Mar 25, 2010

"When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die." -- Jim Elliott, March 25, 1957

Today I'm doing a rerun of my blog post from a year ago. The second anniversary of my father's death is in a few days, and I have a couple of posts that I will be rerunning about him. I hope they will be inspirational...

On Palm Sunday of last year, my dad wasn't feeling well and hadn't been out of bed for a couple days. My husband and I went to visit him in the early evening, and I tried my best to persuade him to let us take him to the hospital. He laughed out loud: "that's the LAST place I want to go!" I knew it was a lost cause, and we eventually said goodnight. As I turned to leave, he spoke those coveted words, "I love you Jacque" as he gave me a wave of the hand. Honestly I don't know that I ever heard him say that before! I've always known my father loved me, but the words just about stopped me in my tracks. "I love you too, Dad!"

A few days later mom called to say dad really did need to go to the hospital and this time he didn't put up much of a fuss. We got him in the front seat of my car and all he could say was "I can't believe this is happening. Do you think we're doing the right thing?" The days following are mostly a blur and its hard to place the sequence of memories. Finally when it was determined that he would be released to in-home hospice care, he was so excited. He wrote the night nurse a note "no breakfast tomorrow, I'm going home!" He then asked if he was supposed to be preparing to die, and stated emphatically that he was not afraid to go home to die.

My father died the way he lived--peacefully and at peace with himself, with God, and with his family. There was nothing left he had to do but pass from this life to the next. God graciously granted him the dignity of a smooth transition as his family shared the final sacred moments.

Back in the '70's I bought dad a little plaque with this poem on it, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it was read at his funeral:

"That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had."

There will never be another dad like my dad. We all miss him terribly, but we know it is a temporary separation. The pain of loss we feel today will pale in comparison to the joy we will share in our eternal home.

I can't close this without mentioning that my husband's father also passed away on March 27, three years to the day before my dad. That's another story* for another time, but how fortunate that these anniversaries fall during the Easter season. We will always have reason to renew our hope in the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as we remember our earthly fathers.

"...because I live, you will live also." John 14:19

* I did a recent post about my father-in-law


Dar said...

Such a heartfelt tribute to your father. I lost my Dad two yrs. ago this past Oct. and I know your bittersweet memories. I also know that we will see and be with him again in that most glorious place next to our Lord.
Thank You for sharing such an intimate part of your life.
God Bless Your Heart

Rose said...

Time has a way of easing the pain but it never goes away 100%. I remember your post from last year and it still tugs at my heart to read this one so I can imagine what it does to yours by sharing it. I am always amazed by family members that share birth dates (not twins) or who like your father and FIL both passed away on the same date. Things like that happen in our family as well I just wonder at it. I know nothing in God's kingdom is left to chance so it really makes me curious.
Praise God that you all know this is only a temporary separation. Rejoice! HUGS!

Julie said...

As I read your words I remember my own dad's leaving of this earth to enter heaven. It was a year ago on Feb. 25. The peace that filled that room as he took his last breath is hard to describe to anyone who has not been there. One hour before his breaths were labored and very, very difficult. He had a lung disease. Breathing with oxygen was challenging... but this was much worse. He was definitely laboring. But within minutes he began to slowly, and peacefully breathe to his end of life on earth. There was no medicine that could have done that for him. It was clearly the hand of God....

I grieve with you.... it's heartbreaking for those of us who remain!

Thank you for your visit to my blog and the words you have left me. You blessed me!

Kaye Swain said...

Hi Jacquelyn, Have spent a delightful visit reading through several of your posts and enjoying them tremendously. What an awesome ministry First Glance is involved with. We have worked with a similar program in the past and it is full of rich blessings for so many! Also, I loved the photos of your sweet family.

I was especially blessed by this sweet article about your dad. I'll have to add the Jim Elliott statement to my list of encouraging quotes! And what a wonderful testimony of and for your father. Truly words of encouragement! Thank you so much for a blessed visit! :)