It was the last goodbye. The only thing was, I didn’t know it at the time. My father seemed like he was feeling better. It had been a week since we learned the news that he had cancer. Before that, he simply wasn’t feeling right. After a couple of weeks of feeling bad he decided to go to the hospital. There he received medical attention and started feeling better.
Then there was the surgery. They needed to remove fluid buildup. After that, he said he felt much better. In fact, he wanted to go back home, but not eating much in the previous three weeks left him weak. This meant he would go to a nursing home/rehab facility until he could get his strength back.
When I saw him he was in good spirits. He talked about going home on Friday, but since he wasn’t able to get in to see the oncologist the trip home would have to wait. They needed to hear from the doctor before they would release him from rehabilitation.
My time in Forsyth was mostly spent sitting in his room talking with him, well, actually he did most of the talking, but I sat and listened. I realized that was the best thing I could do at the time. I heard stories that I knew and a few that I didn’t.
It was Wednesday when I saw him last. We had made a trip to the doctor’s office to see his surgery doctor. It was there dad learned that he would be staying in the rehab center a bit longer. He took the news in stride. He wanted to go home, but he knew that he would have to wait. He said it was fine. He said at least at the rehab center he had people bringing him his food and washing his clothes.
Wednesday night we sat together and watched a children’s choir from a local church. It looked like they had all ages from kindergarten to middle school. In total, there were seven children. Not a big group, but from the looks on the faces of those sitting in the dining hall it didn’t matter. My dad enjoyed it immensely.
After the children finished singing we sat and talked with a couple of friends of his who came to visit. Dad had been on a couple of mission trips with them (my dad went on mission trips even though he was in his mid 80s). It was a good visit.
After the festivities I said my goodbyes. I was getting up the next morning and traveling home. I had no idea it would be the last goodbye. I had no idea that three days later he would no longer be with us, but rather he would be in the hands of God who loved him and who he loved.
I want to thank all of you for the cards, the words, the prayers, the help and the hugs you have given to my family and me these past few weeks. Many of you have walked this road. Some of you are walking it right now. Not knowing when that last goodbye will come. I have felt your prayers and love. It makes a huge difference. Thank you!!!
I guess I’m learning that sometimes it is good to put things on hold. Sometimes the best thing that we can do is take the time to be with those we love because none of us know when the goodbye will be the last.