I had posted on my blog here a few weeks back about the death of my blessed neighbor, Mrs. Anna Paraskos, who died from liver cancer on October 7, 2012. Well, there is much more to the story. It wasn't just that she had died, causing great grief to her four lovely daughters and grandchildren that "rose up and called her blessed.". (Proverbs 31: 28) No, she left a gaping hole in the heart of her beloved husband John.
I didn't know Mr.P. as well as I had known his wife. What I did know about him was this: that he was a very smart man with a good job working for Chevron that got him transferred from Pittsburgh to California. In my post previously, I thought the family had left earlier than they did, apparently it was not until the 1980's. Mr. Paraskos and his family brought blessings to the families of Willoughby Road, there in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.
Every time I saw him, he had a smile on his face. He was soft-spoken and many times when I visited their house he would be sitting on the couch with a Bible in his hand. I know they attended a Baptist church. One summer I attended their vacation Bible school and they drove me back and forth. I was delighted to learn more about Jesus there. I felt at home in their house too. They were down to earth people, they carried no airs about them, everyone was welcome there.
I don't know the complete story but suffice it to say Mr. P suffered from serious health conditions for a long time. While his wife was in her end stages of her death shadowed valley, he also was in hospice. He was on a ventilator for quite some time. The daughters posted about his condition and we prayed that he might rally and pull through. Like the Apostle Paul, they asked that they would be spared "sorrow upon sorrow." (Philippians 2: 27)
God called Mr. P home only twenty-five days after the death of his wife on November 2, 2012. Perhaps her death had caused him so much grief that he just couldn't fight anymore. I like to think that God took Mr. P to His side before more terrible things happen on this earth. We can rejoice in the fact that precious to God was the death of his saint, Mr. John Paraskos. (Psalm 116:15)
I can't imagine the girls' pain. What faithful daughters they all were. They were right there when their parents hour of need came. I hope to be like them when the time comes for me with my parents. And the tribute they gave to their parents definitely shows what kind of parents they were. Loving. God-fearing. Gracious. Faithful.
Heather, the youngest daughter, shared Mr. P's dying words. He said: "There she is! Out of the ground and then Elohim." He also spoke final words in Hebrew. I have heard it said, that when you live well, then you die well. Mr. P, on his deathbed, was filled with peace. He was ready to join his beloved wife, to behold His Lord. (I John 5: 4)
It is sad for us, today, because the world is without a sweet, gentle hero like Mr. John Paraskos. May his legacy live on in the lives of his children and grandchildren,and generations following after, blessed by their association with this kind, unassuming servant of Christ.