Well, November turned out to be an interesting month. So many things happened, life changing events.... I wished to write each one of them down. I even contemplated trying to write every day, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It felt like a waste of time to be sitting, typing on a keyboard, when life was passing by right before my eyes.
On November 10th, I flew back home to be with my family as my father lay, dying, in the ICU. He is a tough, old farmer though and he proved those doctors wrong. He fought for another 13 days before the angels came and carried him home. In that amount of time, I was able to witness so many, many things that would take weeks for me to write about. I could tell you about the bravery of my father, how he tried his very best to make his broken body keep going. I could tell you about my mother, her devotion to her husband. How, in the end, it was the bond of 51 years of marriage that enabled her to understand what my father was trying to say, even when he couldn't speak. It was a type of love that I had never really witnessed from my parents, they were so private in that respect, that broke my heart for them both. Then, there was the gentle, kind way that the nurses and doctors tended to my father, how they tried to comfort my mother. A simple story of how our health care system isn't broken. No, I would argue, we have the best trained nurses and doctors in the world. The stories of other families on the ICU floor, who all understood that death walked those hallways. A type of bond that was unspoken, yet acknowledged. The helpless feeling, that I know my brothers and I had, of trying to help our parents when we really couldn't do a single thing. I've spent time with my family, but it was this time, these past few weeks, that will forever be remembered.
My father was a quiet man, whose stories would most likely make a good read! He was a farmer, a humble man who went about his work without complaining.... at least, not as much as some. He was a good neighbor, a person who helped others when they needed it because it was the right thing to do. He was a godly man. He knew who his Savior was and was not afraid to profess his faith. My mother and I would say the Lord's Prayer and sing "Abide With Me" every night before we left his bedside. He would feebly try to fold his hands. He understood we were saying prayers, he confessed his faith with us in that simple fashion. He was a devoted husband, a good father and a kind grandfather. We will miss him greatly.
Below is the text for one of the hymns we sang at his funeral. It was a wonderful, Lutheran service filled with the hope we have of the resurrection. Our children sang this hymn for Grandma.
Jerusalem the Golden by Bernard of Cluny
Verse 1: Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest
beneath your contemplation, sink heart and voice oppressed
I know not, oh, I know not, what joys await us there!
What radiancy of glory, what bliss beyond compare.
Verse 3: There is the throne of David, and there, from care released
The shout of those who triumph, the song of those who feast
And they who with their leader, have conquered in the fight
Forever and forever, are clad in robes of white.
I loved my father and still have sorrow over his death. But, I also rejoice in the fact that we will see him again one day with all those saints who have gone before us. What a blessed assurance we have in our risen Lord! May the peace of God fill each of you as well.