Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Funeral to Family Reunion

My precious dad was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in November. It is a cancer of the lung that there is no cure for, medically. I flew up to Alaska in February to spend time with him and had a wonderful visit.

Last Monday, I received a call from several siblings saying that dad had taken a turn for the worst, and I better get up there if I wanted to see him again, alive. Alaska Airlines, flew Jim and I FREE all the way to Homer, Alaska and back with confirmed seating. What a wonderful perk of being one of their employees. We flew into Homer, to save much time on the road traveling, so we could get there in time to say goodbye.

All 8 of the siblings flew in, as far away as Louisiana, and we have not been together in 19 years. Uncle Ken was there to pick us up at the Homer Airport and drove us right out to see dad. Dad had come home from Providence Hospital in Anchorage because he wanted to die at home.

As I saw my dad, laying there, fighting for his life with every breath, it was almost more than this daughter heart could contain. He seemed so weak and so vulnerable. As I sat there watching him, I was asking myself the question, " Which is worse, the way my mom's sudden death in the car accident was, or sitting here watching someone you love suffer till death?" I came to the conclusion that NEITHER is better. They are both horrible.

Each of us took turns sitting with dad, so he wouldn't be alone. A couple times I had the midnight to 3am shift. Well, I fell asleep during one of them and Auntie Vicki had to fill in for me. It was a good time to sit in silence and pray and just be.... having my heart flooded with memories from childhood, and the legacy that my dad is leaving to all of us. The legacy of loving Jesus and serving Him with our whole hearts.

On Saturday, my dad suddenly took a turn for the better. We couldn't believe it. I was doing my shift and about 3am in the morning my dad opens the door, is dressed and I said, "Dad, are you okay?, what are you doing?" He spoke legibly and just as clear as could be and said, " I am not tired and want to come out here and be with all of you!" We sat in amazement..... He sat out with a few of us for about 15 minutes and then said, he was tired and went back to bed, and has continued to improve each day since then. On Sunday, he wanted to go out for a HAMBURGER.... He also went to get some tests done and all the liquid around his heart is GONE.... He is breathing good, he is talking, he is just like he was when I came up in February. It really is a miracle, there are no other words for it. The cardiologist gave him 2 days....

We are witnessing a miracle and calling him Hezekiah. (Read 2 Kings 20:1-6) I don't know how many days my dad has left. But 15 years sounds really good.

All 8 of kids, plus many grandkids that came, were able to say goodbye and hug their dad and grampa. He was also able to hold each of our hands and with tears share the goodness and miracle of God in his life. We have now each started to journey to our homes, knowing that the time together was right, and good, and ordained, and precious.

Being all together after so many years was a gift. We took many pictures, laughed our heads off, cried our tears, said our prayers, ate tons of food brought in by loving people and just made more memories to cherish and hold on to.

I can say this. God is faithful and God is good. And I also will add, even if the Lord would of taken my dad home at this time, I would still say, my God is faithful and my God is good. And we would of wept a lot, but we would not of wept as one who has no hope.

I love my family. It is such a gift to belong to such a family. So to Dad & Gail, Debby, Marie, Bobby, Kenneth, Valerie, Vicki and Mark, thank you for caring, for all the memories and laughter and tears. It is a wonderful gift to know we have each other. I know mom would be so blessed by her family.

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