I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. I did, in fact I think this was the best Christmas I've had in a long time. No stress, no family drama. Just fun, fellowship and family.
“It’s cancer.” Dad sits upright in the hospital bed, his yellow skin an odd contrast to the white sheets. Jaundice is just one of the many physical signs that his body is broken.
My sisters, Judy and Angel, and I surround the end of his bed and listen while Mom and Dad repeat the doctor’s news. There’s a tumor in the duct between his liver and gallbladder, hidden from all scans until now. After several years of unexplained illness and numerous tests, they found the answer, only it’s too late to do anything. The doctors don't think he has long to live.
As I hear the news that in all rights should have devastated me, instead I feel a deep calm and the words run through my mind, “Everything is going to be okay.” And I knew they were true. We would pray and hope for a healing, but if in the end God called Dad home, it would still be okay. God would take care of us.
One month to the day after hearing the news, our family found ourselves gathered around Dad’s hospice bed. He had quickly slipped from conversation just a few hours earlier to being unable to speak. We each said goodnight, kissed his whiskered cheek and told him how much we loved him. Then, before going to our own home, my sisters and I joined Mom in prayer. Each asking for God’s blessing on Dad that night and giving him over to the arms of Jesus; if it was Dad’s time to go, no one wanted to hold him back from joining his Savior.
Angel and I went home and within a few hours received a call from Mom. Dad had gone peacefully in his sleep. We grieved and we rejoiced. Dad’s greatest desire was to be a part of Zion , to see the evil of this world put away so we could all share together in the loving presence of Jesus. Now he was where he could be happiest, he was no longer ill and could once again take up his ministry from the other side.
We all had many testimonies that came with Dad’s passing, more than I have room to share here, but one in particular stands above the rest for me. About a month after Dad died, on a Saturday afternoon, I went to take a nap. I dreamed that I was sitting in my living room and Dad was sitting across from me. He looked good, much as I remembered him when I was younger, his full beard and hair were red once again. He was dressed in his usual style, plaid dress shirt and suspenders with slacks.
I looked at him with surprise, “Dad?” Excitement flooded through me. “Are you happy?”
“Yes,” Dad assured me.
“What’s it like, can you tell me all about it?”
“No, but you’re going to love it when you get here.” Dad smiled.
“Will we see you again?” I wondered in my heart if this would be the only time for me to see him.
“Yes.” I knew in my heart that Dad’s assurance was true.
I awoke shortly after and was so excited I immediately went to find Angel and tell her. I described our conversation.
“It’s odd that my first question was if he was happy.” I mused. “Of course he’s happy. He’s with Jesus, why wouldn’t he be?”
Angel agreed. In fact, for weeks we had talked about how Dad would finally be able to see the libraries of heaven and learn about all the things that he was so curious about. That was Dad, always curious, always looking for answers and knowledge about everything.
The following day, we joined Mom and the rest of the family at her house for Sunday lunch. Afterward, I told Mom about my dream. She was quiet for a while, and then shared what had happened the night before. Saturday night, she was feeling lonely and sad, really missing Dad. She spent some time reading her scriptures, and before going to sleep, she told God, “If I could just know he was happy, that would help.”
I was amazed and excited. That explained my first question. It wasn’t for me, it was for Mom. God sent her answer on Saturday afternoon, hours before she prayed and asked her question. It was a comfort to all of us and I was reminded once again, that everything is going to be okay. God is truly amazing in His love for his children.