My Daddy is being called home to God

TODAY – RIGHT NOW – ANY SECOND God is preparing to call my daddy home.

...written by me on 7/5/12 in the middle of the day.  I felt the need to take a moment, sit down, so that I could sort through my thoughts about everything that was happening around me.  Before bed, step mom and I read and discussed my writing...my thoughts about dad...her husband. This morning she asked that I share my writing with all.  She is my number one fan as I transition into the next phase of my life as a writer...

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Such a turn of events… over a year long battle with stomach cancer. Just 2 weeks ago we thought dad kicked cancer’s ass.  Pneumonia set in this weekend and things took an unexpected turn.  Dad’s decline is coming quickly.

(Picture is an oldie but a goodie...our family.)

Blind kitty and I traveled 320 miles on Wednesday to go to dad.  (Dad has takin' a likin' to blind kitty.) Arrived early evening. I spent the rest  of the evening by my daddy’s bedside. 

Hospice came to the house twice yesterday. In about 15 minutes, Brittany, from hospice will be back.  Step mom is upstairs quickly showering … getting dressed and prepared to talk to the folks from hospice.

Little brother’s girlfriend….like a daughter to dad… sits with daddy in silence.  Out of the way so she can view tasks and notes for today’s To Do List of things that must be done right away.

Little brother sits by his beside.  I think little brother and I have about a 25 year age difference.  It sounds awkward to refer to him as *little brother* today.  I observe *a man* sitting by our daddy's beside.  I observe a man tending to our daddy's every need.

After hospice arrived they were gentle and caring as they did their job....made sure dad was as comfortable as possible in our downstairs den.  I sat on the floor - out of the way - to ensure my daddy maintained his dignity - something important to him...in these final days... hours?   He made this clear to me in recent conversations. Never wanting me to see him as weak… *deep sigh*

Later that same evening I reassured dad that he raised a strong daughter.  I told him, "KNOW THAT!"  I also told daddy I have given myself permission to cry.  “You will see and hear me cry daddy, and it does not mean I am not strong. I am a strong woman because of you.  But you need to let me cry, daddy. It's OK."

I struggle (We all struggle.) because daddy’s heart beats strong and his mind, still sharp. Lucid.  This morning daddy said, “Good morning sweetheart.” He is aware of everything taking place around him.  We don't discuss it, but daddy is gradually becoming trapped in a shell of a body that allows him to do very little. What does this feel like….I just cannot fathom.

How can dad be so close to the Pearly Gates? He played 9 holes of golf last week.  Dad cooked.  Dad laughed. Dad even ate an 18 ounce rib eye for Father’s Day! How fragile the strongest of bodies can get after months and months of chemo and radiation.

The night I arrived- throughout the night – throughout yesterday - TODAY – RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND as I type these words... I hear my daddy’s suffering in the next room. 

I have been working through the financial details with step mom. We have a 1pm appointment with my former client, friend and fortuitously an estate attorney.  Step mom and I will review the will, most pressing matters and all those things I was trained and licensed to do as a former financial center manager.

Still, while daddy moans unbearable discomfort - but with no tears – rarely tears from my daddy (*weakness*) - each moan feels as if a knife plunges into my heart.

Big brother is on his way…320 miles away. He will be here soon.  Dad has asked for him 3 times this morning.

Today my faith keeps me grounded. I am grateful. These last 2 years have taken me to an entirely different plane where my relationship with God is concerned. This is why I don’t dare ask, “Why?”, because I already know why.  This is the circle of life.

So no, I do not curse God. I am not mad at God. This is all part of God’s plan. I get it. Still, I am numb. I am scared.  I already know I will never be the same having witnessed all of this unfold---in these last days and hours -  right before my eyes. My daddy is dying, and I wish I had the power to ease his mind, because he is so alert….lucid….such a lover of life.

“Oh daddy...I know there was still so much living you wanted to do!"

My daddy reached out to me on February 29 to tell me about his cancer.  To those of you who follow my personal blogs written under a pen name, I want you to know this:  Unbeknownst to dad, 2 weeks before his phone call I had just reached a place of peace with him and our past struggles.  I looked forward to having him back in my life and receptive to start mending our relationship.  

Since February 29, my daddy and I took advantage of every day to talk, laugh, and to spend time together.  Daddy discussed my childhood, the past, affects of being a Viet Nam Vet with 2 tours of duty, flying helicopters over there….and surviving! What the experience can do to an individual.  How it changes a person.  How it can make a person appear more militant than visibly sensitive.  BUT, I know he was always sensitive. Still he wanted me to know that he always loved me, missed me during times we didn’t communicate, sorry for our past and the pain we experienced simply because we did not understand one another.  

Maturity can develop over time...to anyone...no matter how old.

It came to both me and my daddy.  What a beautiful blessing from God.

Dad is a retired Major of twenty two years in the military.  Shortly after, he began his second career within the educational system.  While working at The University of Southern Mississippi and New York University, dad mentored many!  One of his protégées arrived last night from Manhattan!  Another protégé is on his way from Afghanistan. Most all refer to my daddy as *The Major*.  

Again, yes, daddy and I made peace with our past.  Today it is as natural as a sunrise to call him *daddy*.  God’s work I say.

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Below is a selection from my personal blog site written on March 1, 2012.  I wrote it 2 days after I learned dad had cancer.  At this time, I also learned dad had been battling cancer for over a year. He kept it from me and his extended family.  He kept it from everyone.  He has always been such a proud and private man.  Why would anyone expect him to change now? **deep sigh**

~March 1, 2012, personal blog post ~

“Today I am not at a cross road with my faith. Instead, I remind myself that if l am to receive joy in this world so must I accept adversity.  In the past forty eight hours, I had been trying to process some news that wants to cast me into unexplored darkness...just when I thought I had darkness all figured out too. I am mystified. Who knew darkness has layers?

I am slipping. I believe it. I think I should go ahead and jump...or I can use my young light to ease myself into the shallow end… get my footing…touch the cold concrete with my feet. And I know... just because my feet get a sense of safety, it will not help me understand this unfamiliar darkness any better. It is the abyss still to me, and I will surely find myself in the deep end. Still, I must go. I have a feeling that God has been preparing me for dad's news. He felt I was ready. So, I will not let the news stagnate the development and wisdom of my light. I will use my light to guide me --maybe others too --as I ease into the inevitable darkness that lies ahead.”

Wednesday night, July 4, I plunged into the deep end.

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The Chaplin has just arrived …had prayer and read daddy his last rites.

**Absence with the body is presence with the Lord**

To family members, look in the top right hand corner of the blog and

you can email link to other family members. 

  

 

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