It's been a while, friends. Much has happened over the past few months.
In May, Dad was hospitalized with end-stage COPD. At that time, the doctor told him he had 12 - 18 months to live. This was not a surprise. Dad's been on oxygen for over fifteen years, gradually needing more and more. His lungs were just giving out.
After leaving the hospital, he was transferred to a skilled nursing unit so that we might be able to get him strong enough to go to assisted living in our city. After only a week there, he had to be life-flighted to the hospital again. This time he was put on a ventilator.
After a few days he was able to breathe on his own. He was transferred from ICU to his own room. People came in to visit, giving us a break and giving him some much-needed company. Almost anyone that cared about him was able to see him during those days.
My cousin came in with her new husband, and gave him a haircut. He walked with an aide down the hall and back. Then he decided he wanted to take a nap. Rather than watch him sleep, we kissed him goodbye, told him we loved him, and left.
That was the last time we saw him alive.
The next morning, June 8th, we left our in-hospital hotel room and went downstairs to the cafeteria to have breakfast. We went back to the room, packed up, and were walking down the hall when we got the call.
Dad, who was only a few hallways away, had died.
The nurse told us he had pulled off his oxygen tube as he slept. When she came in to check on him, he was already gone.
The following days have been full. The funeral arrangements, travel to and from his hometown 250 miles away, cleaning out his house, dealing with all the paperwork, and realizing he really is gone...all have kept us busy. His estate was not in order, so we will have to go to court to get things completely straightened out. Thank God for Sis. She is handling all of the estate stuff. I just sign papers.
How are we doing? People ask, and I honestly don't know what to say. Dad and I had not been on the best of terms since he left Mom after almost 45 years of marriage. We did make our peace with each other before he died, and for that I am truly thankful.
However, those years of hurt feelings, disappointments, and hardened hearts left their mark. I had already grieved my father as if he was dead when he left Mom. It took years of prayer to finally forgive him. But all that grieving was already done when he died. I wanted to feel it again, but it just wasn't there. I wanted it back because I felt as though it would show that I truly loved him if I cried, felt the heartache again.
In the end, all I felt was sorrow. Sorrow that I could not live all those years over again with a father who truly cared about me and my sister. Sorrow that he had a warped idea of what love truly was. Sorrow that we were not there when he died. Sorrow that he never accepted Christ, even though we tried time and time again to witness to him.
In the end, not much matters. Only the love remains.