Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

Hannah’s Homegoing
A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography

A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com

#AHANNAHPERCENT – Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

One year ago tonight Hannah moved to heaven. She passed into glory. O how we miss our beautiful daughter, and the boys miss their much-loved sister.

A close friend of ours, Jacob Betchol posted this tribute on his website today. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share it with you on my site, and he agreed. Thank you, Jacob!

We first met him when our son, David, and Jacob became close friends and debate partners at San Diego Christian College. Jacob is a talented photographer. He’s also a great friend and support to our family. He took some beautiful photos for our family about two years ago. He also took this stunning shot of Hannah for her graduation from IMPACT, and it ended up being used for her graduation to heaven as well.

Here’s Jacob’s website: lylphotography.com/Ahannahpercent and I copied his post below. I think you will enjoy what he has to share.

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly. Photo by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com/ahannahpercent

Jacob’s Post

Hannah stood alone at the front, radiating a smile. Beautifully framed she stood still, the air around her almost bright and airy. The memories and stories that friends and family shared about her, joined together into an encouraging melody. And as the stories swelled around her, it was as if her smile grew even larger.
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It was late afternoon, the sun was settling for the day. Its rays were long and colorful, and radiated with such beauty. That the posing and the click of the shutter were almost distractions from the creativity of the golden hour. When Hannah had asked me to photograph her for her graduation, it took me longer than usual to get back to her. I almost said no.

Photography was no longer just a passion, it was (and is) my vocation. So I had started saying no when people asked me to take photographs. The feeble excuses that it would add to my portfolio or would just take few minutes were falling flat. And yet, I found myself in Point Loma that day taking graduation photographs. My thank you for my efforts, a dirty chai, was sitting on an uneven stump slowly melting. I’m not sure why I said yes that day, but this story is not about that answer.

This is the story of a photograph worth taking. I’m so glad I agreed to photograph Hannah that day. It has been almost a year since I walked up to her portrait. My hand reaching into my suit pocket for my handkerchief wiping away the tears forming in the corner of my eye. Hannah was no longer with us, but her memory encourages me to this day. Little did I know, that a photograph from that graduation photo session would end up in front of the sanctuary for her graduation to heaven. That her smile would embody the stories shared then and even now.

Hannah’s family coined the word Ahannahpercent to embody her memory. If you know the Diaso family, you know that it is impossible to feel unwelcome in their home. Hannah was the sum of that welcoming grace. She always had a bright smile and a warm welcome. She cared for you and lived fully present in the moment. While it can be so easy to go through the motions, to say hello without being genuine or to offer a smile that is not caring. That is not living life Ahannahpercent.

She is an encouragement to me as I photograph wedding days. A reminder to be fully present and invested in the stories I am documenting. If I can be unashamedly excited and genuinely thrilled by the details of the day. I am photographing Ahannahpercent. It calls for going beyond platitudes and genuinely caring for people. One of Hannah’s good friends shares it best. I’ll let Susanna take it from here.

Thank You for Standing with us on this Journey!

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement over the last year and during these difficult days.

Our family has set up two memorials for Hannah. AHANNAHPERCENT: Hannah Diaso Memorial for scholarships to young women who are interested in serving the Lord in ministry. You can give to that fund by clicking the link above. The fund is managed by Mission to the World.

We are also working on raising funds for a Hannah Diaso Memorial Church. You can give to that outreach project by clicking on the above link.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Pain of Loss
The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

Recently I was conversing with some of my missionary colleagues about death and grieving, and how most of us struggle with working through the sorrow of losing someone we love. The Bible tells us to not grieve as those without hope, but it does not tell us not to grieve. One of the phrases that was said a few times just a few days after Hannah had passed away is that “Hannah is more alive than ever.” While that is true, I didn’t feel that it helped me at the time. That phrase in some way seemed to make me feel like I shouldn’t be sad. I know it wasn’t meant that way, but I didn’t find it comforting. That is not to say that I lost hope entirely. Yet, I felt that it minimized the pain and the deep loss I had just experienced.

I should add that I’m more able to receive that word, and I find it more comforting now that I’ve had some time to grieve and process Hannah’s home going.

