Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Happy Good-bye

My dad just died last Sunday, I'm in LA for the memorial service and to spend time with my mom.  There has been a lot of family get-togethers and I'm happy for the chance to see them all while missing my own dear family so very very much in Houston.

The one thing I don't feel is grief over my dad's passing, strangely enough.  Perhaps it was because I already said good-bye to him when I saw that Alzheimer's disease had already stolen away the father I knew and loved six years ago.  It was so strange to see his sparkling blue eyes, hold his gnarled hands and hear that familiar tenor voice singing old church hymns, and yet know that he was no longer able to hold a rational conversation, or even be fully aware of who I was.  That was the hardest time, because I wanted him to fight back against the disease,  I wanted him to acknowledge that something was wrong and to try his hardest to resist the slow degradation of his brain and eventually his entire body.  But he didn't want to talk about it.  These last two years he could no longer speak, though he could sing along with us strangely enough.  He was confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair and would still look at me with those eyes, though they had turned a bit dull.

Knowing that a bright, intelligent, energetic, hilariously funny and dedicated man who had served God as a missionary in Korea for 35 years, and had continued serving in his church for 12 more years in retirement, had faded into a fog of illness.  It was like watching someone you loved slowly sink and drown into a pit of mud.

But one day I had flown in from England and saw him alone in the hospital.  The doctor said he'd only last a few days.  I spoke to him about some of the deepest concerns in my heart.  I asked forgiveness, I poured out my heart, and I spoke to him about God and His forgiveness. Dad couldn't speak, but his eyes filled with tears and rolled down his cheeks.  He raised his hand to his head as if to ask me to pray for him.  He stared intently at me and made noises, trying to speak.  I prayed strong for him, and he cried.  He squeezed my hand and I kissed him on the cheek and told him I loved him.  I felt that I was speaking directly to his soul, that the disease had been pushed to the side and his spirit knew exactly what was going on.  When all was finished, his tears ended.

Something very spiritual and very deep happened that evening.  Though I saw him more times before I left, enjoying our singing and visiting, I was completely at peace knowing that when God was ready to take him home, both he and I were ready.  He lived for another two years, but always in discomfort, trapped in a body and mind that could no longer function.  When I heard the news of his passing after the Sunday morning service, I honestly was so happy for him to be free.

Last Saturday at his memorial service, with their pastor, my brother, my brother-in-law, even myself getting up front to speak or share, it was the most uplifting and happiest funeral I had ever attended.  There really was no room for tears.  He's celebrating his freedom for eternity, and all I can do is smile.

31 comments:

Jenn said...

Oh, that was beautifully written. It made me cry. So glad you have peace about this.

—Jenn

Alicia said...

When I heard your dad passed away I wanted to know more about it but I didn't want to ask.

thanks for the post :)

cecilia Lopez said...

Is true when you know your relatives passed and you know he or her will be with God is a reason to be happy.
It is harder if your relative pass away and you know that him never wants to know about God, salvation.

Saziso said...

Towards the end of the articles I had tears in my eyes. It is so nice to read something like this. The passing away of a father is hard for many people, and can take a long time to overcome the grief. You knowing that God was with your father gave you reason not to cry, or grieve, but to celebrate his life, and his new life to come.

Thanks for sharing this story. I really enjoyed reading it :-)

Divya said...

Mrs. Evelyn, many times I wanted to tell you "I am sorry" but something always kept holding me back. When reading this post I realized that in your inner self you had peace, because you took the opportunity God gave you with your dad.

Thank you for sharing. This message encourages us to not miss out on the opportunities God gives us with our family members.

Maritza Barr said...

Mrs. Evelyn,

I am still startled about the fact that you have kept such composure, even after what happened! I saw how you reacted when you received the news, and obviously I didn't ask, but you went about your day as if nothing had happened!

I thought that it was only me who was seeing this, and began to wonder was there something wrong with me? But, I understand completely everything that you said. What was mind blogging to me was your reaction. I don't know what my reaction would've been if I had received news that my mother died... I would've left it in God's hands.

Your father is in a far better place than the one we are in right now! Thanks for being an example of a Woman of God, even without saying anything, your actions alone speak for you. :-)

Debora Anjos said...

Faith makes us face death is such a different way. It amazes me every time.

Alzheimer's is indeed a very tragic disease, we feel so powerless to help the person. I experienced the same with my great grandmother.

Indeed it is very appeasing when we are certain the person was saved. And like Divya said, it is a good reminder for us to use the opportunities we are given to be with our loved ones and help them conquer their salvation.

Now, COME BACK MRS E. ! ;P

Kalema Reece-White said...

Hello Mrs Evelyn,

I remember when my gran died last year. I came home and my mom told me that she had had a fall and they were about to take her to the hospital.

By the time they had got her to the hospital she had had a stroke, she was in a really bad way.

I prayed strong that night. The next day I was pottering about the house, still waiting for news on how things were going. I remember thinking, what if my gran was to die what would I do? straightaway I answered as long as she was saved (she was a christian)I would be happy.

A few hours later we got the news that she had died.

I believe that God was preparing me for what was about to happen because although I cried when I got the news I was so at peace. Not even my mom quite understood my attitude.

So I understand your peace. Although it is sad, we know that where they are is much better.

