Lisa Fox, beloved wife of Rich and mother to Emma, Ethan, Kea, Blake and Sierra, passed from this life yesterday, Saturday, January 22, just after noon.
Thankfully, Rich was with her in her last moments.
Amy Grant has always been Lisa's favorite artist, so Rich plugged in Amy Grant's hymn CD "Legacy." Hoping to comfort her, Rich sang along with the CD, including the hymn "Holy Holy Holy." Shortly after the joyful and final cut "Marching To Zion" started, Rich realized that Lisa had stopped breathing.
Please keep Rich, Emma, Ethan, Kea, Blake and Sierra in your prayers. When there is news about a memorial service I will be sure to post it.
Under the Mercy,
I hope you have had a joyful and blessed Christmas celebration last week. As we all wrap up 2009, I though it would be good to send out another brief update on Lisa Fox and the whole Fox Family.
We are grateful that Lisa is still with us, but her decline continues. She remains in hospice care and her survival is just day-to-day. Rich and the kids are still able to see her regularly, but he told me that it has been exhausting and painful to basically be saying "Goodbye" every visit for the past two years, particularly for the past few months of hospice care. Please continue to pray for peace and comfort for Lisa and the entire Fox Family. They know that Lisa's passing into Heaven will be a full restoration for her, but even so, the sorrow they live through now and in the future is no less painful.
There is some joy and happiness for the Fox Family too. Major milestones in 2009 include some wonderful events. Of course, all of the kids are a year older and brighter, but perhaps the biggest news here is that Emmanuella became a teenager last week! As the leader of the pack she is maturing beautifully and takes her responsibilities as Big Sis seriously.
All the kids are sharpening their creative and musical skills. Besides some impressive recitals they have put together a mini-movie about their alter egos as "Fox Family 5."" In fact, they won a youtube competition for their efforts and got to perform on stage with the band "Family Force 5" in November. You can still see their video if you search youtube for "Family Fox 5 Christmas Pageant" or type in this address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgpIaUfSqEM
Finally, working for an airline provided Rich with the opportunity to take the kids on their first flight (for FREE!) and vacation this summer. He was able to take all five kids to central California to see San Francisco, the Redwoods, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. It was quite a trip and some photos are included below...
Keep praying and have a great 2010!
Under the Mercy,
PS. Thank you to those who have been able to send gift to Rich and the kids. You are all appreciated more than you'll ever understand.Clockwise from upper right: Emma, Blake, Ethan, Kea, Sierra
I am very sorry that it has been 21 very long months since I last sent you an update on Lisa Fox. There have been few sudden or dramatic changes, but over the course of such a long period of time there has been a steady deterioration in Lisa's physical health and mental state. Thank you if you have managed to continue in faithful prayer on behalf of Lisa and Rich and the kids. God's sustaining hand is quite evident even in the midst of an incredibly prolonged period of suffering and sorrow.
Below is a letter from Rich. Please be sure to pass this email along to any others that know Rich & Lisa, particularly if they fall within the lists of churches that Rich provides.
But let me start with a brief summary of the past 21 months. Lisa has never recovered enough in physical or mental health to be released from the Du Page Convalescence Center, but instead she has steadily declined and is currently in hospice care with the expectation that she will pass from this life in as little as a few days or weeks. In the midst of this interminable period of sorrow, Rich has exhibited an unwavering trust in God's goodness and His provision for each day's needs. His kids have all followed his lead and remarkably their home is often a joyful place to be. Rich has continued to hold down his job and remains committed to raising Emma, Ethan, Kia, Blake and Sierra with a house dedicated to love and hope. And all five of the kids have made the transition to local public schools and/or day care with wonderful success. Attached at the bottom is a photo from their first ever, family vacation from this past summer.
Watch for more updates in the coming weeks.
Under the Mercy,
Thank you for continuing to keep Lisa and the rest of the Fox family in your prayers and thoughts. Thank you also for the words of encouragement via email, the Christmas gifts and cards, etc. Here is the latest news.
Sadly, Lisa's condition has not improved. Due to the brain tumor and the subsequent surgeries to remove it, her brain is dramatically affected and her mind is still troubled, and not often fully lucid. Her waking and sleeping are still filled with paranoid fears and anxieties about things that are not based in reality. Efforts to find medication that would alleviate her suffering, and relieve her paranoia have not been successful, so consequently she remains in a full-time convalescence facility for safety's sake.
Fortunately Rich and the kids are still able to visit her up to three times a week, and she doesn't frequently have upsetting episodes during these visits. Even so, it breaks my heart to think of how strange and upsetting this must be for the children to only get to see their mother so infrequently, and in such a state of suffering.
Thankfully Rich and the kids continue to be very blessed by family and friends on this prayer bulletin. Also, church groups from Willow Creek Community Church, Wheaton Evangelical Free Church and First Assembly of God all helped to make Christmas as joyous as possible by showering gifts upon the kids. Even the new school the kids are in, Briar Glen Elementary, contributed gifts for the Fox family. Many of you also have helped by contributing funds to assist Rich in paying bills and meeting his mortgage payments. Rich is humbled by the generosity and very thankful for the help.