I still feel the sadness at times, and it hits me at unexpected times. It’s not as frequent as it once was. In some way, I find it hard to explain the emotions that I go through. The realization that my daughter is no longer here, and that I can’t talk to her anymore. We can’t do together any of those things we had dreamed of.

Lessons from the Cross
Dave with Hannah - My beautiful daughter that I love

Dave with Hannah – My beautiful daughter that I love

As I conversed with my missionary friends, one of them, Bill Yarbrough brought up some thoughts of a friend of his, who just happens to be a nun. She said that she feels we move on from the cross too quickly to the resurrection. We forget the pain involved in Jesus’s death on the cross, and that his mother and his friends felt deep sorrow. They didn’t realize at the time of his death that Jesus would rise from the dead. Thanks be to God that Jesus did rise on the third day!

Now that I lost my daughter, and I have suffered deep loss I am grateful for the man of sorrows, who’s acquainted with grief. He comforts me in my loss. He stays with me. He gives me hope, and lifts me out of the pit when I fall in. I believe the Lord has some awesome and wonderful mysteries for me to learn as He embraces me in my loss.

All of the Creation Groans for Redemption
Dave & Dawn - Thankful for my wife and that I don't have to go on this journey alone

Dave & Dawn – Thankful for my wife and that I don’t have to go on this journey alone

We live in this broken world, scarred by sin.

The enemy of our soul comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he will do anything he can to hurt us. This too is one of the effects of the fallen world we live in.

That is why all of creation groans for redemption. We long for the new creation. We long to be in the place where there will be no more loss, no more suffering, no more sorrow. The place where we will see our Savior, the lover of our soul face to face. We will be reunited with those we love.

I can’t wait to see my daughter again. I can’t wait to hug her again. If there are any tears they will be tears of joy!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

We Began The Trip With Some Fear
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Special Moments with dear friends

Dawn and I felt some apprehension as we returned to Colorado for the first time since Hannah moved to heaven. We saw many dear friends, who love us. Through tears Dawn and I retold the story of how Hannah passed from this life to the next. I would say it wasn’t an easy trip, but God showed up as he always does. He brought healing through our tears.

Maybe what we didn’t expect is as we shared our hearts, and friends empathized with us it strengthened us. We were afraid of being pulled down into the valley of the shadow of death, but rather the Lord lifted us up.

Comforted in Our Grieving
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Thankful for Opportunities to share our story like pictured here at Village 7 

Upon arriving to Colorado Springs we attended a conference for grieving parents. Then the next day, Dawn participated in a workshop of grieving mothers. When she arrived Saturday morning and saw all the pictures that had been made into button to be pinned on their clothes. Photos of all the children that passed away too early from our perspective. When Dawn saw those, she lost it. She wasn’t sure she would be able to make it through the workshop. Yet, the women were very loving and supportive and once she got through that she had a great day.

Overall, it was so good to see our friends. We loved visiting with people who care for us, friends who have been praying for us!

 

We enjoyed speaking in two churches, Cheyenne Mountain and Village Seven. We shared our story with them and many others. We told how our hearts still ache for the loss of our precious Hannah. Yet, that’s not the whole story, because the Lord has been healing and redeeming Hannah’s untimely passing.

Encouraged by All That The Lord is Doing
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Raising Funds for the Hannah Diaso Memorial Church!

It encouraged us as we shared about the changed lives through the church planting work and other ministries on the border, the Baja and Beyond. I think it lifted our spirits, because those who came, and listened were excited with us and for us. Also, we challenged people with getting involved in helping us to raise the funds, $30,000 so we can plant a new church in early 2018 that will be a memorial church. A church to honor Hannah’s memory and her legacy! In doing so we know that it will also bring glory to our loving Father.

Dawn and I realized anew that we can’t do what we do without an army of friends standing with us!

An Exciting Week Lies Ahead of Us

 

It seems like we just got back home in time to catch our breath, as we head out today to Ensenada with Skyview Presbyterian for a week of ministry. Pray for our time there, and that the Lord will use it in a powerful way to extend his kingdom in Baja California.

Yes, we were afraid, but God came through again. He rescued us, and he continues to redeem our pain and our suffering for that we give thanks!

Thank you as well, dear friend! What would we do without your faithful prayers and encouragement?

