4/8/23 Dave’s Testimony: Eulogy… Hope and Encouragement During Grief, Cancer, Pain, and Suffering

Our dear Dave went to be with Jesus on February 21, 2023. He was not alone; he was with family. I got to touch his cheek and tell him I loved him. I called on Jesus, and he drew his last breath.

Dave was a great guy; he was loud, hilarious, fun, brave, handsome, musical, generous, wise, hard-working, responsible, strong, friendly, and so much more.

Dave became righteous through his relationship with Jesus. He was blessed with the spiritual gifts of prophecy, wisdom, discernment, patience; and many more good and godly gifts.

He started out as a young boy from Maine; spending time hunting in the woods and fishing in his grandparents’ river. He grew up with many loyal friends who still love him to this very day.

Dave came from a large family; filled with people who love him: his mother, sister, grandparents, stepfather, step siblings and half sisters.

Dave loved spending time with his best friends at their parents’ home and their camp on the water; and relished sweet memories of summers at Sebago Lake among some of his favorite people.

In high school, Dave loved sports, but his favorite was playing baseball. He loved those special times with his friends. After he graduated, Dave joined the United States Army, where he served from 1989-1994.

Dave was a helicopter crew chief, serving multiple missions. Some highlights of his Army career were doing mountain top resupplies, and commanding Generals and Distinguished Visitors; such as senators… and even the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

He later served as a crew chief and EMT with his medevac helicopter unit. As a Specialist with technical knowledge, he was required to have a strong work ethic and outstanding leadership skills. Dave was in charge of keeping the inside and outside of the helicopter safe, well-maintained, and productive at all times.

He was also in charge of instructing his Army crew on how to operate, repair and complete tasks on the aircraft. Dave also performed rescue missions, giving him the privilege of saving people’s lives.

He served in Korea, Texas, and Honduras; receiving numerous awards including: helicopter crew chief, helicopter aircrew members wings, Army Commendation, and Army Achievement Medals for his exemplary service.

Dave also received the Quilt of Valor Award during his last year of life. It was especially meaningful, because the quilt was made by his own mother.

I met Dave during his last year of service in the U.S. Army. I had said I’d never marry anyone younger than me, and I didn’t normally date really tall guys! I also said I’d never marry anyone in the military, because as a child of a military man; I didn’t want to keep moving around the rest of my life. I wanted to plant roots! I ditched all my decisions about my plans when I met Dave. He acted older than he was, he was handsome and strong, and he was serving his last year in the Army. We were engaged in three months, when I had always said I’d wait at least a year to get engaged. Within eight months, we were married. I’m so proud to have married an American veteran!

Dave accepted Christ during our premarital counseling from the pastor who baptized me as a child. We married in 1994, in San Antonio, Texas. I still remember how a Kleenex was dropped at our wedding ceremony, and Dave kept looking at the floor, and then looking at me; like should we pick it up? He was making silly faces, and I was trying so hard not to burst out laughing at the alter!

Dave was very self-motivated and hard working. As a Corporal he’d attained leadership positions; so after the military, he continued to reach for the top, rapidly achieving executive positions such as Director and vice president of sales. Eventually he became part time owner of his own software sales company.

In the late nineties, we moved to Centreville, Virginia and started our family. Dave loved children, and he worked hard, so I could stop teaching in order to raise our own. I’d prayed for twins. Our dream came true when I saw an odd sight; a white dove in the sky, while I driving home. Two days later, we received the double exciting news that we were expecting twin boys! Dave recognized it first on the ultrasound. I didn’t even realize what was on the monitor. I’d been so sick for six weeks and could barely stand. But we laughed out loud; thrilled when the doctor said, “You’re right. You’re getting your wish.. it’s twins!”

Nicholas and Jacob, were born 2-1/2 months premature. We were instantly and proudly in love with our tiny baby boys. Dave said he was going to give them everything he’d missed out on as a boy, when he hadn’t had a father in his life.

Our twins needed special care, and would experience different health issues throughout the years; yet through the good and the bad, we were all about our children.

