My father and his brother, Jim, as children:
I had not seen these photos before. They were tucked in some stuff that Pop retrieved from De Soto when they packed up my grandmother’s belongings in 1998 . . . .
E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more. They need no light, nor lamp, nor sun, for Christ shall be their all.
This prayer is mine tonight, as my father lingers yet. His nurse said again tonight “he’s making his way,” but slowly and in his . . . and God’s . . . own time.
He is no longer recognizing us, and has not spoken today. His breathing has changed, and we are aware of other signs of the progress toward death.
But he’s still here.
Great-niece Lily visited again today. So did my niece Anna.
This is one cute child…..
As one expects, today has been filled with some laughter, some tears, some quiet time holding my father’s hand.
As I write on Thursday evening, Pop is still hanging on, and still knew me when I said “good night.” His “Hi, son” when I arrived midday was a delight to hear.
And after working for several hours in his [very] dusty office, and displacing said dust repeatedly, I have a cough. Some Tullamore Dew is in the cup to fight said cough.
My eldest niece Kristen is a saint. She’s an RN, and she has been the caregiver d’extraordinaire these last two days. She’s also run interference and explanation with the professionals from hospice, about whom I cannot say enough good as well.
We dined tonight, my sisters and niece and step-sister and step-mother, at the dining room table, with me now at the head, on a roasted chicken, some new potatoes, green beans, and yummy strawberry cupcakes. This was the first square meal I’d had in a few days, and I think we all needed it. Part of my mission the next few days is to cook at least one meal a day.
As I commenced Operation OfficeKP today, I found a few bonbons that I’ll share: my father’s National Guard photo from 1959, a clipping that was inexplicably attached to this same photo, and a handwritten verse of scripture in his meticulous penmanship.
But first, a commendatory prayer:
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Richard. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your
own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.
Well, I’m going home.
Thursday morning I’ll depart for Lee’s Summit to watch with my father as death slowly replaces life, and he slips into eternal sleep.
But there is no sting, no worry, for the grave is not the final victory, and he will trade an earthly life for a much more glorious one.
Hospice has signaled that he is slipping quickly. My sisters and step-mother, her daughter, my niece and nephew — all have pulled duty this week. I’ll join the bedside throng.
Here’s a family photo from years ago, in 1978: