Today is the anniversary of my father’s death. A week after moving into their new house, my father got up off the couch to go to the bathroom. Instead of opening the bathroom door, he opened the door to the basement and went flying down the stairs. He lived for three weeks.
How can I properly explain how I feel today? A year ago today I was home; I had so much to take care of. I was with my father the day before; visiting with him in the rehab center that he was recently moved to. My sister called me around noon to tell me my father was not doing well. She kept me informed throughout the afternoon and then around 3:00 she said,
“You better come.”
I dropped my kids off at their music lessons. My friend was going to pick them up and take them along with her kids to karate. The Colonel would be home by the time karate was over.
When I arrived in NJ, my father was already in the emergency room of the local hospital. He was sleeping. The doctors were running tests. My father woke up briefly and we talked. The doctors said they were admitting him because the pneumonia he developed due to all his ribs being broken on his left side was still present and causing problems.
My mother, sister and I went to the cafeteria to have a quick dinner while my father’s room was being prepared. We all went back to the emergency room and I stayed for awhile but it was getting late and my father was sleeping again. I took advantage of him waking up briefly to say good bye.
I looked my father in his eyes and told him I loved him and that I would see him tomorrow.
My father looked right at me,
he knew me, he said, “I love you too.”
I left the hospital to make the hour drive home to Pennsylvania. I was in the house for maybe 5 minutes and my sister called and told me, “Daddy died.” I didn’t believe her. He was fine when I left him. He wasn’t in danger of dying. I never would have left if I thought he was going to die.
I can’t imagine what it was like for my sister and my mother to be there while my father was dying.
They said he started having seizures after I left and then he was gone.
My mother said that she and my sister “ushered Daddy into heaven.”
They told him it was okay to go. And then he was gone.
Why did God take my father? Why didn’t God allow him to recover from this fall? Over the past year we have thought about this and we truly believe that the Lord was sparing us for hard times to come. My father was already having problems with his memory before he fell and while he was in the hospital they diagnosed him with dementia.
My father died knowing all of us. He knew my mother, he knew his children, and most importantly he knew his grandchildren. We didn’t have to suffer while watching his health fail; watching his memory fail; watching him turn into a shell of a man.
My father lived his life with dignity and the Lord saw to it that he would also die with dignity.
I’m grateful for the life my father lived and the example he set before me.
And the one way I can honor my father is to continue to serve the Lord as faithfully as my father did.
I know that when I get to heaven, my father will be waiting for me.
And he’ll take me by the hand and lead me to my Saviour just like he did when I was a little girl listening to him preach one Sunday night many years ago...