Today is a special day for my family and I. Today is the fifth anniversary of the day my father passed away. He made his exit and took his last breath at 6:30 in the morning and I was there to witness it alongside my siblings and mother. That moment feels like it was yesterday. I can still feel the quiet stillness of the room, the tension in my body from the month’s stress, the sadness, and the hole left deep within me like some endless abyss that cannot possibly filled. Three slow, painstakingly inhaled breaths, followed by a long pause, and then a whispered exhale. His body finally relaxed on the third exhale, his spirit left and he was gone. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. –Luke 23:46
I will never forget it. The painful memory is imprinted on my mind but only stirs to the surface on rare occasions.
Five years is a long time, and yet I can remember it in detail as though it just happened. I can remember where I was standing, where everyone else was and I can remember exactly what the room and the entire house looked like on that day, at that hour. I choose not to remember it. I try to let it go, because the illness that had so rapidly taken a hold of my father’s body and put him into what I know as his exodus–that was not my father. His spirit had gradually started to let go of this world. It was our job to simply make him comfortable and ease his pain.
Oh, how I loved my dad. He was a hero to me. He could do anything, he was funny, warm, so caring and so intelligent. He was a great father, a wonderful husband and son. They don’t make men like that anymore.
My choice is to remember him as he was, full of life, zest, and positivity. My choice is to remember him as strong, humorous, hard working, loving and good looking. Why my mind is forcing me to wander back to that morning, today…well, because I find it odd or perhaps coincidental that my friend has lost her husband to cancer in the exact same manner just one day shy of the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death. I am wondering if there is something I am supposed to gain from this coincidence?
Today, I will be praying and thinking of two men and wondering if God is trying to tell me something. I will allow myself this moment to be sad and then pick myself up and move on. There is life and then we must learn to survive death and live in hope and faith–the hope of someday being reunited and the faith that we live for something greater than this world.
Today is for Dad and for Bud.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.–Corinthians 12:12-13