Ten Years has passed….

April 10th marked ten years since my 47 year old mom died suddenly from pneumoccal sepsis.  April 10th fell on Good Friday that year.   

Mom was a third grade school teacher and I realized that all of her students are college aged now.  Hard to believe.  That was a rough year for our family as we had several losses, but the Lord was with us and strengthened us.  It’s weird to think about going ten years without talking to your mom.  It’s sad that she has never met two of my children.  But she left behind a great testimony for me to pass on to them.  She loved the Lord and loved us and someday when we reunite in Heaven I will have the privilege of introducing her to the two blessings we never thought we’d have.  In the meantime, maybe she is busy loving on the ones we lost. 

Okay, well that was a bit depressing now wasn’t it?!   Here is a picture of my mom followed by an inspiring article that the local paper printed about my dad as we headed into a new year….the first year without mom.  

Me and Mom

Me and Dad

Hendricks County Flyer
December 21, 1998

He has had a year that would try the patience of Job. In fact, it has been the kind of year that would not only try your patience, but destroy your faith, break your spirit and break your heart.

But Dave Lumpkin has managed to come through with his faith intact, his spirit strong and his heart broken, but mending.

It started in March of this year with the unexpected death from undetected cancer of his brother-in-law and friend, David Clemons, 56. Then in April, his beloved wife and companion of 29 years, Sandee, 47, very suddenly became ill and died within the week of pneumococcal sepsis. In August, his brother, Dennis, just 38, complained of feeling ill, sat down and died from a massive heart attack. Not too surprisingly, Lumpkin had a heart attack himself in October and November 30 he was fired from his job as service manager by Firestone.

1998 will be remembered as a year when much was taken from this man. Yet he has come through it all with his already humble spirit unbowed, truly becoming the reed that bends with the storms of life, but does not break.

The question is, how?

Lumpkin, a quietly attractive man, has a strong, resilient faith that has brought him through this sustained hurricane with a will to go on, with hope and optimism for the future.

But he has had his moments of despair and his time of tears. He simply tries to take it as it comes to him, deal with it as it happens and tries not to repress it.

“The hardest days are our anniversary, her birthday, the holidays–days like that. I’m so aware she’s not here and remember so well when she was,” he said. “But as hard as this all has been, I know a lot of other people have gotten through things like this and I will too.”

Lumpkin admits his strong faith in God and his acceptance of what has happened has helped him immeasurably in coping with those events. He has also participated in the grief support group at his church and feels that is another key to coping.

“It helps so much to talk with others who are going through this, too, and really understand what you’re going through,” he said.

The thing that helps the most, though, is knowing he did his best to be a worthy companion for his wife. “We always had a strong marriage, not perfect, but strong. But a year before she died, we decided we were letting other things get in the way and we made a special effort to make time for each other, do the things we needed to do to keep things close, ” Lumpkin said. “I know I did what I needed to do. I have no regrets.”

That probably comforts him more than anything else.
There are other people who comfort him. Lumpkin says he didn’t realize how many friends he had until he lost so much from the rest of his life. But experiencing such pain and hurt did have a negative effect on him that he hadn’t expected. “After a while I noticed that I had started to pull away from people I cared about, even my mother. I didn’t want to care because I didn’t want to get hurt like that again,” said Lumpkin.

“But one thing I have realized in all this is life goes on, whether we want it to or not. Sandee’s not coming back, no matter how much I’d like her to. She’s finished her work here. But she wanted her death to mean something and it does. We had three daughters and I’ve got to be there for them. I’ve got to finish what Sandee and I started. And I’m looking forward to 1999, too, and all it holds.”

The next time you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and as though all the woes of the Biblical Job are upon you, remember this present-day Job. Be thankful for what you have, deal with things as they come up, turn to your friends, perhaps even to Someone Higher Up and always treat the ones you love as though you might not have them tomorrow–because you might not.

Ask Dave Lumpkin. He can tell you what a comfort it is to have no regrets. 


About Ginger Truitt

Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Her award-winning newspaper column appears weekly across the Midwest. Recently, she was also published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood.


  1. Oh Ginger…I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I lose my mom.

    Praying for y’all today.


  2. Ginger, now I know where you get your good looks. Both of your parents are gorgeous and you were such a pretty baby and you’re still a pretty baby now. The article about your dad was amazing. He’s quite an inspiring man. I’ll be keeping him in mind the next time I’m tempted to complain about measly things. I didn’t realize you lost your mom so young. I’m sure you must really miss her. Thanks for this peek into your family.

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