It’s been three years. Three years since I’ve held my Papa’s hand. Three years since I stayed awake most of the night. By his side. Administering medicine at the needed time. Watching, listening to his labored breath. Wiping his fevered forehead.
I sang a few hymn choruses to him that night. I read from the Psalms. I journaled. But mostly I just watched him, drinking in the time with him, knowing these would be my last memories.
Aerosmith’s song played in my mind –
“Don’t want to close my eyes
I don’t want to fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, babe
And I don’t want to miss a thing…”
Around 1pm the following day he slipped away from this world. Adam and the kids had already left. It was just my mom, dad and me in his room. We were talking and I looked over at his bed.
His breaths had become shallower, with more time in-between each one. Like a contraction, I started counting how far apart they were. We all walked over and stood by his bed. I grabbed his hand and that was it.
He finished his race.
The last year he had been carried the whole way, having to learn to rely on others. And we had to learn how to help a man who was had always been strong enough to do it alone. And was still quite ornery!
It’s been three years. And I miss him deeply.
I miss how he said my name. I miss walking over to his house to see what he was doing. ‘Cause he was always doing something! I miss hearing his laugh and the smell of sawdust in his shop. I just miss his presence in my life.
But on the other hand, I’m so grateful. Thankful for the time I had with him and for all the memories.
I was sitting at the table eating breakfast the other day, looking at old pictures and tears started to swell at all the memories. I remembered each picture vividly. I could close my eyes and be there again. The sadness in my heart screamed why do things have to keep changing? Why can’t they just stay the same?
And I realized, we can’t hold on to anything in this world. The country songs are right – time just keeps on ticking and seasons keep changing.
Yet I ache for the eternal. For the changes to stop and everything to just be still for a while. I’m ready for everything to be restored to its original state before sin entered the world and ushered in all this pain and brokenness.
One day. One day it will be restored. One day I will see my Papa again and it will be forever. The memory of our time apart, a memory.
The only hope in the middle of this mess of life is God’s plan of Redemption through Jesus. Nothing else can heal the deep ache of loss and grief.