We moved to Berryville, Virginia to raise our kids, so they could could grow up in the beautiful country; in a safe, peaceful, friendly small town. Our twins were the greatest gift Dave and I had ever received. And so was our gift of another deeply desired miracle baby, who came ten years later. A sweet surprise; our daughter lit up the entire family’s life with her sunshine, love, and creativity. Abigail was a delightful, beautiful baby girl, who completed our family. Dave chose her name; it means “Father’s Joy.”

Over the years, Dave and our family became more involved in church,; further seeking to learn more about Jesus. I taught Sunday school, and Dave taught himself to play guitar; eventually becoming part of the worship band at church. To his absolute delight, as our two sons grew up, they also joined the worship band; playing acoustic and electric guitars and drums. Dave grinned from ear to ear as he watched them play! He was so proud of them, and so happy they shared his talent and passion for music. Dave especially loved playing music on Easter Sunday, which is why we’ve chosen the day before Palm Sunday to celebrate his life. It’s also been a year since we began sharing Dave’s Testimony; which started out with Palm Sunday miracles; one of those being that we were able to bring him home after almost a month long hospital stay; so we could celebrate Easter with him.

Dave was a great provider and caretaker. He was there when our children were sick. When I developed chronic illness; he worked his job, took care of the house, and ran errands; as well. He was a great role model for the children on how to care for each other when times are tough. He went above and beyond for our family. We bonded more and more with our children, through good times and bad. Both of us have always been so thankful for our close, tight relationship with our beloved children.

Before getting sick, Dave had landed a dream job. We were able to travel to London as a family; and before that, visit New York, and also Canada: Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec. We also went to Helen, Georgia where two more members of our family came from; our sweet Cavalier King Charles spaniels, who have added so much joy to our home. I’m incredibly grateful for those precious times we had as a couple, and together as a family.

Dave enjoyed movies, all kind of music, hiking, Jiu-Jitsu, his dogs, and the outdoors. Before his illness, he was proud to have completed the Murph Challenge; a challenge to be done in a day, once a year on Memorial Day; to honor American veterans. The challenge consists of a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another mile run… all while wearing a 20 pound vest. Dave was so happy the day he completed the challenge! Though he enjoyed many things, Dave was happiest spending time with family and friends.

In January, 2022, Dave suddenly became gravely ill. After being in such great shape, he told me he could only do two push ups. We received traumatic news. After six ER visits, Dave was diagnosed with a rare, stage 4, fast moving, aggressive colon cancer. It was terminal; with a very difficult surgery. Chemotherapy could possibly slow it down, but there was no cure. Now it was time for us to rely on God, Jesus, each other, and beloved family and friends; to help Dave at a time when he could no longer physically care for us, or himself, the way he had done before.

Yet, while sick, Dave still managed to set things in place to secure our family’s future. Dave chose to face his cancer by relying on Strength through Jesus, which became his motto for the entire year of his immense pain and suffering. He knew from the very beginning, that God was calling him home soon.

We decided, as a team, to share Dave’s Testimony in real time through my Christian blog, The Silver Lining. Dave said if his story could help others, and reach people for Jesus, he wanted it told. “Tell it…” he told me. “… Tell it all.”

Over the years, Dave had learned the solid biblical truth… knowing a man can only change for the best, through Jesus Christ. I know Dave would want me to share that our lives were not so easy for us. We had to learn how to truly love each other; which was about making the choice to love each other, our children, and our loved ones; as Jesus loves us.

Out of all of his accomplishments, being a father was his favorite. But Dave would also tell you that no one’s accomplishments matter, unless we live our lives with Jesus. He knew that Jesus is the reason for our being, and the one and only way to our eternal salvation.

Dave has shared his testimony of strength through Jesus with his family, friends, and strangers all over the world. Dave’s Testimony links are included in his memorial booklet to encourage anyone going through cancer, chronic illness, or challenges with their faith in God. Dave was a true example of a man who lived and died, knowing “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).

He was a true soldier in God’s Army in every way. We will greatly miss the husband, father, brother, and great friend he was to each of us. But we can find comfort in knowing we will see Dave again. Romans 5:6 (NIV) says, “For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.”

