Monday June 28th they gave my Dad 24-48 hours to live. Tuesday July 29th early in the afternoon everyone was going to go home and take a nap and get something to eat. That left me alone with Dad. He was very conscious and talking and we had a precious two hours just to visit. We talked about a lot of things and laughed and cried. I have been caregiver to my Mom and Dad for many years now and the past year it has been just about 24/7.
You could describe my relationship with my father as oil and water. Never the two to mix and according to my older brother PE it has always been like that. When I was old enough to put two words together and call it a sentence I was at odds with Dad. You see Dad was from the old school where women would keep house and cook and raise the kids and God gave me an attitude and the ability to share that attitude. That did not make for a sweet little daughter that Dad dreamed of.
That Tuesday in the hospital we talked about the difficult times the past three years and I told him he had been quite the little butt. He laughed and agreed. I told him that I had forgiven him for being a butt and asked for forgiveness for being a butt back. We cried.
I believe that God gave me those two hours so it could be just me and my Dad. Not as caregiver but as daughter that was having to say goodbye to her Dad.
Sometime during that afternoon Dad began to feel better and requested to get up and sit in his chair. I was amazed but we called for the PT guys to get him up.
I had been told by my younger son Chris that he had contacted my first born Darryl that lives in Springdale Ak. Now many of you that have followed my blogs know that me and my son Darryl have been estranged for the most part of 23 years now. I have cried an prayed and cried and prayed for many many years now for that relationship to be restored. I think it was sometime last year that I just had all I wanted and told the Lord that if HE could fix it then fine. I was letting go and and I would no longer pray about restoration. Fix it Lord was my last pray regarding my son Darryl.
I had no idea it would take the death of my father.
Sometime early afternoon around 3 or so into the room came both my son Chris and my son Darryl. It was awkward. I think it had been 4-5 years since I had seen him and I just did not know what to say. He first spoke to his grandfather (with whom he shares a birthday December 10) and gave him a hug and then turned to speak to me and asked me if I was going to give him a hug, and hug him I did. I cried.
It was the most amazing couple of hours after that. Dad sat in his chair and laughed and talked and both boys laughed and laughed at the still so strong sense of humor that my Dad always seemed to have.
It was a gift of God to my father and also to me.
Soon the room began to fill with other members of the family and as evening rolled around it was time for Darryl to head home. Me an Chris walked Darryl out the hospital into the parking lot. It was hard to say goodbye, but before he walked from us he asked if he could pray… AND PRAY he did, and by the time he finished we three stood with tears flooding down our faces and the restoration of a mother to a son and a brother to a brother had been accomplished. I cannot tell you what great joy filled my soul and in sorrow we said goodbye but in the knowing that while separated by miles hearts would never be again apart.
My son Darryl sent a text message to me later after having left the hospital. It said in part that even when my Dad was dying he was concerned for me and my two boys. I did not understand the message and later had the opportunity to ask Darryl to explain.
You see, I do not have clear memory of those last few days and it seems that Dad was more concerned about me and Darryl and Chris having time to talk than spending time with him. He told Darryl to make sure and spend time with me and talk. “You have not spent enough time talking” . Chris assured Dad that they would find time to talk but for the moment they were wanting to spend time with him.
He made the statement one more time.
Darryl shared that with me only last night. I cried. Even when so very very ill Dad was watching out for me. Even when he most likely knew that those precious moments spent with his two grandsons would be his last here on earth, his heart was turned toward me and my boys.
My brother Paul spoke at my Dad funeral service and although I do not have it here I so remember the very last statement that he made before returning to Mothers side.
“ In this life, he gave back more than he took”
That was my Dad, in his home going, he gave me a gift most precious. My son Darryl………
Hold fast to your faith, you never know when the Father God will answer.
Chris, Dad and Darryl December 1977