Sunday, August 5, 2012

~MOMENTS TO SAVOR~

Yesterday my husband and I drove into Oklahoma City to visit my father.  He is now incarcerated in a new, yet old, nursing center.  I say that because he is back at the facility he first called "home" over ten years ago.  I was so happy when he left that wretched place and was sad when I found out he was returning.  As we drove along the highway I longed for the days when my father was well.  I ran to him for so many things during my childhood and early years of marriage and even now I miss his strength and wisdom.  Mentally he's been away for so long and when I needed him this past week he, well...couldn't be there.

I called out to him from deep inside my heart.  I begged for him to remember me.
But I knew he wouldn't.
The monster I've grown to hate has lived inside his head for too long.
 As my husband, Steven, and I walked down the sidewalk that led to the back entry door into the nursing home I felt him grab my hand for a bit of reassurance.  I was thankful he was with me as his busy schedule with school and work allows for little down time.  Once inside he kept in step with me until we turned and entered my father's room.

I 've decided I'm never going to get use to seeing my father in a wheelchair.  He's suppose to be up walking around with a mug of hot sugared coffee in his hand or sitting behind his desk writing his next Sunday sermon.  Or just maybe he'd be off penning a new poem or two about nature...or God.  Certainly not this.  Not living in this tiny room with gloomy grey walls with a roommate, a man I've never met before, sleeping the remainder of his life away upon the bed nearest the door.

I'm thinking this might be hell...
(or a form of it anyway!)
 I've watched my father fade away before my eyes for over a decade now and his slow exit from this earth seems so undignified and sometimes it's unbearable to watch.  He's not at all the strong man I remember him being and this day I couldn't hold back the tears.

I sat down next to my sleeping father and laced my fingers tightly within his.  He stirred and opened his eyes only long enough to focus upon my hubby standing next to me and to call out his name, Steve.  (Strange how he has always known him.)  Then he looked at me, squinted a bit, and said only this...
"Hello, daughter.
I love you, Becky Sue".

Then he closed his eyes and returned to wherever he had been.
 
"Come back to me" was all my heart was feeling.
On the drive back home I was reminded of something my father use to say during the many times I came to him as a girl whining and complaining about some little unfair thing in my life.  He would always smile, pat my hand and then encourage me to remember that I was never alone and that God's presence would be with me as I weathered my latest, greatest storm.  He'd tell me to stay strong and hold onto my faith because the waves of doubt and disbelief were coming and one day they would threaten to toss the ship of my life into the rocks if I wasn't careful...

"When outward strength is broken, faith rests on the promises.  In the midst of sorrow, faith draws the sting out of every trouble, and takes out the bitterness from every affliction."
 Robert Cecil

Thank you, Daddy, for the wise teachings from my childhood.
You knew one day I'd depend on your wisdom to help me make it to the other shore.  I love you and miss you...

Blessings today as you seek His face.

Love to you...

27 comments:

Shabby chic Sandy said...

Oh, such a sweet and honest post. We went thru this with my Grandfather. It is so hard. Thinking of you.

LindaSonia said...

Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post.

I'm dealing with the tragically sudden loss of my Mother who had a stroke 5 days ago and is not showing any signs of recovery. I try to be strong, but I can't stop crying. I too am clinging to my faith. God help me.

Moments of Grace said...

Dearest Rebecca,

I read this with tears streaming. I know what it is like to love an earthly father as dearly as you love yours. I cannot, however, begin to imagine the sorrow that floods your heart as you watch him slip away.

Truly our dear Heavenly Father is the richest and, many times, only source of true comfort we have. Only our Father-God knows our sorrow and our pain and moves us through the raging storm of despair. He is, indeed, an ever present help in time of trouble.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you today. I think of you so often and pray that the love and joy of God's presence will envelope you and keep you strong in days ahead.

Thank you for your prayers for my brother. He is back to work and doing well. God is so good---all the time.

Love to you, my friend.