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God is in the Highs and Lows

We experienced some highs and lows this week. The week started with our incubator training for church planters, which is always a highlight. Then this weekend I was an assessor for a Discovery Center for sixteen church planting candidates. Usually we spread those events out, but this time they happened on the same week.

Dawn’s Dad, Alfred Moore Passed Through Heaven’s Gates
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Alfred Moore

In the middle of the week, in the middle of all this activity we sadly lost Dawn’s dad, Al. Alfred Moore went to be with the Lord at 2:12 AM EDT on Thursday, May 4. Dawn’s mom, Alice is thankful that Al didn’t experience any pain and that he didn’t suffer long after they discovered he had advanced stages of cancer. Dawn is with her mom and brother now in the Philadelphia area. When I talked to them today they mentioned that the Lord has given them peace as they mourn Al’s home going.

We appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s peace and comfort during this difficult time as we experience another significant loss so close to our daughter’s passing. The funeral will be on Saturday, May 13th.

God is On The Move Even Through These Difficult Days

The Lord is working in the midst of these momentary light afflictions. I’m grateful for the opportunities to invest in the lives of our leaders, pastors and church planters.

 

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Incubator Church Planting Training

Three of the guys going through our incubator church planting training just started their church in the last few months. Many of them echoed the sentiments of our friend Petri, who is planting a church in Ensenada. Petri said that the principles we are training them in are coming just at the right time for him. He is taking what he learns during the incubator and sharing it with his core group.

One of the pastors in the group, Abraham said he was going to use what he learned with his leadership team as they had a meeting planned during the week. Many of the pastors there mentioned they hoped to implement what they were learning in their church.

Thank you Jesus for all the good things you are doing in the midst of our pain.

God is On The Move in Discovery
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The Discovery Center

Then this weekend I was with eight couples who have a passion to seeing the Lord’s kingdom extended on the earth. Not all the couples are young, but they are youthful and have dreams and vision for a better tomorrow. It gives me energy when I’m with them. I also love being with the assessment team. They are great friends and we have a good time serving together. This is the joy of the Discovery Center.

Most of the candidates that are approved will go on to prepare themselves further and then plant a church in the next year. The hope, the vision and the passion to see the Lord bring change and tranformation to the lives of people in a new community is life giving.

God is with us, even in the middle of our pain. He is alive and he is on the move, which gives us life and it gives us hope.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

I Need God’s Grace
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The Cross on Mt. Soledad in San Diego

This year more than past years remembering that Christ was called a man of sorrows acquainted with grief has ministered to me. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3)

I recognize more than ever that I need the Lord’s grace and tender mercies. I long for His healing touch.

Our Ongoing Mourning

My family and I continue to struggle with Hannah’s passing, or as we’ve begun to say her moving to heaven. Recently the thought occurred to me that it doesn’t matter if I get angry or sad or somewhere in between, none of that will bring my daughter back to me. As King David said after washing his face, changing his clothes and worshipping the Lord in reference to his son who had passed away in 2 Samuel 12:23, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

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We Miss Our Beautiful Hannah, but We are Glad She is Celebrating Now

No matter how much I long for it, Hannah will not return to me. I do miss her every day. I do long to see her and hug her again.

These are some of the reasons why I love that the Bible says that Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. I feel through all of this the Lord is saying to me in a very personal and tender way, “I know your pain, I know your anguish. Hannah’s death was not in vain.” What a wonderful comfort. What a wonderful savior!

The Pain of the Ultimate Loss
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Our family in Mexico City

A few weeks ago Dawn and I went to see the movie, The Shack. I read the book a number of years ago, but I didn’t remember the story all that well. I’m aware of the controversy surrounding both, but that is not my purpose for mentioning it here.

As I watched the movie with Dawn I was surprised by how much the story ministered to me. It touched me as I saw a father grapple with the loss of his daughter. His sorrow, his anger and even his disappointment with God. There was a point in the movie where one of the characters playing God said, “It’s not your fault.” That is something I’ve wrestled with in pondering the why’s behind Hannah’s passing. I too sensed during a time of prayer that the Lord said to me, “It’s not your fault.” I think they are words that I need to be reminded of often.

A father is supposed to protect his child from harm, so when the ultimate harm comes there is a sense of failure. I wasn’t able to protect and keep my daughter from the tragedy of death. That’s so painful! Thank you for the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with grief. Thank you for being there for me.