Dave already knew a year ago that he was going home to be with Jesus, sooner than we expected. He talked to God in the hospital for three days in a row, telling me, “I’m excited for once for God showing me the path in my life. There’s gonna be a miracle regardless. Just be looking for it. Be ready for it!”

“If I don’t get healed, and I die, it’s a miracle regardless. I’m ok with it.”

“There are going to be miracles…lots of miracles.” Confident in Christ, Dave said, whether he lived or died, “There will be miracles either way.”

There have been miracles, with more to come: restored relationships, and an abundance of love for the entire time Dave was sick. Family, friends, and community pulled together to visit, pray, feed, and help us; when we needed it most. Dave, and our family were incredibly grateful and blessed by all the love and support coming our way. We couldn’t have done it on our own. It’s how God’s children care for one another.

Dave received thousands of prayers from across the world, and we received an overwhelmingly positive response for telling our story: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. Dave and I had the privilege of hearing that many people were being blessed by Dave’s strength and courage through Christ.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 is one of God’s promises. I know this promise has come true for Dave.

When Dave got sick, I asked God a lot of questions about His promises. I hope that what God revealed to me, will comfort you during your own trials. That’s what Dave hoped for too. I asked God about promises, such as, “If this promise in the Bible is true, then, what does this mean for him? For us?”

Why not give me what I’m requesting?

John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

I’d asked God for seven more years with Dave, if it didn’t involve pain and suffering. But Dave had so much pain and suffering, he’d started praying for God to take him home.

God showed me that Dave and I are one through marriage. Our God is merciful. As much as it hurts us to be left behind; God took Dave home, in his infinite mercy, wisdom, and grace; because Dave’s life had become unbearable. God also knows the deep desires of our hearts. He knows that we love Dave so much, we didn’t want him to continuously suffer just to stay here with us.

If Jesus is The Great Physician, and we believe in miracles, then why not a miracle physical healing for Dave?

Dave did get healed physically after a healing service. His tumors began to shrink. However, the cancer soon returned with a vengeance. Dave said that the miracle was being able to spend Christmas with his beautiful, loving family. He was also able to enjoy Thanksgiving with favorite extended family members who came to visit. These special celebrations were truly a wonderful gift from God; but Dave knew God was still calling him home, and he was ready to go.

Though Dave began to decline, God showed me that He was was healing Dave’s mind, preparing him mentally and spiritually for the journey ahead. Dave was ready to meet Jesus, but he still had work to do. God kept his spirits up, and Dave was about to bring more people to the same heavenly place he was going.

Why did this happen?

When we give our lives to Jesus, we are giving our lives back to God, to be used to reach others for Jesus, according to God’s perfect will. Though it was not a choice for Dave to have terminal cancer, he chose to ask for God’s will to be done; so he could be used by God to bring others to Jesus. It gave him purpose. His acceptance gave him hope that he could be used as a servant of God.

Dave was ready to meet Jesus when he was first diagnosed. He talked to God in the hospital for three days straight. Originally, he didn’t want any treatments, because he knew it wasn’t going to make him better, and he knew God was calling him home.

But Dave asked God for more time, so he could put things in order for his family. We prayed together, and it was his choice to go through some treatments in order to make preparations, and give our family more time with him. Matthew 7:9-11 says, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Dave gave us good gifts during his last year on earth. This was a sacrifice on his behalf, especially when he knew it was going to be a long and very rough road ahead. Still; he took care of things when able, always with his family in mind. Throughout treatments; Dave, his sister, Wendy, and our family; helped him to build his t-shirt business. It was a dream he’d had for a long time. Strength Through Jesus Apparel was a way to share what Dave believed in most: Jesus Christ. It was also a way to help others, and share some of the proceeds with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where families receive free healthcare for their children who are battling cancer. Dave made sacrifices for us. Jesus sacrificed his life for the entire world by dying on the cross for our sins. It’s all about love, and God is love!

Why was Dave able to accept his diagnosis?

Dave’s goal in asking for God’s will, was to win people to Christ so they can have eternal life in paradise.

