Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Morning He Went to be with Jesus

July 3, 2013...the day that Bunky was taken off of the machines that were keeping him alive, after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. The day that Heaven welcomed a man whose impact on earth was huge. Our loss was Heaven's gain and while I don't believe that any person could possibly make Heaven a better place than it already is...I imagine there was an impact of some proportion the day that Rod Cook came on the scene!

I was asked by the person coordinating the donation of Rod's organs, if I would like to write a letter to the surgeons who would be removing and harvesting his organs, soon after he took his last breath. She said that not everyone does that, but she likes to give families the option to let these surgeons know about the person they will be performing this procedure on. I found out that there would be 4 different teams flown in from different parts of the country that morning, ready to do this procedure, once I said my final goodbye and he was officially no longer alive by mechanical means.

The team was present as I went into the cold and sterile room alone. They stood along the walls quietly, not making eye contact with me. It was pretty dark and sheets were covering portions of the operating room, to make it "feel" like less of an operating room. They played some music that I requested. At 10:42am after I entered a room, dressed in a sterile gown and shoes and a head- covering to kiss him and say my final goodbye, as he was taken off of life support. During the next 18 minutes I cried out to God, pleading for a miracle. The miracle I wanted did not happen and I was crushed.

I was warned that it might be a little scary or he might gasp for a final breath, but honestly, he didn't do that at all. He didn't struggle. He just peacefully stopped breathing. I felt a sense of warmness in that cold room and right before the person who took him off the machines, told me it was done and time for me to go, I already knew. At 11:00am they called his time of death. I left quickly and remember feeling like I could hardly pick up my legs to take a step. The hallway seemed to go on forever and each step felt more and more like a cement block was tied to my feet. I remember two people on each side of me holding me up as I walked. It was over.

I found the letter that I wrote to the surgeons stuck in my Bible about a month ago. I didn't realize it was in there. I will share it here. There are a lot of things about it I would keep the same, but would have probably added some things too. I wrote it at 4:30 am after having almost no sleep for days, so considering that, it was all I had. It was read to the people in that operating room before I even walked in to say my goodbyes. The lady who read it, later told me that there was not a dry eye in the room when she read it to them. I'm thankful they got to hear a little about the man that was about to do this final act of generosity. Here is the letter:

Rod was a 42 year old husband of almost 15 years, father of 3 boys ages 10, 7, and 4. He was an only son of two living parents. He loved Alabama football, golf, watching sunsets at the beach, but most of all, he loved playing with his boys. He was head coach of their baseball teams and could be found daily wrestling in the floor with them. He loved Jesus Christ and had a personal relationship with Him. Rod was an amazing husband, who was loved, adored, and respected by his wife, Missy.

Rod was a District Manager in the pharmaceutical industry for over 10 years and had so many colleagues who respected and loved working with him and for him. He knew how to motivate and inspire others, yet have fun at the same time. 

Rod had so many dear friends...some even dating back from kindergarten, that he continued to have relationships with. His personality is one that just drew people to him. He is deeply loved by so many friends.

Rod was loyal and a man of his word. One of his favorite quotes was, "Don't ever let anyone out-work you." He did everything 120%. He loved his wife and children well and was their provider and protector. If you knew him, you would know that he had a way of making you want to be a better person. There is no doubt that he is now with his Creator and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

His legacy to his children is one that will carry them through, because in these boys' short life with their daddy, he was always pouring into them, encouraging them, teaching them, loving them, and mostly modeling for them what it means to really have a relationship with Christ. 

Another one of his favorite quotes, which is on our back door, that we see each time we come and go, says, "The way you live is a reflection of how you believe, and what you are anchored to."

There is no one Rod wouldn't help. He was kind and giving. What an amazing final act of kindness. I pray, as his wife, that the "light" he was will manifest itself into those who receive this gift from him. I will be praying for your hands to be guided as you allow my husband to do what he would have wanted. I pray that God is praised and glorified through all of this.

Thank you- Missy Cook

Celebrating a life well-lived today and longing for the day we will see him again! A lot of healing has happened in 3 years, and there is still healing yet to be done. I am so grateful for the time we had. Every day is a gift...don't waste it!

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