Shared by Michael Wood…
My dad is lying in a hospital bed in tremendous pain. He is 82 years old and has had rheumatoid arthritis for about 35 years. It has racked his body, twisting his fingers and toes into almost unusable, angled, swollen features. His once beautiful, fluid handwriting is gone, replaced by semi-legible pain inducing letters. His strong hands that remodeled a civil war era home and built bunk beds, are lying still at his side.
About a week ago, while washing down their patio, his feet got tangled in the hose and he fell. Not a bad fall, so we thought, but a fall none-the-less. After a few days he started having severe pain in his right shoulder and elbow. After a very restless night on Monday he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. His pain has been so severe that he still moaned and groaned while on morphine. An MRI revealed several disks are damaged and pinching his spinal cord. With surgery not an option, 2 of my 4 sisters and I had to make the painful decision to move him to the Hospice House for “Pain Management”.
I grew up knowing that my dad loved me! How did I know? He told me. A lot! Also, he was proud of me! How did I know? He told me. A lot! He also told me the things I was good at doing. These were gifts he gave me my entire life. But this is not the gift I am talking about.
For the last two days he has been in and out of sleep because of the pain medicine. When he was awake, he was lucid but in intense pain. He would speak in short phrases but would grimace in pain. When the medicine would take over, he would sleep fairly peacefully but was completely unaware of our presence.
The Gift… Friday at lunch I was not going to go to the hospital because it was just too painful to see him in such pain. With 2 of my sisters here and at the hospital, I figured I could wait until after work. However, my beautiful and loving wife asked me to stop by and see him. When I arrived he was mostly out of it and I really wanted to leave. I stayed and he gave me the best gift he ever gave me!! He stirred and became fairly lucid. He recognized me and said “Hey Bud, How are you?” Just like him to be concerned about others more than himself. Then before I left, I told him goodbye and that I loved him. He looked up at me and softly said “I love you too, see you later.”
Later may be in another lucid moment, or when we are reunited in Heaven. Either way, I will see him later and I know my father loves me!
Fathers – Tell your children!! Tell them you love them! Tell them you are proud of them! Tell them that they are good at what they are good at!! Time is short. Start now. It is never too late. I do not care if your children are 6 or 60. Tell them!!
It will be the greatest gift you will ever give them! God gave me a gift in my dad. My dad gave me the gift of knowing that he loved me!!
My father was moved to the hospice house on Friday evening. We were told that he had signs that his death was “imminent”. On Saturday at about 4:25 in the afternoon, his pain stopped and he got to see his Lord and Savior!!
He gave me many gifts over the 46 years that I had him with me. But far and away, the best gift that he gave me was the last words that he spoke to me! “I love you too, see you later.” I already miss him, but I know where he is and that he is no longer in pain. He is walking and running with feet that have straight toes. He is fingers are no longer gnarled and painful. He can stand straight. He can hear the singing saints without his hearing aids. And he can see the face of his savior without his glasses!
He gave me a great example to live up too. He gave me a higher standard. I pray that I can…