Thanks for sharing
Kalema

Cindy said...

Now I understand more Mrs. Evelyn. He is blessed being freed. and you and your family are blessed too.
We're happy for you.

God bless you more and more.

^_^
Cindy from Manila

Izamar Romero said...

I heard of your father's passing and truly I wanted to say something, but when I say you, I thought I may have been rude or even disresctful, You seemed so at peace last Thursday, and to tell you the truth when I say I almost felt comforted by happiness, I showed me God's spirti living in you,

Lily Torneros said...

Your stength and wisdom inspires me. The way you dealt with your father's passing is very admireable. I can only imagine the pain you must of felt when your father could hardly remember who you were due to his disease. Thank you so much for this post. It's so inspiring, thank you Mrs. Ev!

Rebeca=) said...

You're writing is so personal and touching Mrs Evelyn. I believe he's in heaven too, happy as a clam.=)

Thanks for sharing such personal details.

Camila said...

Hi Mrs. Evelyn, my father also passed away few years ago and at the time it was hard to not have him around but at the same time I was happy because I knew he had given his life to Jesus.

Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with us.

Manila - Philippines

Marcia Pires said...

Hi Evelyn, beautiful account of your dad's life and moreover what death meant to him: freedom to live eternally.

Lillian said...

Mrs. Evelyn, now I admire you even more. Just as Maritza, when I saw you continue your day as usual I was left speechless. Yes, I've heard in church many times about how when our loved ones pass away we have to be strong and not be overwhelmed by our emotions, but I had never seen a live example of it. It's true that knowing that he's in heaven is comforting, because after all, that's the home we are longing for ourselves.

Thanks for sharing, you are a strong woman and I'm blessed to have you as my big sister! :-)

suLmaaa said...

Mrs. Evelyn If you wouldn't have said anything about your dad I would've never noticed anything strange had happened. The world makes funerals seem like such a dreadful, mournful place to be at. Something that one wouldn't typically look forward to. You brought a different perspective in my eyes though. We shouldn't be sad when our relative dies, especially if they are going to heaven, but be overjoyed for them. You definatley brought a new persepctive of funerals into my eyes. God Bless you Mrs. Evelyn more as each day goes by...

Nadia said...

Thank you for sharing Mrs. Evelyn. Your postings are always uplifting, genuine and original.

Flavia Barcelos said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with us Mrs Evelyn...
I am very glad to know that our Lord is giving you His peace and happness, in a time like this were those who don't know God can't find joy, our Lord is giving you the confort and assurance that only He can give.
This is the Lord we love !!! He never let us down !!!

I love you a lot !!!
Flavia Barcelos

Motlatsi said...

Hi Mrs Evelyn, it is comforting to know that you are well and dealing with the loss of your dad so gracefully. May God continue to carry you through this time, and may we fight the good fight and one day die with Jesus, like your dad did.

Love,
Motlatsi.

Lininha said...

Hi Mrs Evelyn,

This is beautiful!! I can remember as if it was today, the day you told us about this experience you had had with him at the hospital, it was so touching and so strong!
I also do believe he is better off than us now...
Thank yo for sharing this beautiful story and my sincere regards to your whole family.

Kisses!

PHAMELA JOY--UCKG PHILIPPINES said...

thank you mrs ester,
for sharing this to us..
it really halps us so much..
my father passed away also since when im 5years of age.. and GOD never leave me..
thank you so much..
GODBLESS..
kisses..
__PHAMELA JOY--UCKG PHILIPPINES

PHAMELA JOY--UCKG PHILIPPINES said...

thank you mrs ester,
for sharing this to us..
it really helps us so much..
my father passed away also since when im 5years of age.. and GOD never leave me..
thank you so much..
GODBLESS..
kisses..
__PHAMELA JOY--UCKG PHILIPPINES

Marites,Manila,Philippines said...

hi mrs.Evelyn,
thanks for sharing this story with us,i remember when my father passed away when i was 12years old,and it was a hard time for me. and thanks be to God,God gives me strength to overcame all of this.

Marites,Manila,Philippines

Sandrinha said...

Hi Mrs Evelyn, forgive me for being so mean... Had I known about it, I'd never had loaded you with so much work.

You are a great friend indeed.

I love so much!

Sandra

Bianca Moctezuma said...

I love your strength Mrs. Evelyn!
Its true because when we have God There is always Peace in us
God Bless You Mrs. Evelyn
Thanks For the Post!

marilu said...

Mrs Evelyn, another reason I admire your strong relationship with God.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Princess Erika - Philippines said...

Hi Mrs. Evelyn,

Thank you so much sharing this to us Ma'am! This is really strong!

Mayela said...

Mrs. Evelyn, when i saw your post on FB i didn't know how to respond, but you made it so obvious to us that you were glad he was in a better place. And it must be even better when we are sure of somone's salvatoin.

Gemma Leon UK said...

Thanks for sharing such an intimate part of your life. Your reaction inspires others more than you know.

Dania said...

Mrs. Eveyln, this blog truly shows that God has fill you with his holy spirit. He gave you the eyes to see the good of the situation and feel the true happinees of his peace. By this God comfirms you that you are really his daugther, because your father keeps living in you, God.

Nuelia said...

I couldn't help but cry - very touching indeed!