Posts Tagged ‘Mourning’

Mixed Emotions on This Day
One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

Our daughter, Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

Today is a special day in the life of our family. Under normal circumstances, this would be a day of celebration. You see, on this day, April 9 my daughter, Hannah would have turned 24. The key phrase there is “would have,” but Hannah moved to heaven on October 18, 2016.

Now it is a day with mixed emotions!

Sorrow & Hope!
Hannah #AHannahPercent

Hannah We love you #AHannahPercent

Dawn and I along with our boys, David and Jonathan continue to give thanks for Hannah. We are grateful she was born. We give thanks for all she has meant to us, and the gift she is and was to us. Yet, there is also sadness and sorrow, because she is no longer here. As much as we wish we could, we can not change the fact that she has gone on ahead of us to be with the Lord.

For believers mourning is strange, in that, on the one hand, we have hope. All is not lost. We will see Hannah again! Hallelujah! Hannah is experiencing the greatest celebration possible today! Yet, because we love her so dearly we miss her. Each of my family members wishes we could take her out for a meal today, buy her a birthday cake and watch her joyfully blow out the candles. We would love to buy a gift for her and watch her open it.

Rather we are forced to wait. It’s not easy to wait. We do grieve, we do mourn, but not as those without hope.

The strange thing is on these days that should be days of celebration they become days of reflection. Days to remember what once was, and even what we dreamt for together.

Don’t get me wrong there are many good memories when I think about my daughter’s short life. These good memories are mingled in with some painful moments as well. It’s a mixed bag.

Tough Questions
Our last picture as a family together before Hannah moved to heaven

Our last picture as a family together before Hannah moved to heaven

I find that from time to time I want to ask, “Why?” “Why, Lord?” Why did this happen?” “Where were you in the midst of it all?”

I realize although these questions are inevitable, they are not good questions to focus on. The Lord was definitely with us in the midst of it all, even though it didn’t always seem like it. He has assured me of that, and he has said that he will never leave me nor forsake me. I believe those words are true.

The why questions are harder.

I’m not sure if the Lord will ever fully answer that question this side of heaven. We live in a broken world marred by sin. All of creation groans until the day of redemption. We are not the only ones who are crying out to the Lord as we grieve. We groan and we wait for the redemption as Romans 8:22-23 states.

Good Memories, Longing for More

On these days I find it harder to reflect on the good memories of Hannah. I’m not sure why? As I write this, I’m processing and in a sense thinking out loud. There are many good memories, but I think I just miss her so much, so even the good memories cause an ache of sorts.

My son, David wrote a wonderful reflection about his sister today. He shares many positive memories he has of Hannah. Although I cried as I read it, I found it encouraging. It’s worth checking out, My Little Sister.

I often think of King David after his young son died. David said he will not return to me, but one day I will go to him. That’s my hope to see my savior face to face and to see my daughter again one day.

The Lord is My Rock!
Dave with Hannah - My beautiful daughter that I love

Dave with Hannah – My beautiful daughter that I love. We had a special relationship. I do miss her so much.

Thank you, Lord, that you are near the broken hearted. You are with my family and me in our pain. You are carrying us through the valley of the shadow of death. You have a purpose, and it is a good purpose even if I don’t understand it.

When I reflect and think about our life and our grief it always comes back to our rock. He’s the rock of our salvation!

For some reason, this reminds me that a dear friend today, who I love encouraged me to be strong. In some instances, it could be hurtful to say something like that, but as I read those words I felt loved. I started to cry as I read those words, because I know the friend that wrote them loves Dawn and me, and that they look up to us. They want to encourage us.

Also, I realize that being strong doesn’t mean that I don’t cry, or that I don’t get sad or mourn. It means that even though “my world” may be falling apart around me that I keep my eyes on Jesus. He’s my rock. He lifts me up. He says that when I am weak then I am strong! I rejoice in my refuge in whom I run to in times of need.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, for loving my family in the midst of all the pain, and what at times even seems like hell on earth. Yet, this is temporary. It will soon pass!

“For this momentary affliction is peparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparision, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18 ESV)

Dawn, David Jr., Jonathan and I thank you for going on this journey with us. It’s not an easy one, so thank you for staying with us through all the ups and downs. God is good! So Good!!

The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church

We are excited to build the church in Hannah’s memory this week. Please pray for us as we make the final preparations and work with our friends at Ministerios Transformación to see this new church bring the light of Christ into a community filled with many needs.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

Today would have been our daughter, Hannah’s 24th birthday. Our son, David wrote a beautiful reflection on his relationship with Hannah, and things he learned from her life, so I wanted to share them with you here.

How can you sum up a life? Today marks what would have been her 24th birthday. The memories, the tears, the laughs. 22 years of memories can never be summed up in words. My memories with her will never leave me. I thought the best way I could share with you how important she was […]

via My Little Sister — AHANNAHPERCENT

Celebrating 29 years! Amazing!
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and I are celebrating 29 years today! We. walk on this winding road of faith together. We give thanks for all our friends who are on the journey with us!

Today Dawn and I are celebrating our 29th anniversary! We are in Phoenix, so it will be a first for us enjoying our anniversary here.

It’s possible that my anniversary has put me in a reflective mood, but I posted some thoughts about my family today on Facebook on the Hannah Diaso Memorial page. As I began to write the thoughts just kind of flowed, so I thought I would post them here as well. Let me know what you think 🤔.

First, I’d just like to thank my wife for these 29 years together. Especially the last two years have been so difficult, and when I think of it we’ve had about 5 years of what sometimes appeared to be ‘hell on earth’. Yet instead of all this turmoil, all this pain drawing us apart it has drawn together. The Lord has used my wife to help me to grow in my faith and in my love for Christ. She is passionate, zealous and bold which at times pushes me to uncomfortable places, but it’s kept me from becoming complacent. It’s caused my relationship with Jesus to flourish and we are experiencing things in ministry that we’ve never seen before. It’s super encouraging to see all the Lord is doing! She’s also an amazing mother to our three children. These are some of the reasons that I love and respect my loving wife, Dawn!

Here’s to 29 more years together or more if we live that long!

Reflections on My Happy Family!
My happy family when Hannah was still with us. This was taken around April 2015 by our good friend Jacob Betchol

My happy family when Hannah was still with us. This was taken around April 2015 by our good friend Jacob Betchol

I love this happy picture of my family. I have it on my iPad homepage, so I see it every day. Yet, today I realize that when my daughter moved to heaven this was taken from me.

I’ve always taken pride, hopefully a healthy pride, in my family. It made me feel good knowing that my family was healthy and happy. I’m reminded that in John 10:10 that the thief, the enemy of our soul comes to steal, kill and destroy.

It’s hard to put to words, but I feel that in my idea of a healthy and happy family has been taken from me. Even in some ways I feel disappointed as a father. Not necessarily that I’ve failed, actually the Lord has encouraged me various times through various means that I am a good father. Yet, this isn’t what I hoped for or envisioned for my family.

I believe my family is doing remarkably well despite the terrible loss that we’ve suffered. I’m surprised and amazed at the maturity David & Jonathan have displayed! I’m encouraged by their faith and strength in the Lord.

My marriage to my bride is also stronger than ever today as we celebrate 29 years together. It’s been hard very hard to walk through the valley of shadow of death, but we are doing it, and we are doing it together.

Part of the challenge of losing someone so near, so dear, so loved is that it shatters many dreams. It shatters many of the things that I hoped for. It’s a pain that doesn’t ever fully seem to leave, even though it does get better.

I’m not writing this from a place of deep sadness, although it does sadden me that I can’t see my daughter’s beautiful smile any more. I’m in a more pensive and reflective place today. And I’m reminded when I look at the picture of my family laughing and having fun together, I realize too that I no longer have that seemingly ideal family.

The Lord is comforting each of us as we continue on this journey. In many ways I feel like he has cared for us and blessed us beyond measure since Hannah moved to heaven. I feel like as the enemy meant this to harm us, but that God is using it for our good. He is drawing us closer and closer to him. He’s given us a better perspective on the fact that life is short, and we should be careful not to live in fear and not to live just to please others.

He’s caused me to realize the importance of running hard after the Lord, to grow to love him in a deeper and more profound way. To make our love and service of Christ our ultimate goal in life, even if it doesn’t fit with a conventional comfortable life.

I do give thanks and my family gives thanks for the myriad of friends and family who have prayed for us and encouraged us as we’ve been on this long and winding road.

We need the Lord so desperately, and we we are so grateful for those who love us and have expressed their love to us in so many ways! Thank you, dear friends! We do love and appreciate you.

In His Loving Grip, Dave for the family

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dawn with Hannah

Dawn with Hannah

Dawn shared this a couple of days ago on Facebook, and I thought she did a wonderful job of expressing her own pain, and how she can identify with Mary the mother of Jesus. Since we are in the Christmas season, and also seeking to raise awareness of the funds we are raising for the church we are planning on building in Mexico in Hannah’s memory. I just talked to pastor Daniel Nuñez with Ministerios Transformación earlier today, and we are hoping to build the church on the weekend of April 14th.

