We got to the hospital shortly after midnight Monday night and Terry joined his sister, Candace to spent a difficult night with his Dad in the ICU. On Tuesday morning, shortly after I got to the room, Terry was trying to get his dad to connect with him by reminding him of things they'd done and places they'd lived and all of a sudden he said "Wanda's waiting for me." Nobody had said anything about what might be coming. We weren't even sure he knew who we were. What did he already know that we didn't?
It's amazing the events God puts in place when HE calls one of His home. As Terry and I look back at the death of our other three parents we remember things that only God could have brought together. The verse in Psalm 116 says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints."
Separate and apart from all the phrases we've heard tossed about in the past few days, "irreversable damage", "organs failing" "quality of life" "advanced directives," and "living will", the technology one can be hooked up to in the final days makes me wonder if it isn't harder in these times to get free of this earthly body. The decisions presented to Candace, David and Terry are very difficult to make. Pop, your three children have tried to carry out your wishes precisely according to the way you lived your life.
Something that has been helpful to me during this time of sitting my shift with Pappa is to let these young caregivers know just WHO they're taking care of - not some tiny little man who can't hold his head up or form his words or understand what they're saying. This 92 yr. old retired military man was the ultimate caregiver for his wife of 50 years and showed us the nurturing, caregiving nature of our Heavenly Father. As I talked to them about him, I also wanted to say . . . "Treat this man gently because he spent a lifetime caring for others. Be careful how you treat that broken hip when you're pulling him up in bed". They are amazed at his strong grip and firm response when they want to probe and prod to clear his lungs. I've seen that strong back transfer Meemee into her wheelchair for years and do it oh so gently. I remember how he sat by her bed from dawn until dusk every day of those 19 months she was in the care center, monitoring the care the staff gave her. While he's slept I've had a chance to remember what we've all learned from him and the good life we've had with him and because of him.
Yesterday his sweet smile came back. His eyes were brighter and he seemed to be waking up from the haze of these past few days. I wanted to think, look who's coming back to us yet they tell us how very close the end is -- but the Word says God has numbered our days -- it's in HIS hands. Whenever that day is . . .
We know Pop, that at some point there's a homecoming ready for you on the other side. AND -- if there's dogs in heaven, knowing your extreme love of your "little doggies" then Touzer, CHOTO, Simone and Buttercup and Cisco and Maggie and all your other critters will be at the gate waiting with Meemee.