Thank you for this day when we remember how Christ suffered on the cross for our sins. Good Friday seems like an oxymoron when we consider what it is referring to, but as many have said before, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming. Hallelujah!”

This hope that we have in Christ. This hope that David declared in recognizing that one day he would go to see his son, that is the hope that sustains us! We give thanks to the Lord for such a wonderful hope!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Writer’s Block or Just Grieving?
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Our last family photo with Hannah

Before my daughter went to her permanent residence in heaven I found it easier to write and post on my blog. I felt like it was cathartic in many ways. It helped me to get the word out and tell the story about all the wonderful things the Lord is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I also shared some of my personal musings and reflections as I deemed it appropriate.

I wouldn’t say that I don’t enjoy writing now, but I would say it’s harder. In some of the books I’ve read about grief, they mention how many of the things that used to bring us joy are now hollow. I feel that at times, and even though in a few days we will hit the five month mark there are still a rollercoaster of emotions that I experience. I wish there were another way, but I don’t think there is. I believe that all in all Dawn and I are doing well considering what we are passing through. Yet, it’s still painful. There are still those moments where we want to scream out, Why? Why? Why? Fortunately, the Lord doesn’t leave us there he comforts us, and many friends surround us.

God Does Sustain Us in Our Suffering!

A little over a week ago our friend and pastor, Stephen Phelan asked Dawn and me to share in church about how the Lord sustains us in our suffering. I thought I’d share some of that here with you as well, including a dream that our friend Marissa had.

I never really understood how horrible death was until our daughter died
I realize that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and there’s not a day that goes by that Dawn and I don’t feel some sadness, some frustration and like a part of us is gone.
I Miss My Beautiful Radiant Daughter
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful radiant daughter and much loved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly

I miss my daughter. I’m glad Hannah is dancing and partying in heaven, whatever that looks like, but I want to hold her and hug her again. I want to see her beautiful radiant smile in living color. There is a hole now that can’t fully be filled. That is my grief, that is my mourning song. I’m learning firsthand how cruel death is.

There is a type of groaning. One of the hard things about death is there are no do overs. No second chances. It is final. When I see pictures of Hannah and I’m reminded of her for a moment I think there must be a way to see her again this side of heaven. Maybe it’s a longing God puts inside of me. A longing for eternity, and a longing for something more and something greater than what this life has to offer.
God is Good, He Holds Me Tight
My anchor and what I’ve had to remember:
God is good
God is love
God is in control
These are simple truths, but it’s what I keep going back to when I get confused and lost on this long and winding road that we are on.
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I love this picture because Hannah took it at Starbucks one of our favorite places to hang out, and she put it on my lock screen on my phone

There’s a lot I don’t understand. I don’t understand why my daughter had to die at such a young age? Now I wonder why just a few months after Hannah’s early home going, why does my dad have to have inoperable lung cancer? Why do we have to endure two hard things so close together?

God made it clear to me that it is good to grieve and it is right to grieve. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says we grieve, but not as those without hope.
Grieving With My Mechanic
About a week after Hannah passed away I took my car in to my mechanic and he asked me how my family was doing. My mechanic is from Afghanistan, and he’s not a believer.
I told him how my daughter had died, and that it was hard. I said, “my faith gives me hope, and that I grieve, but not like those without hope.” He said, “that is easy to say,” and I responded, “no it’s not really, because I don’t get to hug my daughter anymore, I don’t get to kiss her and tell her I love her. I don’t get to go out for coffee or have any dates with her. I don’t get to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. All our dreams and aspirations are gone.”
He softened up after this, and told me of how he had been struggling with drinking , and his wife forced him to go get help. Then he told me he had a vacation home in Bajamar, which is near Ensenada and offered to let me use it. The Lord used him to encourage me, as he opened up.
Hannah’s home going  made me hate death more, and it made me long for heaven. If I’m honest a big reason I want to go to heaven is to see my daughter again and to give her a big kiss and a big hug. What a wonderful day that will be.
12362973_734515866680367_9062266216563511086_oMarissa’s Dream
I’d like to end this longer post than usual with a dream. An experience that Hannah’s good friend Marissa Irakoze shared with us.
I woke up today feeling a really intense feeling of happy and sad. I had a dream I saw both of you and Jon and David standing by a bench, we were in Heaven from how peaceful and joyful I felt. There was a girl sitting with her back turned towards me, but she had soft brown curled hair just like Hannah would wear hers when she lived with us. I thought “no, there’s no way that could be Hannah”. She turned around and immediately I burst into something that was crying, squealing and laughing all at the same time. I somehow managed to say “I really thought I would never see you again!! I really felt like this day would never come!! I can’t believe this is you!!” And she just looked SO healthy. Healthier, more joyful, incredibly at peace, and everything about her just glowed, and so so content. I wish I could describe it. She hugged me tight and just said “see? I told you it wouldn’t be long until I would see you guys again! I told you not to worry because I’m with Jesus!”
 
