My father left this life on earth a week ago, yesterday. I have never experienced anything like it. I wonder if I will ever get over it? They say you have to learn a “new normal”. What is normal, any ways? Unexpected turns take us to places we never dreamed we’d go.
I knew my father had an incurable lung disease, but he left us so quickly. It was unexpected. We thought he’d be around longer.
Last Tuesday a call came from my mom. I could hear it in her voice. It wasn’t good. Was this it? Should I go? Is it time? We watched and waited. He improved. By Wednesday morning it was evident he was spiraling down, again. “It’s time to go, Babe”, he said to my mom early that morning. He knew.
I got to the house one hour before he left us. He knew I was there. I told him I loved him, and as he labored to breathe he told me he loved me too. It will be the last time I will hear my daddy tell me he loves me. My heart aches as I think about it. There’s a void, a deep cavern in my soul.
One of my brothers, my sister, my mother and I surrounded him and prayed. It was a sacred moment as we released him to go be where eternal life awaited. His once labored breathing began to slow down. He began to breathe easier than he had in months. My sister and I began to sing to him. I reached for his hand... I wanted to hold onto him as he left me.
Slowly but surely he took in his last breath. There was no labor, no struggle, just a tender, sweet end to a life. Papa God removed his last breath on earth and took it to heaven.
Sorrow and joy intermingled, life and death coincided. We are left here to live, while he is where he was made to be. My father’s physical experience is over. He is fully restored and filling his place in heaven.
I on the other hand am still in the midst of this life on earth. There is great loss to my heart, my body, my life. I will never see my dad this side of heaven. I will never feel his arms around me again. Though I will dwell with him forever in heaven, I miss him in the here and now.
Well meaning people try to offer me encouragement, “He’s in a better place.” “He’s fully restored.” The words don’t comfort me. I grieve not for my dad, but for me.
The phone calls that came were beautiful. The words repeated over and over. “I loved your dad, he made me feel so special.” “He was the best friend I ever had.” “He was like a brother to me.” “He had an impact on my life.” “I’m going to miss him, greatly.”
A somewhat quiet man who had only been walking with Jesus since the 1990’s, he had no idea that his life mattered so much. Isn’t that how it is? We see ourselves in our “mess”....but God..... He reveals in spite of us. We bear His heart, even when we don’t see.
It makes me want to ask more... seek more, listen.... I want to see what God sees. My Daddy’s life continues to speak to me even in death.
We were created for life, to the full. We are making an impact. We are beacons of the Light of Life, even when we don’t know.
As I grieve, Papa God gives me a picture to hold onto. I see Daddy and Jesus arm and arm, strolling through the scenes of his life. As they walk, the story is unfolding. Daddy can now see what Jesus sees. He now knows how deeply he was loved.
I have the hope of being reunited with my daddy again. One day he will be running through the crowds of heaven to get to me. He will sweep me up in his arms again and it will be as if..... time stood still.
Thank you for your love, prayers, emails and comments. They have blessed me tremendously!
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. John 16:19-21
©copyrighted: 2008, Julie L. Todd