Friday, January 23, 2009

Remembering Ray

Loved Ones,

We have made the arrangements for Ray's funeral and visitation which will be on the south side of Chicago -- Ray's childhood home.

The visitation will be Sunday January 25th from 2:00-9:00 pm at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home, 4727 W. 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453.
Ray's funeral will be Monday January 26th beginning at 9:15 am at Blake-Lamb with the funeral mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church at 10 am.
St. Thomas More is located at 2825 West 81st Street, Chicago IL, 60652.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to LPL Financial - Fitzgerald College Fund. Details 708.636.1193

A DC Memorial Service to be held later is in the works at a future point.

We also wanted to tell you to watch for a coming article in the Chicago Tribune about Ray.

We continue to be so blessed by your prayers and emails. Thank you so much.

not alone and not afraid --

kristin

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shimkus Markup Tribute to Ray

video

Our Beloved Ray

Loved Ones,

I am writing to tell you that our precious husband, father, son, brother and friend has finally been healed from cancer. Ray went to the loving arms of his father last night.

We are so very sad at the loss of our treasure Ray. We know though, that while our lives will not be the same without Ray here on earth, they are so much richer because of him. We are changed for the better. And his legacy, like our love for him, will live on always.

We are so grateful to you for all of your prayers, encouragement and emails. This was a hard fight -- and we know it was a little less hard because of your prayers.

We pray this day for strength and peace as we remember and celebrate our Ray. And for God's constant accompaniment on the new journey we are beginning.

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins." Isaiah 40:1-2

not alone and not afraid --

kristin

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday Prayers

Loved Ones,

Oh to never have to write this email.

After meeting with all of Ray's doctors yesterday and today it is clear that they have done all they can to fight this cancer.

Despite the many rounds of chemo, the cancer is growing and getting stronger and Ray is much too weak to endure another round of chemo. Even if he weren't so sick, Ray's liver status renders chemo dangerous and ineffective.

We will remain here in the hospital in hospice care, while they regulate Ray's symptoms and keep him comfortable.

Ray is very tired and his body is crying out for healing. We are so glad that this healing is coming for him.

Oh how badly we wanted this healing to come on earth! We are profoundly sad to think of life without Ray. Though our medical teams had always prepared us for this possible outcome, we have all the while held tight to our hope for God's miraculous healing for Ray.

And, we will never give up this hope till the end. But we know how valiently Ray has fought this fight and we are comforted by the thought of his Father in heaven welcoming home his good and faithful servant.

Our days now are focused on enjoying the moments Ray is awake and holding his hand while he sleeps.

Our girls, who are only now even able to grasp the depth of love for their father, are comforted by your prayers, as are we.

We pray always for healing for Ray. We pray now for supernatural strength and comfort for us, our families and especially our girls, as our hearts are breaking at this loss.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at the break of day.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46:1-7

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Prayers

Loved Ones,

It was a hard day at the hospital. Ray continues to be very weak.

We met with many doctors about various aspects of Ray's condition but have not yet met with Ray's primary doctor. That meeting will be tomorrow.

Ray's vomiting and nausea are under control and we are glad of this.

We continue to pray for healing and for strength. That God would touch Ray in every way. We pray for wisdom in all things. We pray that an army of angels would be encamped around our girls. It is so very hard for them to see their dad sick. Harder still that we are away from them too. We pray that God's hand would shelter them and us in this raging storm.

"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant."
Psalm 119:76

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Prayers

Loved Ones,

We are so glad for your constant prayers, especially today as Ray's condition is serious.

Because of low platelets, they cannot do all they would do normally to prevent another stroke. They are doing some things and are calculating additional steps.

Probably more importantly, Ray has some problems with keeping and retaining fluid. He is very dehydrated because the fluid they put in goes right to his abdomen instead of his blood vessals. The dehydration is causing his heart to race.

We are praying for a stable night -- no vomiting, no heart racing and no restlessness.

We await the arrival of Ray's doctor tomorrow who has been out of the country. We pray for wisdom from her as she interprets all these tests. And wisdom for all of us -- each step of the way.

We pray always for healing for our beloved Ray.

"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." Psalm 34:1-7

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray