Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Dad

Today is 16 years ago that my Daddy went to heaven to be with Jesus. It really is a better place for him with all the pain and suffering he endured for 8 years. I remember the details of the day well, like it was yesterday. How I had arrived home from school and received a phone call from the Dr. at the hospital, where he had just recently been admitted for some kidney issues that weren't really a big deal. The Dr. couldn't find my Mom, who had run down to grab some dinner and clear her head with a brief walk. Something had changed with my Dad, and he said, "he doesn't have much time, maybe a half hour, can you come?" I remember the drive, trying to navigate the quickest route, as there were several, and the one I chose happened upon a major jam that delayed me about 10 minutes, 10 minutes too long. I arrived and he was already gone, and Mom had not yet returned.

Funny how "coincidences" happen... the bed was the one where my first patient as a student nurse in my first year had died.... the nurse on duty recognized me from then... she happened to come around the corner as I was going in the room to prepare me for what had happened. I called my then very new boyfriend, Kevin, to come be with me. He came and met the extended family. Great time for an introduction .

And so the memories cloud around in my brain. Some of them clear and some that begin to blur with time. What an amazing man he was! Patience was not a just word, it was who he embodied, in the body of his that no longer could scratch his own nose, no longer hold anyone's hand, and no longer run or walk, or comb his own hair in that particular way. He learned you have to go with someone else's hair style now, someone else's way of making his day the way it became, completely reliant on someone else. Patient, quiet, trusting, not full of anger, the way I now see patients of mine whose bodies have also failed them. Of course there were moments of questioning, anger, disappointment, but he kept them more hidden from his children. There is only one place where that strength can come from.

And on a day where I think things aren't going so well, I have so much to be thankful for. That I can type this with my own hands, that I can hug my children, that I have the ability to cook another dreaded meal, that I can sleep at night in a warm and comfortable bed, that I have clean water to drink everyday!

And so I wish my children could have known their Papa and scratched his nose. I see his gentle spirit in my girl and how she would have LOVED his humor and soft spokenness in this world of extroverts. And I imagine he and Jacob would have much to sit and discuss, or just sit in quiet and be together sharing some secret joke. And learning a depth of faith that only comes from suffering.


"bigcanadiangirl" said...

I had no idea today was "the day". Reading this had me totally bawling. If I were in Kelowna, I would give you a big hug.

Linda said...

Thanks :) Over time, it seems mostly it's the good, warm memories that I remember. Time has a way of doing that.

Sandra said...

Honoring your Dad right along with you. A sweet tribute. A gentle reminder.

Thanks for letting us into this moment with you.