“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16
It’s well past time to write about our recent days, but I’m still not sure I am ready. I feel, though, that as I write my thoughts will clarify and the words will come. We’ll see how this goes!
As indicated by my title, the Lord has extended grace upon grace throughout the events of the past days, weeks, and even months and years. I am determined to insert these precious gifts into the midst of my “diary” of days, not only to remind myself, but to show you all the boundless love of the Heavenly Father.
A couple of blogs back I shared about the Sunday before Daddy passed away and all of his kids and many of the grand/great-grandkids were able to come for a visit. Daddy had a supernaturally amazing day, visiting and telling stories all day. He was able to share things with his oldest daughters that he had never shared before.
Insert God’s grace:
In God’s divine planning, Mama preceding Daddy in death was a purposeful blessing in so many ways. You see, my Mama was Daddy’s second wife, and because she was gone, he felt a freedom to share with his first family some stories about his first marriage. Daddy was always so very careful not to hurt Mama, and now he didn’t have to fret over that. My sisters were so blessed to hear that their Daddy had loved their mother. Actually, I was blessed to hear it, too – it would be so sad to think that any marriage, even a failed one, was begun based on anything except love.
Daddy had such a good day that last Sunday. He ate really well in reference to his terribly declining appetite. He always loved Jeanne’s potato salad (which is truly super good, and I don’t even like potato salad much) and he ate a full helping of it! He also ate some breakfast, and was alert enough to notice we gave him leftover bacon! He did have us get him up and dressed as the day wore on, which was the last time he was able to do that. He was beautiful, radiating everything my Daddy was. His family was his life, and his every word and action declared it on that day.
Monday through Wednesday of his last week with us, Daddy spent resting. I had to work through Wednesday, and even though my job is only 4 hours a day, it was so very difficult to leave Daddy each day. Daddy had also begun to need some help during the nights, which meant a harder time of getting up for me in the mornings. I made arrangements to be off indefinitely from Thursday on.
Daddy began declining rapidly after his Sunday resurgence. Jeanne and I began to wonder how we were going to be able to continue with his care when we could barely move him together, much less by ourselves! I told him daily that Bo and Em were coming, hoping it might cause him to hang on, but he was becoming so weak! Michael (Jeanne’s son) was a continued source of delight for Daddy during his last days – he came as often as his work would allow.
Those two grandsons (Michael and Nathanael) were indeed the apple of Daddy’s eye. That is not to say that he loved them more than his other grandchildren. He truly adored all his children and grandchildren so very much. Michael and Nathanael simply had the opportunity and pleasure of being much more constant companions to their Granddad than most of the others. They were his plumber’s helpers, his contract laborers, his chauffeurs, his gardeners, and, Nathanael especially, his sports consultants.
Insert God’s grace:
Nathanael and Emily made it in early Thursday afternoon, and again Daddy was up for the occasion. He wasn’t quite as animated as he had been on Sunday, but he was so excited to see Nathanael, and made a sweet fuss over Emily and the babies! He talked and talked with Nathanael and Michael, who had come in shortly after Bo and Em arrived. He asked me to get the newspaper clippings from his Navy softball days (Daddy and his team were VERY GOOD) for Nathanael. He visited with them for about two hours, then went to sleep.
That was the last time Daddy was truly conscious. And it was a special gift to my son. They say there is often one person the dying soul wants to say goodbye to, and holds out if they can. For Mama that person seemed to be Pamela. For Daddy, it was Nathanael. (It could have easily been Michael, had Michael not been there already.) Nathanael needed that blessing from the Lord and his Granddad. God is truly gracious.
I have more to write about Daddy’s last days, and I will have a bit of time tomorrow as I am in Florida at Pamela’s right now. I don’t want this to be morbid. Daddy was an amazing man, and my heart sometimes feels it will burst with grief; but truly, we asked for the Lord to be glorified by/through us during this time, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share His grace to us. His love and grace are truly amazing, so until tomorrow….
God bless your day!