In Grace,
Marie

Melissa Bishop said...

Oh, sweet Rebecca.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. Prayers to you and your father during this difficult time. My the peace of, God rest upon you and become your strength!

Marilyn said...

Through shared tears, I offer you a hug and send you my love and understanding to strengthen your heart and soul.♥♫

Karen said...

Thank you, for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Your father was an amazing man and gave you many gifts to remember and open when you were in need. Your post touched me deeply. With blessings and gratitude, Karen

Jan M said...

Rebecca, my heart aches for you. It is so difficult to watch and understand as our loved ones age. Many hugs and prayers for you during the difficult days.

Abby's Paperie Garden said...

Such a powerful and touching post. Sending {hugs} your way.

xo,abby

Deanna said...

Rebecca, Bless you.......this cannot be an easy time. Still you can see your Daddy and those sweet words were spoken. Just a glimpse of what you had. A remnant of what was. I'm sorry that this is so hard.

Your Dad's words ring true. Powerful words that have given you strength for such a time as this.

You are blessed,
d

ANNEMARIE said...

Oh Rebecca, such a heart felt post! I am glad that you have such happy memories of your Dad and I hope that wherever he 'is', when his mind isnt with you, is a happy content place to be. Such a cruel disease, lets pray that one day a cure will be found. Thinking of you with hope and love. AnneMarie xxx

Cindy The Victorian Journey said...

My heart broke for you as I read your post today. My greatest fear of my mother you just described. I am lucky still she is well. I pray for you, as I know it must be heart wrenching to grasp your fathers hand and him not know you. My God is wise, and so is your father the beautiful thing he told you when he was young. So worthy and useful today. My heart to yours, may God bless you.

RosesMarijke said...

Sending love and hugs to you Rebecca

xx
Marijke

Susie said...

Rebecca, Your post touched my heart. I know it's tough. But your father did teach you about God...that is his gift to you. Prayers for you, Susie

Theresa said...

BIG HUGS and prayers coming your way my friend! Tears roll down my face as I remember my Daddy's final days in Hospice! I will see him again in Heaven and wish I could lace my fingers thru his as you did with your Dad! Love you my friend!

NanaDiana said...

Oh, "Becky Sue". You know I am tearing up just reading this as we went through the same thing. It will always haunt you in a way. The only consolation is that when they get to a certain stage they DON'T KNOW that they DON'T KNOW. It is a kindness from God, I think.

My heart aches for you-I know it is hard to think this way but I used to pray for God to take my Mom home...home beyond all the pain and to relieve the frame of body that was useless to her soul. I am praying for you (and for your Dad) because I remember..... xo Diana

Debbie said...

Oh my dear Rebecca, I know all too well what you are going through. My advice to you is, please do not be so quick to think your father does not know who you are. You look closely into his eyes when you speak to him, he knows it"s you, he just can"t verbilize that. They eyes are a window to the soul and they become a sweet magical language of your hearts, yours and his..Trust in God that your father knows it"s you, he knows it"s his little girl...Be strong and beleive as your father taught you..Debbie (Maine)

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,

That is a very touching slice of real life... Not one that you anticipated having to face but as you said so well, thanks to your Dad teaching you!

Hugs and love,

Mariette

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Rebecca,
I just had a 2 hour long talk with my sister. For some reason, this past week was a week of recalling our child hood and what a happy one it was for each of us. The things I thought about this past week were the same things that she thought about. One of them is always our Dad. We were both Daddy's girls but at different times since there is a 10 year age difference between us. She was telling me how her grandson went fishing for the first time and loved it. It was something that both of us and our children did with my Dad before he died. She was telling me that she was sure he was looking down from heaven and watching his great grandson fish for the first time and enjoy it.
Then I read this wonderful but so sad post about your Dad and I am sitting here crying.
You and I have both lost our Dads but so unfortunate for you is that you have to watch your Dad slowly slip away from you. Mine was gone in an instant.
My heart aches right now for you and i feel your heartache. I am so very sorry that you and your Dad have to endure this.
You and your family are in my thoughts and in my prayers...
Many hugs,
Debbie

Jonell said...

