It has truly been a whirlwind journey for my family as my dad, Harold Renken left this earth June 16, after being diagnosed June 1, with stage four lung and brain cancer.

Since we are a strong Christian family, while we mourn for the loss of Harold, we rejoice in the fact that he is in Heaven.

As I reflect on the week after my dad died, I can’t help but be filled with awe and amazement at the kindness, generosity and grace that everyone in York and the surrounding communities has shown on our family.

Beginning with the hospice nurses and staff who assisted my brother, sister and mother once my dad decided not to pursue any kind of treatment, learning that the outcome would only possibly prolong his life by months.

The 48 hours that my dad was home with my mother and siblings, gave him the opportunity to die at home surrounded by loved ones, made possible in part by the staff at Tabitha.

During those last two days, and beyond, Faith Lutheran Church Rev. Dr. Heath Trampe met with Dad to provide him with spiritual care, communion and a discussion about what Dad wanted his funeral to focus on -- JOY, not sorrow.

It has been the large things, as well as the small things that have amazed me. The fact that Burton Enterprises provided additional trash receptacles and days of pick up as we begin the downsizing efforts. And the wonderful assistance provided to our family by Jon Brouillette at Metz Mortuary.

Possibly one of the most powerful signs of admiration came when I called fellow retired Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Reggie Ayers to see who I could talk to about having some patrol officers at the funeral.

Ironically, Lt. Andrew Ecklund from the Nebraska State Patrol is a member of Faith Lutheran Church where my parents are members.

I relayed how when I was a child that I was so enamored by the Nebraska State Patrol officers who attended my grandparents’ funeral.

Not only did they have troopers at the funeral, they provided an honor guard of troopers who stood as still as statues and guarded Dad’s casket during the visitation and at the church prior to the service.

We have had countless friends and family express how deeply touched they were by the presence of the troopers.

Another touching moment came at the incredible message Rev. Dr. Trampe shared with all in attendance at the funeral service, as well as the graveside service.

Also, at the cemetery the military service provided by the American Legion Bolton Post 19, York, that included presentation from two Navy personnel, a flag triangular fold reading by Don Sandman and the playing of Taps by John Turnbull and the 21 gun salute

Neighbors, church members and friends have also brought food over, mailed cards, sent prayers and offered assistance.

It is truly a blessing to have so many people rallying behind my mom and our family at this time of grief.

As I said in the beginning, as a strong Christian family we are blessed to know that Harold is in Heaven, where we will one day join him too.

York was home to Harold since 1964 and will continue to be home for my mom Betty and for that we are truly thankful.

- Linda Wilk


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