Posts Tagged ‘Mourning’

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

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
Celebration and Mourning
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The day before Hannah died, we had reason to celebrate. Ministerios Transformacion’s 29th church held their inaugural service. A church that we helped to build, and plant. We were so excited for the new birth and for our friends Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah.

I’m not going to lie that even though this is a great achievement for kingdom advancement, that because of the circumstances it was hard to celebrate. We were and we are thankful for this new work, but the shock of Hannah’s early departure totally knocked us off balance. Her home going caught us by surprise. We’ve been trying to sort life out since then.

Getting Back in the Battle
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly.

The Lord in his graciousness is bringing healing, but it is a slow process. Dawn and I are getting back in the battle. We are starting to minister to others. Yet, our hearts aren’t always there.

Today we head out to Mexico City. Then on Tuesday we arrive in Havana, Cuba to connect with some friends there. The Lord is opening some wonderful doors for us in Cuba. I will write more about that later.

Over the last month and a half Dawn and I needed to slow down. We’ve needed to mourn and grieve. We still are in the process of doing that, but as time goes on we are grieving while serving. Some days we feel more up than others. Things that used to bring us joy, now don’t. Yet we are not despairing.

Death is a terrible thing. The Apostle Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). Later in same chapter Paul,goes on to say, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55). Glory to God that in Christ we have victory over death, as painful as it might feel today, Jesus has removed the sting of death.

We give thanks that the ministry is not dependent on us. The church continues to grow. Yet, the Lord is so loving and gracious. He carefully teaches us and draws us to himself.

Join us in Prayer!

Please join us in prayer as we learn this new way. We are learning what we call our “new normal”. We need wisdom and grace, as we move forward in ministry. We pray that we will see many more churches planted. Many more people reached for Christ, many more that become disciples. We pray that the Lord will use, even Hannah’s  untimely death to spur others on to love and good deeds. O Lord, do be glorified! Be lifted up, and build your church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org