Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Dad Part 1

It has been a while since I wrote last on the family blog. So much has happened in our lives in just a short time. The greatest challenge by far lately, has been the death of my father. I remember so vividly leaving his home on a Sunday, telling him that in just two days we would be right back again, moving into our new home and starting our lives closer to him and Mom. He chuckled, and told me not to work too hard. I kissed him, told him I loved him, turned to leave...never dreaming that this would be the last time I would ever see him smile, or laugh, or talk to me about the Carolina Tarheels, or see him light up when his grandchildren walked in the room. So quickly, and all that was an instant, my life was changed forever. My father has been very sick for years. I had gotten honest, plain talk from his family doctor, his heart doctor, etc. I always knew Dad could leave this world at any minute. I was so keenly aware of it, that every time I told him good-bye, the thought that came into my mind was this may be the last time you see your father. That is, everytime except this particular Sunday. Strange, isn't it? We were in the process of moving. We had gone to my parents several times, bringing items to store in their home until we moved...getting the other house ready, etc. We had talked with my parents about them coming over to our new house and eating out on the deck...about being able to see the kids on a regular basis...about being there to help them when they needed it. I was so happy that we were coming here while Dad was we could be there when may parents needed us most. Hopefully his last years would be spend with his grandchildren that he loved so much. It was God's timing that we came here just now, and I knew it. Little however, did I know that is wasn't for my father I would be coming, but my mother instead.

We left their home on Sunday, and on Monday morning we had a Uhaul scheduled to pick up so we could move some of our things to Fayetteville. That morning Jonathan got up early, heard my cell phone and then picked up to hear a voicemail from Mom, crying, telling me to please call her. Jon woke me up and said I needed to call my mother. I knew something was wrong. I listened to her voicemail, but oddly enough...that one day, didn't even think it could be Dad. I just said goodbye to him yesterday, there on the couch, smiling at me. I thought it might be someone else she was close to...another family member. When I called her, the EMT's were there trying to revive him. She told me she thought he was gone. My heart sank into my stomach. I felt utter shock mingled with overwhelming helplessness. I told her we would be there as soon as we could. We finalized things at the house and packed as quickly as we could for the seven of us and headed from Columbia, SC to Fayetteville. I don't remember much about the drive except that it seemed twice as long. Jon kept the children at the house while I went to the hospital. Dad had been revived, but it had taken the EMT's at least four minutes to bring him back. They suspected he had been losing oxygen for some 50 minutes. The prognosis was not good. He was taken to a room on the Cardiac ICU unit. The next days seem a blur. We kept getting reports from the doctor's that there was no hope...he only had brain stem let him go. But neither Mom nor I were ready for that. I don't know that anyone really is. I know my God is in the miracle business...I just wanted to make sure this was not a miracle He was planning to perform. We both needed to feel okay about this. Dad had never said what he would want if he found himself hooked to machines. Those were things he never talked about. I knew what song he wanted sang at his funeral...but never talk such as this. Having lived with him though, both Mom and I knew he hated the thought of not being able to do things on his own. He was having such a problem coping with the idea that he may be reduced to a wheelchair soon because of his bad knee and weak legs. He had been active all his life. Playing ball and coaching ball was his love. He would not have wanted to be reduced to a vegetative state...we felt sure of that. With this looming decision staring us in the face, life still went on. People still laughed outside his room, plans were still made, my children still needed to be taken care of, the Army still said we had to move by a certain just seemed too overwhelming, just for a brief moment...couldn't life just stop? It is at times like this finding my foundation in Christ is so crucial. Although my emotions were so seared and numb, I knew He was there. He had conquered this last enemy called death, and He would somehow see those of us who would be left behind to mourn, the way out of this seeming darkness. I didn't understand His timing, but it is not always my place to understand. As His child, it is my place to believe, to trust, that although I do not always understand, His Word remains ever faithful and true. To believe that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) These are the times of faith testing...and it is not an easy thing.
I will continue this thread on later posts...more for me than anyone reading it. But, if it used for good to help anyone else, praise God for it. God bless you dear friends and family.

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