I feel encouraged and sad, because we’re still on the other side of this dream and it DOES feel like it’s taking forever to be able to join her. But in the dream, I could tell I had been waiting so long to see her, but once I looked back it was nothing compared to the eternity we now had to catch up. It was one of the strangest feeling I’ve had in a dream.
 
Praying for you all today ❤️❤️
I told Marissa that I shared this dream with our church, and she said that it was the clearest dream she’s ever had. I think it’s God graciously giving us a glimpse of heaven!
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Thank you so much for standing with us. Thank you so much for letting me share my heart with you. I pray the Lord’s rich and bountiful blessings on you!
In His Grip, Dave
The Commissioning
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Petri with his core team behind him during commissioning service

Today (Sunday) was both an exhilarating and a painful day. Dawn and I went to Ensenada today to be with our friends. I’ve tried to keep you updated about the new church planting project in Ensenada, Renuevo that Jesus ‘Petri’ Petrikowski is leading. The Lord gave us the opportunity to participate in the commissioning of Petri and Yudy and their team as they leave La Nueva Jerusalén to start their new church.

They’ve been meeting as a core group now for a number of months, and the group is growing and coming together. Petri and Yudy felt like it was time for them to start meeting on Sundays as they continue to move forward on this new church plant. I’ve been concerned for Petri and Yudy, because I’ve not been able to support them as much as I would have liked to since Hannah passed away. Yet, they’ve just kept on going.

Surprised Again by God’s Good Work
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It was a privilege for me to pray for Petri & Yudy and the church planting core team  of Renuevo

I’m pleasantly surprised by the progress they are making, and it brings me great joy to see the Lord working through them.

The ministry continues and I know it’s not dependent on me, which is a good thing.

After the commissioning service Dawn and I were able to meet with the core group, and they are excited for what lies ahead. We enjoyed the opportunity to plan, dream and pray with them. They are all very special friends who love us and they love Hannah.

Another Painful First

In a sense that was the painful part of the day. Today marked the first day that Dawn had been to Ensenada since Hannah went to be with the Lord. She woke up today feeling sad and heavy.

I will let Dawn share the story herself from what she wrote.

Dave wrote at the bottom of this post (referring to a post on the Hannah Diaso Memorial page on Facebook) the verse that says, “joy comes in the morning.” Unfortunately, the joy has not yet come for me yet this morning. Dave wants to go to Ensenada today to a special church service, because of an upcoming new church plant. I am hating the idea to have to face another first going to Ensenada for the first time now without Hannah.

She loved going to Ensenada to minister with us there, and Ensenada was the last place she went to minister with us in Mexico before she died.

I woke up crying today and I am missing Hannah terribly. Recently it seems like the longer that it has been since she “moved to heaven”, the harder it has been for me.

Please pray that God shows me what I should do with myself during these upcoming challenging days. This morning all I want to do is go to heaven. Life on earth can be so very painful and difficult– seemingly unbearable at times.😰

God Loves Us and He Cares for Us
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Dawn and I enjoyed spending some time with our friends and eating some good fish tacos after the service

The Lord did minister to Dawn today, really to both of us. When she got out of the car to go into the church she started sobbing, but we were met there by some loving friends that knew Hannah. Our friends loved on Dawn, and they lifted up Dawn’s spirit and we both ended up feeling much better.

This day was a little harder than most, but we are still in the thick of the grieving process. Still a number of difficult firsts to pass through. Jesus is with us in these moments and he uses his people to love on us and minister to us. Thank you so much for praying for us and for praying for this amazing work in Ensenada!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org