Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Love of a Father

I saw my dad, yesterday, for the first time in three plus years. He was in the truck that he drives to carry fuel to a station. We both saw one another. He looks the same. Just a little older. His beard has gone quite white. I can't help but wonder if those ten seconds affected him as much as they are affecting me today....but then I think of how foolish it is to wonder such, as he has allowed to let three plus years go by without contacting two of his daughters and five grandchildren. Two of which don't know/remember him. Something that seems unfathomable to me as a parent.

I saw him on our way home from Greensboro.

Upon getting a phone call from several family members, on Sunday morning, we made an unexpected trip up there to say goodbye to Uncle Dale...whom, by the way, is still holding on as I type. This man who has loved my children as if they were his own grandchildren, and whom has treated me like his own daughter (and whom raised my husband/his nephew, btw), is leaving us.

My own father, however, drove right past us and didn't even offer a wave of acknowledgment. Typical.

My heart is aching as I visualize Aunt Chris laying by his side, as she is at this moment, knowing she is questioning whether she did the right thing by calling in the order for in-home hospice care this morning.

He has made it much farther than any of his doctors had ever predicted. He is strong, stubborn, and in love with his wife and family. Praise God for all of these things, as well as many answered prayers and help from Him, as they have kept Uncle Dale with us long enough to see Ella, Grayson, and Ethan come into the world. Something I feared would never happen, during my pregnancy with Ella.

We were given three days with him, before Darrell had to go back to work. In those three days we saw his struggle, but were able to exchange precious words that will forever be a lingering comfort to our hearts.

A perfect love story, if there ever was one. Aunt Chris has worked tirelessly to be everything she needed to be for her husband as his health has declined. She barely left his side the entire time we were there. Before we left, I brought a blanket to their room, and she was perched in her usual spot beside him. Their faces were nearly touching. He had his hands on either side of her face and she was smiling the most genuine smile I'd ever seen. They never noticed I had come into the room, with Darrell behind me. I asked God to help her to remember that moment forever, just as I knew I would.

Today, he lay in bed with no help from dialyses as he prepares for his final days. He has, however, the love of his precious wife laying right beside him as she listens to each and every breath. Making each one of them count.

For many reasons, I appreciate and love you. I know that I've told you in the past, but I wanted to tell you yesterday. I'm sorry that I wasn't strong enough to say these things to you before we left. The day you gathered us all around to tell us of your illness is an emotional memory for me. I struggled to hold back tears and this intense fear of losing you that overwhelmed every part of me upon hearing those words paralyzed me. I was attempting to be strong for everyone...but my heart was crushed. You were under the impression, by the expression on my face, that I was tired and ready to leave soon after you told us. I know that I explained it to you then, but the fact that you could ever misunderstand my feelings toward you, to begin with, made me feel like a failure. I've always wanted you to know how much I love you guys, just as you've shown me your love. I hope that you know that now. The first weekend I met you and Aunt Chris, you told my children and I that you loved us. You welcomed us into your family instantly. Words will never express the amount of gratitude I have in my heart for you two just for that one reason. You are a man with integrity, strength, and love for your family that is evident. It overflows. Thank you for taking in your brother's children. You saved them, and you raised amazing people. Thank you, for being such a positive and a constant in their lives. My husband is an incredible husband and father. Thank you, so much, for that. You have left your mark on many. You are leaving a legacy.....

Thank you, Father, for these people you've put in my life. I've loved and have been loved. I have felt, learned, and lost...and I have appreciated every experience because of these things. Praising Your name. Amen.

Relishing in His goodness...


Cassy said...

Oh Christy...My heart hurts for you and Darrell and the kids. And your Aunt. Praying you all are touched by God's comfort and peace as you mourn.

Your friend

Christy said...

Thank you, so very much, for your prayers. I do believe I have felt the Lord at work answering prayers, such as yours, for us. :0) Love you, precious friend.