Monday, April 20, 2015

"Guiding Me Home" The Last Moments

It is not common to share the details of a person's passing.  However, God orchestrated such a beautiful ending to my dad's life that it needs to be shared...

As the last few hours drew near, we found ourselves once again all piled on and around my parent's bed, as my dad slept soundly and snored loudly.
We stayed true to ourselves and instead of being quiet and somber, we gave Daddy what he was used to, and expected- loud laughter, much mischievousness, and a rousing game of cards between the sisters who were present. 
After the games, I said- "I'm going to spend some more time with Daddy now." and went to sit by him.
There were praise and worship songs playing by us, and I felt a prompting to ask Fred to sing a few songs, with me.
To maintain the mood of the room we chose three upbeat songs from my phone. The first two were "Joy to the World" by Seabird- so he could hear one last Christmas song. And "Guiding Me Home" by Stomptown Revival. To be honest we chose "Guiding Me Home" without fully thinking through the words. But as they came out of our mouths, it was clear that God was setting the scene for my dad's homecoming.
Oh, Light of the hollows
The wind is filled with Your echoes
Your clouds as canopies,
Your rain, it covers me
You are wherever I roam…
You are the Reason…
Our souls carry on-- beyond this brief life
-Through every season…
Your beacon of love
Shines in the dark…
… you’re guiding me home…
Oh Lord of our Sorrows,
Lead on- dear Lord I will follow
Until the trumpet sounds
‘Till mirth and joy abound…
you whisper peace to my soul…
this train is tearing through the night black tunnel
I see a light, it’s distant but I know…it’s coming…
I believe in the days to come-- I’ll look up from my slumber-- and I’ll see my Lord
…Guiding me home
We sang one more song, "Manifesto" by The City Harmonic- which includes a creed and the Lord's Prayer.
By the time we finished, my sister Betsy had arrived. Those who were able to come were now all around him.
I leaned in, kissed my dad on the head and just started talking... I told him how much we loved him; that he had been such a good father and husband; that he had raised such a great family, and that we would take care of Mommy; that it was OK for him to go to heaven, and Jesus was there to give him his new lungs; that I would see him there in a few years... On and on I talked. I had said some of these things before to him, but this time it was different. I truly believe that I was a vessel being used by God, to deliver messages that my dad needed to hear, in order to leave in peace.
As I ended my talk, my dad's head rose from the pillow with a gasp. We called for my mom, who was at the foot of the bed. She ran to him, laid on his chest and wept, as he passed peacefully from her arms, into the arms of Christ.
My heart hurts. It hurts so much. I struggle with the suffering that he endured in the weeks leading up to his death. I cry when I think about him not being with us anymore. Disbelief and devastation wash over me without warning. But with this big, crazy family that my dad and mom created the smiles far, far, far outweigh the tears. That was the example that Daddy set for us. And that is how we will honor his memory- with love filled laughter, ample sarcasm, never ending teasing and most importantly- unshakable faith that we will be with him again, someday.
I love you, Daddy... we'll see you soon.

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