January 29, 2014 through February 18, 2014
Yesterday, I realized that it had been twenty-one days since my father’s doctor called me a second time and informed me that someone at the hospital had ignored direct orders not to feed my father by mouth. Doing so would cause my father to develop pneumonia and his kidneys to fail and finally lead to his death and going home to be with Jesus.
Earlier that day the doctor had called. He was enthused with how well my father was doing and was going to send him back to the Nursing Home where he hoped my father would remember how to swallow once he was back in his ‘home environment’ there. The doctor hoped once there they would quite possibly be able to remove the feeding tube soon in the future.
I proceeded to get ready to go to work encouraged that things were looking good for my father.
Then, everything changed with that second telephone call. Dad’s doctor, who was almost in tears, explained to the best of his ability what had happened, which by the way, was none of his doing. My father would have pneumonia by the next day, and by the time my wife, Suzan and I got there, four days later, he was in Stage Five Kidney failure with little hope of recovery.
A lot has changed since that day, twenty-one days ago…3 weeks ago today. Change certainly occurred in my mother’s life, not to mention what changed in the lives of my brother and sister, and my life, too.
Have you noticed how that time just seems to fly by? It’s like we blink and it’s another day before we know it. We blinked and twenty-one days passed by. A lot happened.
Six days into these twenty-one days, my mother, knowing that there was virtually no hope of Dad’s kidneys working again and not wanting my father to suffer any longer and realizing that if he could speak he would want not to go back the misery he had at the Nursing Home, decided with my sister and myself, to let Dad die and go on home to Heaven to be with Jesus.
Quite possibly, up to this point in my life, having to tell Dad’s nurse, Heather Tanner, what my mother and our family had decided, was the hardest moment of my life. I will always be grateful for her comforting hug as I broke down and cried and for the compassion she showed our family and the wonderful care she gave to my father in the hospital.
Eleven days into the twenty-one days, my father died and went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Not long after Dad’s home going, I wrote on Facebook:
“My father, Rev. David E. Hutchinson, at 8:23 a.m. Eastern time, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His home going was peaceful. He took a breath, exhaled, and inhaled this world’s air one last time and woke up at home in heaven.”
I can honestly say that I felt no sadness at that moment. There was calmness in the room when Dad crossed over into Heaven. At that moment, I just felt happy for Dad and sad for Mom and my sister and brother. Yet, for me, I found it almost amazing as I watched Dad go to Heaven.
Then, just seven short days ago, fourteen days into the twenty-one days, we tried as best we could to give Dad the ‘happy’ funeral he wanted. I think we succeeded. We cried and laughed and celebrated to the best of our ability, his life.
The Psalmist said that “we live our lives as a tale that is told.” We simply told the ‘tale’ of Dad’s life spent loving and serving Jesus Christ to the best of his ability.
Still, how do you celebrate the death of one you loved so much? With grateful hearts, trusting God to give you the strength you need at the very moment you need it.
In our case, we knew that the body was just the shell. Dad wasn’t in it anymore. He was home in Heaven and because that was the case, we knew that one day we could go home to be with him.
So, we were strengthened and comforted.
Yes, it hurts like crazy. However, in our grief and in our tears, that show up so unexpectedly, we are clinging to God, trusting Him to give us what we need to make it through these difficult days.
Now, even though I couldn’t exactly say I was having fun during these last twenty-one days or that they were filled with happiness, I can say that during these twenty-one days God has provided me with everything I needed to make it though those stressful twenty-days of sorrow and heartache.
Maybe, that is what changed in me during these twenty-one days: I learned to trust and lean on God to give me what I needed to make it through today and tomorrow. I found God to be good and totally trustworthy. I found I could depend on Him to provide me with what I needed each day.
Twenty-one amazing days filled with God’s goodness and love and provision.
(Guest post by Hubby.)