body should have to endure, all with their own weird side-effects, a scheduled bone marrow transplant postponed then cancelled because he was so very ill. Then the Lord in His wisdom called him home.!
How we miss our son, our regular telephone conversations, our periodic visits either here in Canada or down there in Devon. From our point of view, his passing was much too soon, for this relatively young (43) but fruitful, eventful life.. But we take great comfort from the assurance of Scripture that today he is “with the Lord!”
Dorothy and I wish to thank those of you who responded to Pete Beroli’s request to send in “Things I learned from Dwight!” We found these “thoughts” remarkable as they poured in from quite an eclectic group of Dwight’s friends. They evoked laughter, brought much tearing to our eyes, gave us greater insight into the scope of Dwight’s influence and the variety of friends (in which he was rich), and helped us much as we continue to come to grips with this enormous loss. We will read them again today.
We were never more proud of Dwight than during those almost 5 years in his battle with this disease. Proud of his bravery, his determination to live as normally as possible; Proud of his love & devotion to Sheri & hers to him; Proud of his writings, the influence of which is wide-spread and we are still discovering, ongoing; Proud of his social conscience. So thankful for his strong faith -- And we will never forget the surprise 50th. Anniversary party he pulled off for us in May 2005 - such a precious memory to us today!
Dwight loved life and lived it to the full. He loved good food & loved to cook; He loved to golf; He had a cryptic sense of humour.
We knew he had a lot of friends & wide circle of influence, BUT only as the e-mails & cards poured in, did we begin to realize just how far-reaching & how much he was loved & is missed. Dwight said a few weeks before his death, “Not much money, but rich in friends.” It was true.
Immediately upon the onslaught of this disease, he began his “Cancer Journals”, with his regular up-dates of the journey. These were posted regularly on his Web Site and circulated far & wide. They have had a tremendous impact upon countless. They provided great insight into his character, gifts, faith, courage, skills and humour.
His trademark signatures – “Grace, Peace & Dirty Fingernails” – “Heirs on the side of Grace” will always be remembered and continue to challenge us all.
The Friday before he passed away, Dwight whispered to us, “I’M ALRIGHT: I’M IN THE HANDS OF GOD!” – words that will always bring comfort to our hearts!
Those words express a great Scripture truth: when one is in God’s Hands, indeed, everything is alright! – And this has never been more true for Dwight than today; knowing he is free from pain; free from the frustrations & debilitating effects of this disease; - and at rest. “Free at Last!” – “WITH THE LORD!” – “Being confident of this one thing, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!” – and who can even begin to imagine the glories & wonders of “Being with the Lord”!
None of can even begin to understand the mysteries of life & death; we all have many unanswered questions. BUT the bottom line is we are to “commit our souls unto the faithful Creator” and trust our Faithful Heavenly Father.
Dwight wrote early (2001) in his journal - ”No matter which way all this turns out, I am the winner!”
He wrote later “I am ready to go; I am not afraid to go; I’m just not ready to say goodbye!”
On Monday, Nov. 14th. 2005, we said a temporary goodbye to Dwight; but because of what Jesus did for us at the cross and our faith in Him, we will see him again in the presence of the Lord. Dwight confessed in one of his updates, “I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION!”
In July 2005, Dwight was invited back to speak at Metropolitan Church (London, Ont.) where he had served for 3 years. (’88-’91) How thrilled he was to be able to come & speak at those two services. His message, “The One Called Alongside!” – He finished his message with a great story & a quote from Wesley & made it his own confession; He raised his arms and said in a clear emotion-filled voice, “WHILE I HAVE BREATH I WILL PRAISE THE LORD!”
Today we remember Dwight with great Love.
Jack and Dorothy Ozard
The following are some of Dwight’s quotes that Sheri chose to be in the Memorial bulletin a year ago;
“When you say my name to our Redeemer, remember to pray too for those who don't have a high-powered Outlook address book or an impressively cluttered Rolodex or a cell phone cluttered with the numbers of friends or their name on church prayer chains.
When you ask our Father in Heaven to care for me like an Eagle gathers her young under her wing, remember that there are far too many in this world, both far away and next door, for whom the very fact of their suffering means isolation from the love of family, friends and even their place of worship.
If you remember me, remember too those born into death and suffering and who literally have no one in this world who even knows their name, let alone someone to breathe it in prayer to God.
That process of making my cancer a chance to help others expand their world--to begin to think about issues of justice and suffering and who has a part in that suffering, both as creator and as potential reliever of it--that process, that ministry, has been pure gift to me, a chance, as the rock star has said:
...to make beauty out of ugly things.
And that's pretty freakin' cool.”
* * * * *
He stood with the weak when he could only kneel
He called us to speak when he lost his voice
He introduced us to those we did not know
He asked us to pray and we did.
* * * * *
Either way, we want to just to make the most of this thing, to use a metaphor that I'm certain is inappropriate, given my disease, to suck the marrow out the bones of life, to live deeply without reservation, hesitation or fear. To breathe deep the air of spring and the breath of God, to savour the depths of flavours and the best of God's good earth and to "taste and see" the goodness of God, to hold the things that matter close to the heart, to treasure the hard parts of loving and frolic like a 4-year old in a mud puddle in the good, easy parts.
Don't waste this thing.
It's too good.
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