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What a week it has been.

Sadly, we said our goodbyes to my dear father-in-law who had been suffering from terminal lung cancer since September of 2012. I am inspired by the remarkable life he managed to build and when I sit around with our family laughing and sharing memories of times spent together I am grateful to God for EVERY moment we have had.

What I have learned through all of this is that the relationships we build and our character stand the test of time. My father-in-law was a quiet man, he was thoughtful and funny and kind. He was strong and brave and it was remarkable to watch him fight to live. He didn’t fight to live because he was afraid to die, it was evident he fought to live for all of us. He didn’t complain or ask “why me?’ he just quietly fought the disease, making the most of his time and sharing his love with all of us.

As we went through the family photo albums it was so clear by the smile on his face when he looked at us, how full his heart was. We were what he was most proud of. Each of us, his wife of 50 years, his three sons and the wives that they have made families and homes with. The look on his face when he looked at his grandchildren was so beautiful. I remember when the youngest grandchild was born a little over seven years ago, it was a planned C-section and it just so happens it was our youngest son. When they wheeled me into my hospital room after the surgery, there he was…waiting in a chair with his cup of coffee in hand. “Where’s my boy?” he said with a HUGE smile on his face. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on that new grandbaby! Once they brought Little Darby in from the nursery, the first arms to hold him were those of his grandpa. I will never forget the look on his face as he laid eyes on his newest love. That look was present every single time he looked at his loved ones.

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There are two things I cherish above all else and they are my faith and my family. We have spent time this week gathered together as a family laughing and crying and reliving many events. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior this week, I am especially grateful for the time we have had together. It is important to make the most of each phase in life, make memories together, fully invest in your family. The pain and sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one is well worth it, it is a simple reminder of how deeply we have loved!

So, as you gather together with family and friends over the next week, cherish the time, the laughs, the tears, and the fellowship. I am truly blessed to be surrounded with such great love, from my husband, our children, my husband’s brothers and their wives, my mother-in-law and all our nieces and nephews. I cherish our times together and I thank God for all that being a family brings.

Dad, I will miss you every day for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the love you have shared with me, for the laughs and tears and all the good times we have had. Thank you for loving mom and for being such a remarkable example of unconditional love, thank you for raising your son to be a loving father and husband. Thank you for loving and encouraging and supporting our kids always in everything they have accomplished. You are one of the best men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I will love you forever and always!

With Gratitude in Loving Memory of Garold Ray Runge July 14, 1938 – December 15, 2013

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Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge

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