Good-bye, Dr. Miller

June 2012 – Dr. and Mrs. Miller joined us for a picnic

This weekend we are saying good-bye to a dear friend.  Dr. Miller was our chiropractor for nearly eight years.  But, he was so much more – he was a kindred spirit, a true friend, my teacher (he taught me a lot about the human body and nutrition), and he was like a grandpa to me and to our boys.

Last night we were shocked and deeply saddened to find out that our dear Dr. Miller died suddenly on New Year’s Day.  He had been struggling with bronchitis, we’ve been told, for about three weeks.  On Tuesday he called his secretary and asked her to cancel his Wednesday appointments.  He felt terrible and was heading to the hospital.  But, before they were ready to go, he collapsed at home.  His wife called 9-1-1 and the paramedics tried desperately to revive him.  They tried again at the hospital, but he was gone. We learned today that he had an irregular heartbeat, and perhaps the bronchitis didn’t allow enough oxygen to get to his heart.  His dear old body gave out, and his spirit was released into eternity.

I can’t believe that I can no longer call him.  It’s beyond my comprehension that I can’t go to him for help.  At a few points during the past eight years we had to visit him frequently.  Thankfully, the past six months Tim and I have been feeling better, needing fewer adjustments. Dr. Miller wasn’t like many chiropractors who try to get you in as often as possible.  Whenever he would work on my back, my shoulder, my foot, or my neck, he would teach me what I could do at home to strengthen my body so I wouldn’t have continued problems.  While he was trying, in a sense, to lose a patient – he was gaining a friend.  I learned so much from Dr. Miller.  And he enjoyed learning things from me, too.  Since one of my hobbies is nutrition, we would swap bits and pieces we’ve been learning lately; even sharing books back and forth.

Dr. Miller went with us through two pregnancies and three miscarriages. Whenever I felt discouraged, he would speak words of peace to me. He wasn’t just a back doctor; he also ministered to the heart and mind. He and his staff became part of our family, and we knew we were part of theirs.

About a month ago, around Thanksgiving, I tripped and my body went out of alignment.  (He used to laugh when people would come in and say, “I’m out of whack!”  He’d reply, “So, am I supposed to put you back in whack?!” :)).  I was in terrible pain with my left shoulder out of it’s socket.  And try as I might to put it back in place like Dr. Miller had taught me, it just wouldn’t budge.  So, I called and made an appointment.

When I got there, Dr. Miller looked happy as usual to see me, along with my boys.  He said, “I looked at your file and I can’t imagine why you’re coming in since you were just about perfect at your last visit.”  He tested my arm strength and put my shoulder back in place.  He went over the arm strengthening exercises again, just to make sure I was doing them correctly.  As usual he seemed a little sad when it came time for us to go.  Before we left, the boys gave him their gifts: two little dum-dum suckers transformed into tiny turkeys with the help of coffee filters, string, construction paper, and glued on googly eyes.  He asked, “Oh, what are these?”  One boy quickly told him, “They’re turkeys, and you can either eat them or use them as decorations.”  Dr. Miller smiled at the boys and declared, “I’m going to put them on my Christmas tree!”  I shook his hand and said, “Thank you!  Merry Christmas!” and smiled one last time into those kind eyes that crinkle in the corners.

I am so thankful that I tripped and couldn’t fix my shoulder myself.  I thank God that I was able to visit Dr. Miller one last time.  If I had known it was the last time, I would’ve given him a big hug and told him how much he and his help meant to me and my family.  I’m sure he knows we loved him – and I am certain he loved us.

We waited over an hour in line at the funeral home for visitation tonight.  Among the crowd were Amish people – he would take his instruments and travel to serve the Amish about once a month.  There were tons of friends he’d made through his antique car club, patients, co-workers, church friends, and many family members.  I felt so honored to meet his little mother, who can’t hear and is about 100 years old.  I hugged her and cried.  She told me, “I kept asking him when he was going to retire, and he said he didn’t want to retire because he loved helping people.”  She sat near the casket.  Near her little boy.

I am one of many who are going to miss him.  Even though he had a long list of friends, I knew I was special to him.  He knew how to care for my body, and he knew how to make me smile.  I know he loved God, and I believe he had at some point trusted in Jesus as his personal Savior.  So, I look forward to seeing my dear Dr. Miller again in heaven someday.  Good-bye, my dear friend.

Thank You, God, for letting me know Dr. Miller.  He was such a blessing to our family.  Please comfort his wife, his mother, and the rest of his family.  Please help me learn from his example and be an encouragement to others like he was.  Thank You!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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