Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dad's final message to the family

In this post I want to share about my Dad's final message to the family. It was Christmas 2003. None of us knew that this would be our last Christmas together but it seemed that Dad knew it. We were all gathered together to celebrate Christmas at my parents home. Everyone had been able to make it out to be together for Christmas, that being all  24 of us in total. The dinner meal was finished and we all gathered in the livingroom for an afternoon of visiting and sharing and giving gifts.
Dad's health had been slowly deteriorating since the diagnosis of cancer a year earlier. He had been through surgery for the cancer  and many chemotherapy treatments. Combine that with a  heart attack that  had weakened his heart and having battled diabetes for years, he was not a strong man any more. He was getting weaker and walked with a cane. We all loved him very dearly and we hoped that he would be able to regain his strength and health and perhaps live to see his grandchildren grow up.
As we were all sitting there, suddenly Dad rose to his feet and it was clear it was time for all of us to stop visiting and listen up. It was sort of frightening because with him being so weak, any stress that he placed upon himself could trigger another heart attack. But leaning on his cane, he began to speak from the book of Joshua chapter 24: 14-15 where it says :
14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Dad specifically wanted to stress that we as his family were to serve the LORD.  It was his desire that after he would be gone that we should all continue to live for Christ. He was choosing that for all of us though it is a choice we must each make as individuals. In a sense it was a challenge to us but it seemed more like a "gathering in of the flock".  Somewhat like if a hen gathers her chicks together to safety under her wings.
Tears flowed freely as he spoke to us. We all knew how hard it was for him to give that message to us in his condition but we are so thankful that he left us with those words and that memory.
A few weeks later in January, the cancer broke his leg and he was not able to walk anymore. He spent most of the next six months in the hospital in paliative care, where they had to increase the pain medication and his mind was not nearly so clear  anymore.  His love for all the family continued especially making an effort to bless  his grandchildren  who were very precious to him and he would always say goodbye to each one by name when they visited him in the hosptial. He passed away in July of 2004.
 It's been a while Dad, but we'll see you up there in glory when we all get to Heaven. We'll be together again.

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