Neither of us have been religious, in the sense of following a set of rules without understanding why. Instead, our purpose has been to lean on God’s Word, follow Jesus, and grow to become more and more like him each day. We have strongly wanted to lead others to Jesus, God’s Son, the One and Only way to forgiveness and eternal life. John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Why did Dave have to suffer?

The peace and hope Dave had through suffering is offered to us all in Romans 5: 3-11. “Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we all have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Why is this happening?

Dave knew about God’s promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Even in his weakened condition, God still had exciting work for Dave to do. Dave found his purpose: He led three people to Christ whom he dearly loved, in three consecutive days before he died. This was his greatest accomplishment, a servant of Christ, bringing people to The Kingdom of God.

Dave also prepared our family for his journey to Heaven; by praying with us, and for us. He told us he loved us, and that he was happy and fulfilled. He knew that Heaven is a place of eternal joy, and he knew he’d see his beloved family and friends again. He understood the truth; that all who have received Jesus into their hearts, will be reunited with Dave again, eternally with Jesus in Heaven. Dave ran his race, and he ran it well.

Dave told our family that it was going to hit us hard, but we were going to be okay; because he understood that we have a purpose in our own lives, as well. As he always said, “It’s all about Jesus.”

Why do we have to go through such loss and grief?

Even though we grieve the loss of Dave, we can find comfort in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 which says “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

The silver lining is that we, who have accepted Christ, will see Dave again. During this difficult trial in our lives, God has sent us beloved family and friends; to comfort, care, encourage, support, pray for, and love on us, when we’ve needed it most. This brings us joy, and I’m so thankful to God for giving all of us all the joy of loving Dave…

Dear Dave,

Right before you left the earth,

we had a moment that was true.

We looked into each others eyes,

And both of us said, “I love you.”

Your eyes were always hazel brown,

But that day they were green.

I saw in them, the worlds between you; many things unseen.

Everything still left unsaid,

Was all said with our eyes;

Full forgiveness given,

And a smile of surprise.

We both were sad, yet joyful;

For soon would be the time,

When all your pain and suffering,

Would all be left behind.

Smiling at each other,

Our past ran through our minds:

Of trials, joys, our girl and boys,

Of things you’d leave behind.

We thought of things that people think when’ere a loved one dies,

But also I saw Jesus,

In the bright green of your eyes.

I carry the same peace you had,

God’s loving comfort pleases,

And, Dave, I thank dear God above,

You’re now at home with Jesus.

Dave Pelleman, on a joyful day with family in the sunshine!


Last Post: 4/7/23 Dave’s Testimony: Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Poem)

Next Post (Easter Sunday): Your Broken Body is Beautiful to Me (Search “Dave’s Testimony” or “Poetry.”)

How to Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive Eternal Life!

Dave’s Testimony 2022: Our Entire Year of Terminal Cancer, Strength Through Jesus, and Trusting in God’s Healing Miracles… A Mini Book

2023 Dave’s Testimony, in reverse order; continuing to provide hope and encouragement through grief, terminal and chronic illness, and pain and suffering. Strength Through Jesus!

Strength Through Jesus Apparel t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and more; designed by our family, to fulfill Dave’s dream to create high quality Christ-centered clothing. It’s meant to wear proudly; along with displaying hope, strength, joy, and courage; which only comes from Jesus Christ. New variety of designs are coming in 2023. This business gives our family a small bit of support while on disability. 10% of every purchase supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which provides free medical care for families of children with cancer. We started late, halfway through the year; but we were able to make $500 for this beautiful charity of our choice!

I invite you to visit: The Silver Lining Blog. Free subscription, no ads. I write about more than cancer. You can pick a topic, or type any word you choose into the search bar: depression, forgiveness, abuse, poetry, narcissism, rejection, adversity, joy

The Silver Lining Ministry Facebook Page. Join us! You will find encouragement, blog posts, truth about God, and reminders about how much Jesus loves you!

Strength Through Jesus Facebook page New designs listed here, blog posts, pictures of real people wearing Strength Through Jesus apparel, and new products. Post your photo wearing your Strength Through Jesus shirt!

In Christ,

Angela Royse Pelleman

Strength Through Jesus!

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