I took this photo of my parents September 8, 2020. A day that will be forever etched in my memory. The day we as a family had to tell my dad that he was dying.
It’s currently 12:55 AM on September 9th and I’m wide awake as if I’ve slept all day. My mind noisy with chatter I wish I could shut off.
When you’re a child, you think that your parents will live forever. You never imagine that one day you’ll have to say goodbye, however today, preparing to say goodbye is my reality.
My father, born February 26, 1937. A natural born comedian and best cook ever (fight me)! A preacher, father, grandfather and great grandfather. A storyteller and a survivor. A gentle and kind soul. Today while at the hospital, the doctor said to me, “your dad is the kindest person in this hospital.” That statement alone paints the perfect picture of his character. Even while in the hospital, in excruciating pain, he’s still kind.
For the last ten months my life has been consumed with all things aging parents. Everything from mental challenges, day to day needs, phone calls, medical appointments and frequent late night runs to pick up Nation’s lemon cream pie.
Can we talk about human responses for a moment? November of 2019 my father had a decline in his health, which resulted in him being hospitalized for a good deal of time. November of 2019 was also the last time he cooked in their kitchen. Anyone who knows my daddy knows that cooking is his favorite pastime. So often when our loved ones become ill, a big portion of us go into prayer mode. It’s a natural reaction for some of us. We pray for strength, and we pray for healing! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that no matter what our prayer is, God’s will, will be done. The selfish side of us wants to keep our loved ones around, but sometimes we have to let them go.
“For better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.”
The vows my parents made some 60 years ago. When I took the photo of my mom standing at my dad’s bedside, I smiled. He heavily medicated sleeping soundly while she watched him. Her eyes began to fill with tears and she uttered, “I don’t want to watch my husband die. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.” My heart broke into a million pieces. She kissed his forehead and we left.
Watching a loved one suffer truly renders you helpless. It’s like watching a really slow train wreck up close, and truly challenges your faith.
Someone asked me was I sad about my father transitioning, to which I responded no. How can I be sad about a man who’s lived 83 wonderful years? I’ve soaked up the stories, learned to be an amazing cook, took advantage of each and every day! His light has touched many, me being one, and as it begins to dim I will remember the stories, the jokes, the sermons, the singing and most importantly the love.
Until next time...hug a loved one! 🦋