Tuesday, January 16th will be 7 years since I lost my father to cancer. 7 years since the last time I spoke to him, told him I loved him, and that it was time for him to rest. As with most of us, I thought my mom and dad would live forever. I never imagined the day that I would have to live without one of them, but here am I writing my thoughts about his death, his life, and how things have changed since he left. I know he is still with me and he is reading what I’m writing right now and that gives me a sense of peace that I haven’t felt for a very long time.
As my book is now getting ready for official launch in just a few weeks, I will share a portion of my book written about the last few days of my dad’s life and what we were all going through as we waited for God to call him home. Please enjoy and say a prayer for our family on Tuesday as we remember the man they called “The Rev”, a husband, father, and papaw who is missed very, very much.
Chapter 9 – Eight Hours to Heaven (From Forty Years of Practice)
“I don’t think my dad was ready to die, but he wasn’t afraid of it, either. I do think he was ready to be pain-free, mentally and physically. He had suffered so many different ailments and setbacks throughout the entire 6-year battle, I still don’t know how he did it. My parent’s kitchen looked like a pharmacy or a drug dealer’s cook house, because of all the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Nothing they tried would take his pain away for more than a quick, momentary release and then it was back, sometimes stronger than it was before. He couldn’t sleep, I think my mom told me at some point he didn’t sleep for several days. The pain was unbearable and I know how hard it is for me to turn off my brain when I go to bed, I’m sure he had plenty of crazy thoughts in his confused, suffering, frail mind. One night he told my mom that he thinks the reason he hadn’t died yet was because he was baptized by that Buddha in Japan and he didn’t think God would recognize that. He needed to make it right with the Lord before he thought he would start to feel some relief, some closure, and some peace.
On January 8, 2011, the day before my 35th birthday, we were baptized as a family; myself, my mother, my father, and Tyson, by the hospice chaplain. While I had been to church many times with my grandmother and my great aunt Thelma, I had never given my life to Christ. And to be honest, I was only doing it this time because my mom and dad asked me to and I was going to do anything they asked of me. It was a very quick and quiet occasion held right in my parent’s living room. We were all pretty emotional as we said the prayers and I really could almost see a huge weight lifted from my father’s shoulders. Although his physical condition never changed, perhaps it had even continued to get worse, he did seem to have released some of his worries and anxiety that had consumed him over the previous few months.
Now, if you are reading this book hoping to hear a miraculous story about how my dad was saved from the vise grip of the grim reaper at the very last second and we lived happily ever after, well, I will apologize now. That just isn’t going to happen. Sure, he is living happily ever after in heaven riding his Harley Davidson, drinking Bud Light, and catching up with friends and family. But the miracle we had hoped for wasn’t meant to be. Notice I didn’t say there was no miracle, just not the one we wanted.”