Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Love you. Have fun!" Those were the last words my dad spoke to me. I had been visiting that Friday morning and the afternoon rolled around and I packed up the boys and said, "we're leaving dad. Love you!" He grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "Love you. Have fun!" I had a feeling at that moment that those were the last words I'd be hearing from him. After I got home, I sat down to write my dad a note to describe how much I love him. My dad had been having a hard time reading over the last few days so I recorded my letter and sent it over for him to listen to. My mom said he was coherent when she played it for him that evening. He laughed and he cried. Here is the recording: 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

No words.

I have no words. I haven't for a week. My heart hurts. My head is in a daze. You see, my dad was the most selfless person I know. (My mom being right beside him on the selfless scale.) He was a man that looked to serve others. And his children were pretty high on the list of those he served the most. He worked tirelessly to make each of us happy. He never complained and I think that is why it hurts so bad. He gave, and gave, and gave and yet never complained. He could have a busted knee or a sprained ankle and work right through it without anyone knowing his pain.

Over the past 4 months, my dad suffered day and night. When I asked how he was doing, he would usually look to the ground or away and say, "okay." He wasn't feeling okay, but he pretended. He didn't want us to worry or feel bad. So he'd simply say, "okay." My dad had stage IV renal cell kidney cancer. It spread to his brain, his lungs and his bones. He had a tumor that he said he could feel crawling up his rib cage. His bones were so week that he had several fractured ribs. In late January, we found out that the medication he was originally on, didn't seem to be effective and that the cancer had spread more. Even after gamma knife surgery on the brain, the lesions multiplied. The outlook was grim.

When my dad sat us down to tell us, he wept. But what hurts so badly is that his words were so selfless. He said, "When you hear me cry and see the sorrow in my face, it's not because I'm afraid or because I'm sad about my condition. It's because I look around and see the love in each of you." He knew where he was going. He submitted his life to God's ultimate plan. Throughout this journey, over and over again, my dad said that he trusts God. God is good and He will be glorified through this. Even the night before he took his last breath, he praised God. My mom and brother said that the evening before he passed, he had a conversation and his message was that the world is full of God isn't this or that but HE IS and our message and our lives need to proclaim that He is. He is Risen. He is Faithful. He is Just. He is awesome. He is kind. He is good. He is amazing. He is here. He is Love. HE IS.

My dad was greatly touched by the compassion that was extended to him during this time. He was so touched by the sincerity in peoples words. He told me that when he comes out of this, he is never going to pass by someone hurting without reaching out to them. He said he learned what compassion looks like. What my dad didn't know at the time though, is how many people saw this trait in him. And how many people were touched by him simply saying, "how are you?" in the middle of his busy work day. I hope to pick up where my dad left off and not pass by anyone hurting without reaching out to them. In honor of my dad.

I am still at a loss for words to describe how much I love him, how much I will miss him and how sad I am right now. Maybe some day I'll have the right words. But I want the world to know that God is good. And that my family is still praising God right along side my dad.

And when my final breath you lend
I'll thank you for the life you gave
But that won't mean the praises end
'Cause I won't be silenced by the grave

And your praise goes on, I'll be runnin' to your throne
With every nation, tribe and tongue
To your arms I'll fly, I'll gaze into your eyes
Then I'll know as I am known and your praise goes on

And your praise goes on
And your praise goes on