Today is Easter Sunday morning of 2008. At just past 4:00 in the morning, the only sound in Daddy’s house is the gentle whooshing of his oxygen supply and the machine that generates it. We’ve kept watch over Daddy through the night, thinking that each breath might be his last. And that’s ok. Daddy is non-responsive now, laboring to draw each breath. It’s time to let go.
There were a lot of people in the house earlier today- well, I guess that technically that would be yesterday- family and friends and well-wishers bringing food and kind thoughts and sweet prayers. But it is very odd that this house be so full of people, and still be so quiet. This house- this home– is always a hub of activity, abuzz with the flow and laughter of life. The quiet that blankets the rooms here is unnatural. I’m sure that will soon change.
We have spent a very sweet time with Daddy. This afternoon, my sisters and I had a chance to hang out with him. He couldn’t speak or open his eyes, but he knew we were there. My younger sister, sitting in the bed with Daddy, gently rubbed his hair, his shoulder, his tattooed forearm. I couldn’t help but think of my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, with Scout telling Boo Radley that “it’s okay, you can pet Jim if’n you want to…” She left a while ago to go home for some rest, taking my wife and daughter with her. My older sister is in bed next to Daddy now, gently singing songs he might remember; songs about heaven, hymns we have sung in church. We don’t know if he can hear in his physical body, but I think his spirit, his soul is being comforted. Her voice, low and hushed, is beautiful.
I can’t sing to him- tears choke off my vocal cords. I can’t get in the bed with him- too many people there already. But I stand next to him, hold his hand, and thank God for the blessing of my fun-loving, beautiful dad. And I pray that he is not suffering; that I can let him go.
Mrs. Jean, our angelic stepmom, is walking the house. She has showered and dressed for the day; she is making me a ham and biscuit for breakfast. Pretty soon, the family will return. We’ll watch with Daddy until Jesus decides he’s had enough. And this cold Easter day, my Dad- Daddy- can celebrate with all the hosts of heaven the resurrection of Jesus face to face….
If I believe what I say I believe, really….
How bad can that be?
All night we kept vigil over our father and husband. But at 6:30 AM, Jesus decided it was time for Daddy to go home. With a final labored breath, Daddy let go and slipped gently into the new home God has been preparing for him for almost 76 years. We were all there- Ms. Jean, my two sisters, and me- crying the soul-deep cry of the mourner while offering praise and thanksgiving to the Heavenly Father for releasing our Dad from his tortured body here. In his new home, there is no cancer. No deaf ear. No irregular heartbeat. All is fresh and new! Go, Dad- you are the man!
He was born April 1, 1932, a holiday perfect for his personality and character. And he went home at 6:30 am, just as the first light of dawn was breaking on this resurrection Sunday. He was the first one today to enjoy the Sunrise Service of Easter- only he really gets to see the real sunrise service of Easter- in heaven.
I love you, Daddy. I’m proud of you. Rest now- I’ll see you in a little while…..