Thursday, April 30, 2015

Keeping my eye on the prize...or at least one of them

A wearable tribute to this race,
what it means to me, and
to the people who help me
"just keep swimming"
As you know, I recently signed up for The Gathering Place, A Caring Community for Those Touched By Cancer's annual Race for the Place 5K which takes place June 7, National Cancer Survivors Day, and am running the 5K in memory of my dad, Papa D. For this year's race, I set my fundraising goal for $1,230 in honor of his home going (which was at 1:23 pm). How awesome would it be to meet that goal! My first goal, however, is to raise $500. Any participant who raises $500 will win the vest pictured here. I am a little over halfway to this first goal and I'd love if you could help me earn this wearable tribute to a race and cause that's near and dear to my heart for so many reasons.

Click on the link below to access my personal page to join my team and/or make a donation. Thanks in advance for your support.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just keeping swimming...and running

I'm everything I am because you loved me, Papa D
Although it's purely coincidental, it's kind of fitting that today, two weeks after Papa D's home going, our team has been officially set up for The Gathering Place's Race for the Place 5K/1 Mile Fun Walk.

In 2013, I participated in the 1 mile walk. In 2014, I decided to run the 5K, my first ever, after my dear friend and sister in pink, Kris Stefanac, went home to be with the Lord after a hard-fought battle with triple negative breast cancer in January of that year and vowed to run the 5K in her memory (and also remembering my friend, Julie Nelson Duellman, whose battle ended a week before the race). It was after last year's race that I fell in love with running and have been participating in various races ever since.

This year's race has taken on an even more important meaning. My dear, sweet father, Dick Whitcomb, affectionately known as "Papa D," went home to be with the Lord on April 14 after a 27 month battle with lung cancer, a battle he fought fiercely until the moment he took his last breath. I am dedicating this year's race to him. I am also running for the long list of family and friends who have been afflicted with the disease and are survivors and those who are no longer with us and remain in our hearts.

On a side note, I also donated the $73 in commissions I received over the last year from the sales at my Just Keep Swimming custom design t-shirt store front at Customized Girl. Thank you to everyone who purchased an item. I plan on doing the same thing next year.

Visit my personal fundraising page for Race for the Place to either join my team or make a donation.

Thank you for your support.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A spirit renewed

An award that might
be consider "heaven sent" =)
So much for thinking I would never be able to run again.  Two weeks ago, I was so excited I did so well running the 10 Mile Drop, only to be saddened later that day seeing Papa D's journey quickly coming to an end. I haven't been able to run since.

I signed up for the Run for Riley 5K event held in Mentor today at the last minute and my heart really wasn't in it. But life does have to go on and I'm glad I did it. Not only was I just shy of my PR by a mere 4 seconds, I was completely blown away when they announced the 3rd place winner in my age group and it was me  (especially since the results said I was 4th, which in itself was a surprise). What a coincidence, my prize is a gift card to not only one of my favorite restaurants, Harry Buffalo, but also the place we went to eat after learning there was nothing else that could be done for my dad and the doctor suggested hospice care.

My spirit has been renewed and I think I have a very special angel to thank for that. My heart is smiling. Thank you, Papa D. I love you! ❤️

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Home Sick

"You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now"

~Lyrics to the song "Home Sick" by the group Mercy Me

On April 21, it was one week ago that Papa D went home. One week ago I got to hold his hand and kiss his forehead, one week ago I got to tell him I loved him one last time. I thought I was doing ok today until I thought about my son, Rick's, track meet in later this afternoon. It probably comes as no surprise my dad was the kind of grandfather who rarely missed a sporting event of his grandkids. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, he was there. This is Rick's first year playing a sport and I realized this morning that he will never get to experience the feeling of pride knowing his Papa D is cheering him on from the stands. My heart is broken yet again.

Yep, I'm home sick today. I will be home sick every day. But today, I am thankful for the sunshine. I believe it's God's way reminding me it will all be ok….and that Papa D will be cheering Rick on from heaven.

Thank you all again for the outpouring of love and support over this past week; whether you attended the calling hours, the Celebration of Life service, sent a card, flowers, a text, email, or message, stopped by the house, or even just said a prayer or thought about our family. To say I'm blessed really doesn't convey how much it has meant to me and my family. I am touched beyond words.
I will never forget how it felt to hold my dad's hand
when I was a child or during the last months of his life
or the day I got to tell him I loved him one last time.

A celebration of life

Death leaves heartaches no one can heal, love gives memories no one can steal.

My dear sweet father, Papa D
On April 18, 2015 we celebrated the life of Richard (Dick) Whitcomb, age 71, who went home to be with Jesus surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday, April 14 at 1:23 pm.

He grew up in Lyndhurst. He caddied for golfers at a local course and made extra money by finding lost golf balls and selling them back to his clients. He went to a coal tipple with his parents, (Ada and Walter Whitcomb) and loaded coal into the trunk of their car to feed their furnace. He was the youngest child of two sisters: Doris (deceased), Jean (Dick, deceased) Paden and three brothers: William (deceased), Walter Jr. (who married Hilde), and Ron (who married Lu).

He married Faith Hoffacker and they lived in Chesterland for 53 years. There they raised four children: Nadine, Janna, Joy, and Rick (who was murdered 1996). Like a garden, his love watered the family which grew by three, when Nadine married Eric Toth, Janna married Michael Luck, and Joy married Paul Cimino. His name then changed from Dick to Papa D when his family blossomed. It then bloomed with eight grandchildren: Nicole, David, Daniel and Jared Toth; Kelly McClelland and Ricky Cimino; Jason and Rachel Luck, Jack Gou; and three granddaughters-in- law: Bethany, Shari, and Brittany Toth. Then burst with six great-grandchildren: Breanna, Alex, Corey, Jaxson, Bradley, and Garrett Toth. He is also an uncle and great uncle to many.

Papa D, aka Dick, worked at PCC Airfoils for 52 years. After retiring, he continued working for the company part time several days a week. In 1992, he co-founded Grace Evangelical Bible Church where he served as financial secretary and elder until the time of his home-going. At Grace, he worked with the AWANA children’s ministry for 27 years. He volunteered at the City Mission, preparing and serving meals for Cleveland’s homeless.

He loved spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed camping and was crazy about golf and was good at it. He joined several golf leagues and took many golfing vacations to South Carolina with his golfing buddies.

Helping others was his passion and his gift. He put other people’s needs before his own, working quietly behind the scenes. He has experienced the ultimate healing because he is home free, in heaven with Jesus.

His celebration of life service can be found here on You Tube.

A father and son reunited....

At 1:23 pm on April 14, 2015, Richard Gilbert Whitcomb, got to give his son, Richard Gilbert Whitcomb, Jr., a hug he was waiting to give him for the last 19 years and got to hear the words from our Lord "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I don't believe it was coincidence that he took his last breath and saw my brother at 1:23... Rick's funeral was January 23...1-23. My heart is broken but I know I will see them both again.

This picture was taken the last Christmas Rick was home in 1995.
A few short weeks on January 19, 1996, Rick was murdered by
his ex-girlfriend, Vicki Frost.