Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Call

Dad, Mom, and Scott

Dad, Mom, Dave (left), me
1012 Kiplinger
York, Nebrask
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I don't guess you ever get over missing your parents when they are gone. The more I see of children without a father in their lives, the more I miss my dad. This is from July 31, 2009.

Two years ago tonight, Dad suffered the stroke that ultimately would lead to his death eight and a half months later. Several hours earlier, we had talked and he told me about cooking what would be his final gourmet excursion, Eggplant Parmesan. I was preparing to do a devotional the next morning for teacher in-service at WCS when the phone rang at 10:30. It was Laura, a nurse who was staying twenty-four hours with our folks. She had been heading downstairs for bed when she hear Dad's faint cry for help and called 9-1-1. If Laura leaves a minute earlier, Dad might not have survived the night. But, survive he did. And even though it was undoubtedly the most difficult period of his life, and mine as well, it was a blessing in so many ways. Dad's hanging in and fighting back allowed us to put our parents' legal and financial affairs in order. By struggling to the end, many family members and dear friends were able to say one last good-bye. By persevering, he left us with a great example of never giving up, even down to his last breath. And with that last breath, he still loved Mom.


I talked to Louise on the phone this morning. A lady from my church, Louise is eighty-eight and now resides in an assisted living home an hour north of Houston. Her husband, Dan, is ninety-five and has Alzheimer's. Dan is in another facility in that town. Louise related how her doctor spoke of the devastating effects on health when one spouse cares for their Alzheimer's afflicted partner. We witnessed that first hand as Dad grappled with his inability to watch over Mom until the end. Louise told me her goal is to make it to the birth of her first great granddaughter this fall. Dad never got to hold Harper or Bennett and it grieved him. Late in life, goals become more defined and less grand but certainly no less real. My father's impact on other lives continues. This morning, I was walking in my bank parking lot and I passed a woman I don't think I have ever seen before. Out of the blue, she called me, "Man of God." It took me back because I know better. Maybe she saw something else as we passed. Maybe she saw a little bit of my dad in me on this semi-anniversary. I must have overlooked that resemblance in the mirror this morning.


Applicable quote of the day:
"The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them."
Confucius


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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