Unfortunately, however, the most recent mortgage payment that Rich was able to pay in full was November 2007. So far the house has not gone into foreclosure, but many factors have combined to worsen the financial situation: care for Lisa and the kids has resulted in an unsteady work schedule for almost three years now, rising health care costs (not all covered by insurance), and the real estate down turn in recent months coupled with a near doubling in property taxes have all conspired to form a "perfect storm" centered around the Fox family. Consequently, as mentioned in the past, Rich has been forced to make plans for putting the house up for sale. Not only does that have a tremendously sad impact on the kids and Rich, but because Rich is behind in payments, because the taxes have nearly doubled, and because the real estate market has faltered, the sale of the house would likely result in a net loss on Rich's investment when they bought the house several years ago. Even so, he is working on the details of bringing the house to market, and we'll keep you posted of the details as they transpire. Please keep these matters in your prayers.
Under the Mercy,
It has been some time since the last update, so there is a lot to tell!
Things have not improved for Lisa. Back in May I described how she had begun to have some pretty severe delusions that were paranoid in nature. She was taken in for a check up, and the tumor had not grown at all, actually it had shrunk a bit. So there was no new pressure on her brain that might be causing the new symptoms. She was checked into a residential care facility and the doctors began to try to find a mix of medications that might alleviate the delusional symptoms. Unfortunately the delusions have continued to worsen, and the medications have not been any help. Because of the nature of the delusions, and her inability to be stable and safe, she has had to remain in the residential care facility.
This has been a very sad development for Rich and the whole Fox family. While it is encouraging that the tumor is not growing, it appears that the brain surgeries that Lisa has undergone have not been without their downside. In many ways the anguish of Lisa's present mental state is more painful that the mere fear of her death, both for her and Rich and the kids. Imagine what it's like for Lisa, living all your days with almost nothing but fear of everyone (including your loved ones) and everything! Imagine what it's like for Rich, having prayed for so long for his wife to be healed physically, only to find that now Lisa can't remember their real life together, but instead has a fear of him based on a delusional state of mind. Imagine how difficult it is for Emma, Ethan, Kia, Blake and Sierra who have witnessed their mother's slow deterioration.
So I'm writing a new update to ask you all to pray for the healing of Lisa's brain, mind and memory. Now, more than ever, she needs our prayers, for she does not even seem to be able to pray herself! And pray for Rich as he continues to struggle through the anguish of a seemingly hopeless situation that continues on still after 3 years already! And pray for the kids, that they might find comfort and release from the stress of this tragic situation.
Also, please pray for Lisa's mother, Rose. She has lived with Rich and Lisa for many years, and has been cared for by them. However, given the current situation, Lisa's brother and sister felt it best that they assume the responsibility for her care. Pray that they will be able to find a suitable alternative living arrangement for her as soon as possible.
There is another very serious prayer request I have for you all as well.
Some of you have taken note of the severe financial stress that this situation has put on the Fox family, and have not only prayed, but have sent in unsolicited generous financial contributions to help out. In faith I am now making a more formal request for financial help. (Please note that I made Rich aware that I plan to ask for your help, but this is not his idea!)
The financial situation has worsened, and Rich is in danger of slipping into a foreclosure situation. (As if Lisa's health crisis hasn't been bad enough!)
So, I am praying that we can raise enough to pay the Fox family mortgage for at least October, November and December. He is already late for October, so this is an urgent request!!!
Rich is even now preparing the house to sell early in 2008, knowing that their current financial situation is untenable. But if he is unable to get it to market, and survive the next few months, he could wind up being foreclosed upon.
NOW FOR SOME OF THE GOOD NEWS!
The kids are all in school now, and are making the adjustment from home-schooling well. They are making friends and keeping up with their studies. Rich has been studying Isaiah 55 recently and has found deep resonance with the life lessons he and the kids are learning. He has striven to plant God's Word in his and their lives, and has seen fruit from these efforts already.
As a highlight, Ethan recently made the decision to be baptized at church and stated during his testimony in front of the congregation "I'm doing this because I believe in Jesus, and I want to be a man of God!" He was baptized on the date of Rich and Lisa's 19th wedding anniversary, and even Lisa was able to attend the ceremony and dinner celebration afterward!
Also encouraging, I can personally attest to seeing all of the kids showing great interest and skill in memorizing Scripture as well. Rich has told me that he can sense the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching the kids, and he can already begin to see their spiritual gifts developing.
While preparing his home for sale, Rich spent a few days last week landscaping and he told me it was a hopeful and cathartic exercise for him. The parallels were easily drawn between the hard work of getting through this crisis and the hope that in the future positive outcomes would result from faithful actions now, and the muddy, sweaty work of planting 180+ tulip bulbs that would have to weather a long snowy winter before coming to life in the Spring.
I don't know of any better way to end this particular prayer update except with that hopeful though. Below is the entire Scripture passage that Rich has found encouraging lately.
Invitation to the Thirsty
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor."
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."
Under the Mercy,