Dawn’s Reflections on Mary and Her Journey

Since Hannah has moved to heaven so young I feel that I can relate to Mary more than I ever could before. I believe that only a mother that has also had their child move to heaven before them- knows the grief involved in this long and painful journey. (Although I believe that the journey of grief after losing a spouse would be even more painful and more difficult than that of losing a child. At the moment I am wondering if losing a parent- especially as a child might be most difficult still.)

There are more parents than I had realized who have lost a child. Every parent that has been through this painful experience that Dave and I have met, join us in saying that none of us wanted to be members of this club. Not one of us would have chosen to be part of this club for parents who have had a child move to heaven before them. Somehow, this makes me feel a deep love and respect for both Mary and Joseph since they both had to join this club as well. I believe that they both experienced much more grief than most of us have ever considered or experienced.

Facebook reminded me of this quote below that I posted a few years ago. Wow, I never anticipated that as my life progressed that I would grow to identify with and appreciate Mary’s sacrifices that she made for us all so much more.

I believe that Mary experienced more emotional pain and grief though- than I will probably ever be able to identify with. What a sacrificial and Godly life she lead- and so very much behind the scenes. Walking beside my husband through this journey of grief has been and continues to be sobering. Previously, it never crossed my mind to be appreciative of the sacrifices that Joseph made for us. This experience has taught me some painful lessons and linked to Mary and Joseph in a deeper and more profound way.

Mary and Jesus – The Father’s Greater purpose!

Facebook reminded me of this quote below that I posted a few years ago.

E3434D46-7BA6-4542-9015-887B2122743E“Mary must surely have spoken to her baby, Jesus, and said, “I wanted Your pathway smooth. I wanted Your steps on earth to be easy. I wanted you to have a painless and perfect life. But I sense the presence of Your heavenly Father here with us, and He has a far greater purpose for You than I can ever imagine.”

-The Miracle of Christmas

La Pieta

Michelangelo’s La Pieta

Dawn’s reflection reminds me of our experience at the Vatican this September when we saw Michelangelo’s La Pieta. An amazing sculpture that tells the story of Mary’s pain over the loss of her son. We give thanks that the story doesn’t end there, that Jesus did rise on the third day, which gives all of those in Christ hope.

Click to make a donation

Click to make a donation

We are at year-end, this is a great time to give towards the Hannah Diaso Memorial Church Plant. Our goal is to raise $30,000, and we were recently given a matching gift, which helps us get closer to reaching the goal. Dawn and I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider a gift today. You can give a donation by clicking on this link.

Thank you for praying for us and for taking the time to consider our request.

In His Grip, Dave & Dawn

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

I Must Keep My Eyes on Jesus
A fun time at our Christmas posada with our friends - the day the music came back to life!

A fun time at our Christmas posada with our friends – the day the music came back to life!

Don Mclean’s song, American Pie, sings about the day the music died. The song uses poetry to tell a tale of sorts about the tragic day that Buddy Holly and Richie Valens died in a plane crash. The other day I listened to American Pie and thought about the day the music died for me when my sweet daughter moved to heaven. That was a sad and horrific day for each of us, David, Jonathan, Dawn and me. We have many friends and family that have mourned with us over this past year.

God is been so good to us this year, despite our sorrow. He has been so near to us and comforted us in so many ways. That’s not to say that it’s been easy. It’s been the hardest year of our lives, but the Lord carries us through it.

There are moments when I think I wish more had changed, that we would see even more redemption than we’ve seen. The Lord has reminded me that I must keep my eyes on him. That I walk by faith and not by sight. Even though we are walking in victory, it doesn’t always feel that way. God has a plan and purpose for us and it’s a good one.

What would I do without this hope? What would I do without the hope of eternity? What would I do without the hope of one day being reunited with Hannah?

I give thanks for the Lord’s nearness and his healing power.

Music and Laughter in Our Home Again!
David before and after the mordida!

David before and after the mordida with our friend Andy!

Last week we had more than 40 people in our home for a Christmas, Posada party. The night of the party it dawned on me that this was the first time we had had a party in our home since Hannah moved to heaven! I thought, Wow! That is a victory for us! That is progress.

The party was even more special because one of our son’s, David was able to be with us for the Posada. David loves the fiesta, and he is the Lord’s gift to us on Christmas, December 24th, which is his birthday. We were able to celebrate David’s birthday as well. One of the traditions that they have in Mexico is the “mordida”, which means a little bite of your birthday cake. Inevitably when the person being honored goes to take the “mordida” bite someone will lovingly shove his face into the cake. Since my children grew up in Mexico, they grew to love this tradition. Also, they still love to have fun!

Usually, it is a little push and a little bite, but this time David’s whole face got shoved into the cake. David loved it!