You are on my blog list & I try to ck your posts reguarly..God bless and comfort you..my husband just stopped and read over my shoulder and he said:"Yes, many people have things a lot worse." [he's just beginning a battle w cancer/treatments starting soon] Our hearts go out to you and your GRIEVING..yes, I am thinking your suffering must be a heavier burden than what we are facing..it's humbling. May your JOYS balance out with the pain.

Jonell

Marydon said...

Rebecca, whatever God's plan or reason for your Father is beyond our understanding.

How fortunate you are to have a Father that you dearly loved, & he you ... treasure those precious moments to comfort you. In that, you are very blessed.

TTFN ~
Always ~
Marydon

Dolores said...

Oh my, how I understand your feelings!! This is definitely the hardest and longest good bye ever....

I'm amazed that your dad still knows who you are...David no longer knows any of us.

Big hugs and prayers my friend

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

I can sympathize with you Rebecca...my mom had alzheimers although not to the extent of your father. Such a sad way to the end of your life not only for the person but for the family that loves them. My dad didn't have it but he is gone now and like you, my dad was my hero. He always had the answer to everything and he always made me feel safe and secure growing up. Miss him. Try to take comfort in the good memories during this time. ~Hugs, Patti

Lavender Cottage said...

Dear Rebecca, I can identify with your pain and am sending you a big hug.
The kind minister at my father's funeral said to remember him from a time in his life that was pleasant and to forget his aged years when he became difficult. And, that's how I do remember him and only look at my favorite photo of a younger Dad that I lovingly recall.
Hugs,
Judith

Yasmin Smith said...

Beautiful post today, Rebecca. I know your pain at having your dad moved from his comfortable "home" to a former faculity that is not near as nice. It must have been very hard to walk down those halls to his new room, and I am glad Steven was beside you every step. But on the bright side, your dad did open his eyes for a minute and recognize Steven and then you, and that must have made you happy!
Somewhere locked inside his mind he knows you are his "Becky Sue" and her beloved husband, and though he can't express what he feels I think he always rememebers you as his little girl he loved so much.
Is Miss K still with you? She brings you so much joy, I hope she is still there. School will be starting again soon, and then things get so busy, so this is a very special time for you, and I know you are going to make the most of it!!
I hope you have a wonderful week!
Sending big hugs and much love to you, Francy

Your Craft Book said...

Dear Rebecca, I know exactly where you are coming from and know how you feel. When I saw my mother just a few short weeks ago it was such a shock and I bawled like a baby for over an hour. I pray to our Lord every night to save my mother. She never gave that side of things a second thought and today I pray daily for her. Keep your chin up and know that your father is a wonderful man with a wonderful future ahead of him, blessings, Maureen.

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Dear Rebecca,
Oh my dear, its not easy seeing one we love so much slip away. None of us know how much time we have on earth or when the good lord will call us home sometimes its just a quick snap of the fingers and we are gone or it might take years. Why who knows, I ask the same question every day.. Why my sweet sister was taken away from us in a snap of a finger it all happened so fast we really didn't get to say goodby.. I miss her with all my heart and soul. You can still touch your dad's hand and talk to him, kiss his cheek. Every day with him is a blessing even though he is not always alert, I think he knows you are there. Sending you big hugs, Elizabeth

Bonnie Hitchcock said...

Oh Bec, I'm sitting her bawling my eyeballs out! Oh how I hear your heart, your hurt! I just left Daddy's house (still waiting for it to sell) and I cried and cried. So many emotions are tied to that house. I wish it would sell! My mama lived in that shell of existence for 5 years. Mercifully cancer took her away but not without lots of pain. Oh, honey, hold on tightly to the memories and the hope that one day this will all be gone and we will see him there in The Light of That City! I couldn't make it if I didn't know this!
love you my friend.

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