Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Some Time Spent With My Dad

My dad passed a few years ago and I spoke at his funeral.
I just recently found the text.
This is it.
I wanted to tell you something that happened with my dad this week.
Dad has been enduring congestive heart failure for five years.

He was diagnosed with it and told to prepare his affairs, for he'd be gone in six months.
He was 76 at the time.

I decided that I'd better spend as much time as I could with him since I wouldn't have a lot of time left with him.

That was five years ago.

His house is about 40 minutes away, so mostly l'd see him on Saturdays when l'd pick him up and we'd have breakfast.
In the first couple of years, he supervised the addition of a couple rooms on the back of my house.
After that, he supervised the roofing and siding of my son Caleb's garage. Then Caleb and I did the siding of Dad's garage. It was during this time that Caleb realized there was money to be made doing this, and started his own construction company.
As time went on, dad slowed down and he and I would go for drives to see old haunts and explore places. My brother Tom would take him places, also.
Once, we went to Historic Ft. Wayne in Detroit. They let us through the gate, even though they
weren't open. We saw stuff the general public never sees. lt was fun.
We went to Belle lsle and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. We also went to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.
We went out on his boat (now mine) a few times, but after a while it was too hard on him to bounce around like that.
Before it got too bad, Tom and I took him to his hometown in California, PA and we took Tom's boat so we could go down the Monongahela River with him. At one point, he insisted that one of the Locks (a huge concrete fixture used to hold back the river level to raise and lower boats) must have been moved, as it wasn't where he remembered it being 70 years ago! We rolled our eyes when he asked the lockmaster when the lock had been moved. The lockmaster told us it had been moved in the 60's!
Recently, Dad had really slowed down. No more walking any distance. But he never really looked like one of those old guys you see, all slumped over and shuffling. He did look like one of those old guys you see riding a powered cart in the grocery store.
He beat prostate cancer.
After that, though, last year they found an inoperable tumor between his heart and lung.
Recently he'd been coughing up blood occasionally.

I've been praying for my Dad a lot and so has my wife Scherie, and friends of ours have also.
I've been praying for an assurance of his salvation.
It's something he didn't like to discuss much and it bothered me.
A few months ago, I was talking to his wife Jeanne about it and she brought the subject up with my Dad in front of me.
If she hadn't, I might not have known that Dad had asked Jesus to forgive him. I felt a lot of weight gone, but who can know what's in another man's heart? Why hadn't he brought it up?

I prayed that when he went, it would be painless for him.
A couple of weeks ago, while I was asking God for this and an assurance of his being OK with God.
I felt an answer in my heart, as if to say: He's OK and you'll know it when he goes painlessly.

A couple of days ago my Dad got out of the hospital after a scare put him in for a couple days.
They sent him home to die. His lung was gone with cancer.

That night Scherie, Tom, Jeanne and I had dinner with him at his house. We had a nice visit.
The next day, Thursday, Dad had what was probably a heart attack. Jeanne called us at work and told us to come quick. I picked up Scherie and we went to their house. Dad was just coming around and sitting in his favorite recliner. We talked.

Jeanne's kids came by to visit also and we had pizza delivered. Around 9:30 we left.
The next day, I didn't dress for work (Dickies), but wore dress casual instead.
Around 11 AM I got the call to come back. We went, and Dad was near comatose.
Actually it looked like he was sleeping very soundly.
He was being given morphine every hour, orally.

We sat around talking about Dad, teasing him, even though he didn't respond.
He had always joked after his first scare years ago that when people said he "looked good" that that's what they said when you were in the coffin, too: "He looks good." then he'd cross his hands over his chest and grin.

Randy is one of my step brothers, one of Jeanne's sons. We called Randy's cell phone. He was on vacation in New Orleans, and he flew home in a few hours. We hoped he'd be in time.

Around 5:15, I suggested that we not give Dad his morphine so that he could come around and say goodbye.
He was due more at 5:30. Jeanne said it was OK, if I was prepared to clean up the blood Dad was sure to cough up. I said OK.

At 5:20, Randy came in. Dad really liked Randy so we were glad he was there.

My wife had been praying that Dad would be talking to the Lord and the Lord talking to Dad while he was out. She later told me that she had heard Jeanne urge Dad to talk to the Father, and listen to the Father.
At 5:25 Dad started to stir and blood started to come out of his lips like before, when the morphine was late. I got in close on one side of the chair and my brother Tom got on the other side and we put our arms around him to set him up in the chair better.
Randy and Jimmy held his legs, while we lifted, so they could push him back up erect in the leather chair.

While we held him, I dabbed at the blood. l knew it was time and I said goodbye. Everyone was saying  "We love you, Dad", and "Goodbye Dad".

Dad opened his eyes, looked around the room and left.
It was 5:30 PM.
He peacefully went into the arms of Jesus.

There's not a person who was there that was not impressed with how he did it.


  1. Amazing story Ed. I know the awesome feeling that overwhelms you helping your father pass. Unless you have been through it most don't understand that the horrible pain also has a great beauty to it full of love and peace.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for honoring me by reading it.

  3. Sounds like a true "man to be admired." A blessing and a legacy left.

  4. That is simply beautiful and tear provoking. Thanks for sharing that with us, Ed. He sounded like quite a guy.

    1. He was.
      I'm proud to see some of him in me.

  5. For my precious brother, the minister went off on telling about his new house and his twin daughters and how life was so grand for him. He droned on for 30 minutes while I kept wishing I had the nerve to stand up: thank him for telling of HIS life, dismiss him, and take over telling of the great man who was in the coffin.

    1. Joel Osteen did his funeral?
      I'm sorry, I hope that wasn't in too bad taste.
      I'm sorry that happened to your family. That would leave a bad taste.

  6. Thank you, Ed, for a beautiful and honest post.

    Your Dad, like many men of his generation, surely loved Jesus, but men like him were hesitant to talk about it. It's a generational thing and cannot be held against them.

    Men, talk to you children about Jesus, and let them know what he means to you, and how there is noting in this world more important than his salvation. Pray to Our Lord with your kids. We are all lost without him.

    Ed: May your dad's soul rest in God's eternal peace.

  7. Ed, so generous of you to share such a precious memory.

    God bless you and your family.

  8. On my dad's last day, he was in the nursing home. My brother & sister went to visit him. When they walked in, he said "Where's Lana?". I will always regret that I didn't make the trip to see him once again.

  9. I should never have told her (Lana) that story! I was fortunate to be with daddy when he went to Jesus. He had a good life, kids that still loved him, and even a lot of friends. Thank you for sharing your dad's story...and yours!

  10. Alec, Lana and Linda. Sorry I missed your comments until now. Thank you.

  11. Alec, Lana and Linda. Sorry I missed your comments until now. Thank you.