It was so good to hear laughter in our house again and to have so many friends enjoying the time and celebrating the season. You might say it was the day the music came back to life. The Lord continues to do his amazing healing work in our lives. It’s a long journey, much longer than I would like.

Remembering Hannah

 

I asked David Jr. to share one of his favorite photos of Hannah with me, and here it is.

I asked David Jr. to share one of his favorite photos of Hannah with me, and here it is.

Today David and I went to visit Hannah’s gravesite, which I like to do on occasion, although it tends to be a somber experience. We left the cemetery feeling sad and quiet. It’s a reminder we are not home yet. There is still pain in this world, and part of that pain is being separated from those we love. Even though it wasn’t an especially uplifting time, I’m glad I could share that moment with my son.

As I mentioned above I was hoping that we would have seen even more redemption of Hannah’s moving to heaven. It’s there, but I have my moments of doubt, and at those times I can get down. I’m thankful for my family and that we have so many friends holding us up.

Over the last few months, I’ve made it aware that one of the ways we are seeking to honor Hannah’s memory is by starting a new church in Mexico. We are in the process of raising $30,000 so we can build the church. We would like to build it in the Spring of 2018, and we are inviting all of our friends to join us by giving towards this church plant and to come and help us build it! This also a plays a part in the redemption of Hannah’s early homegoing.

Click to make a donation

Click to make a donation

You can give by clicking on this link

Thank you, dear friends, for standing with us. We pray that you will have an unbelievably fruitful and blessed 2018!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Blessed to Serve on Mission with God
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and Dave walk on this winding road of faith together

Some days I feel so excited about what we get to do, and who we get to work alongside. Even though working in mission isn’t always easy, I realize that Dawn and I have been blessed in so many ways as we serve in helping to fulfill the great commission. Yet, I’ve found myself feeling up and down these last couple of weeks because we just came upon the one year anniversary of when Hannah went to heaven.

That’s been truly painful. There’s no way to hide from it.

I think Dawn and I receive more support than most people do when they’ve lost a loved one, which does help sustain us. The Lord also lifts us up. He does it day by day and moment by moment.

The Painful One Year Anniversary
Dave picking flowers for Hannah's gravesite on the one year anniversary of Hannah's moving to heaven

Dave picking flowers for Hannah’s gravesite on the one year anniversary of Hannah’s moving to heaven

Last Wednesday, October 18th is when we crossed the one-year threshold. Dawn and I felt like it would be best if we could be out of town for a few days during that time. A couple of weeks ago we had dinner with a close friend and ministry partner, JD Pearring. JD lovingly asked us how we were doing, and what our plans were for the one year anniversary. It was something we had thought about, but Dawn and I hadn’t come up with a decision yet. JD invited to go to the Transformation Ministries conference in the LA area. After we thought about it some we decided to attend the conference.

The Lord met us there in some amazing ways. The conference started on the 19th, and both Dawn and I felt down in the morning as we were driving to the conference.

We were sad on the 18th, and it was hard to go visit Hannah’s gravesite, but in some ways, I felt worse emotionally on the 19th.

The moment we drove up to the conference and got out of the car the first thing that occurred is I dropped my phone in the street and cracked the screen! Huge bummer! Things seemed to be getting worse. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see our friends at that point.

Once the conference began we worshipped the Lord together. The group that led us guided us into the presence of the Lord, and there as I began to worship I felt the weight begin to lift. Praise Jesus!

Then Margaret Feinberg shared a wonderful message. Neither Dawn nor I had heard of her before, but she did an excellent job of transparently sharing about joy in the midst of trials. Margaret is facing cancer at the moment, so she is walking through a valley herself as she ministers to others.

Rejoice in the Lord!

One of the passages she shared really spoke to me from Habakkuk 3.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV)

This passage ministered to me in such a way, that I just had to start sharing it with others. I had read it before, but since we are going through this painful period of mourning it touched me in a special way.

Dawn and Dave with Hannah when she graduated from IMPACT 195. Two months later she graduated to heaven. We miss her every day. So thankful for our hope in Jesus!

Dawn and Dave with Hannah when she graduated from IMPACT 195. Two months later she graduated to heaven. We miss her every day. So thankful for our hope in Jesus!

The other way that the Lord lifted us up was being around friends who love Jesus and who love us. Dawn met some new friends who ministered to her in a special way. As we pass through this season we see the Lord using our storying to minister to others out of our pain. God does not waste our trials.

I must say I wish for more. I pray for more. I ask for more. I want more of Jesus and more of the Spirit in my life. God hears my prayer, I’m confident of that, but the answer is not always the way I hope for or expect. Yet, I will praise him. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (Job 3:15a)

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

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.
______

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