My Dad passed away three months ago. He was 71 years old. In my earlier days, I would have thought that age was just about right for someone to die. Now that it’s happened, I know it is way too young. Yeah, Dad had grey hair and wrinkles and false teeth. But he had most of those things for years anyway. It was my dad’s spirit that made him too young to die.
I started going to grief counseling last week. Had my second session yesterday. Felt pretty good going in and coming out. The counselor is with Hospice and she is very good. She told me some things that truly made a difference in how I have been looking at Dad’s death.
Despite feeling better in general, a photo of my dad that was taken about three years ago fell out of a book last night that I was flipping through. I looked at it and smiled. Then the longing began…to talk to him. To tell him how much I miss him, how much I wish I could pick up a phone and call him, how sorry I am that he died.
My grandson came into my room sometime around 3 this morning and I tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable. I finally got out of bed and made a little place for him to sleep next to my bed on the floor. I had more room in my bed after that, but still couldn’t sleep, so I am up before anyone else today. My kittens are outside and just tried to claw their way through the front door. I ignored them and after 10 minutes or so, they went away from the door. It is quiet again, only the sounds of the fish tank.
In therapy, I said I don’t believe Dad accepted the fact he was going to die. He didn’t really prepare. And in his defense, I will say he went into remission pretty fast after he was diagnosed. He had every intention of going back to work. But things didn’t go that way and the cancer took him rather quickly. We had very little time to prepare for the end. I was driving, on an eight hour trip, to see him before he died. I didn’t make it, but I had been home and with him just a few days before that, so I haven’t been dwelling on the fact that I was not there at the time. I am, however, upset that I was not there for the months leading up to his death. I could have been. I had family responsibilities at home that were serious and it was simply not in the cards for me to move back home and be there with my dad. It makes me incredibly sad now and a bit incredulous that he is actually gone. I had plans for him to move up here and spend time with us. I thought that maybe I would have property and get him a mobile home right near my own home so we could see each other more often. It was not to be.
In realizing that Dad did not prepare, I knew last week that I did not want my own life to end suddenly and have my 5 children not know how I felt about … stuff. I intend to speak to them individually but this morning, I feel the need to tell them and everyone else that if I died today, I would be okay. I am prepared spiritually and have no doubt of an afterlife with God. I am curious about it and can’t tell you much about what might truly happen, but I can say I have known God my entire life. I have seen His miracles. My prayers have been answered and He has rescued me from times of stress and worry. Every one of my children have had close calls in their lives where they could have died and did not. Even my 9 year old who fell from a tree last year, right onto her face and head. I saw the branch a few days later and she was at least 7 feet high with nothing to grab onto when she slipped off. She missed a tree stump under the branch and bit the dirt instead. The CT scan showed no concussion, no damage. She had a headache and cold shakes for a day, but nothing else and she is fine. I don’t want to talk about the other times I almost lost a kid over the years. It serves no purpose. My point is, God had the grace to keep my children safe and I will be forever grateful.
The light of God surrounds me.
The love of God enfolds me.
The power of God protects me.
The presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is.
I have said this prayer every night for the past…well…at least…30 years…and before. It is a prayer my mother said with me and I have passed it on. I googled it … after the Internet was invented, and discovered it is called The Prayer of Protection.
I was reminded by Joyce Meyers during her TV ministry this morning that our tough times, our challenges and times of added responsibility are our times to be lifted up, to learn and to grow spiritually. I always find her messages were written for me on any given day. I am usually dealing with exactly the topic she is discussing. My life has been very difficult lately in many ways. I’ve been missing the joy and wishing I could have a vacation. That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I can tell you that walking and living with God and faith in my heart gives me a joy and peace that makes every tough day go a lot more smoothly. I am moving forward with today and its challenges in love and faith.
I hope you do too.