tonight is night number 5 of sitting beside my dad. i can't really begin to write the words to fit what i am feeling...seeing...thinking. the moments in between the breaths are peace and deep rest. then comes the jerking of the shoulders, the hunger for air, and a short gasp. sometimes the wait for that breath is longer than others. i sit by his side, resting my hand on top of his. my hand seems so small next to his large, hardworking, fading hands. i rest my forehead on his. it feels like there is a button on my head that releases the sadness. dad moans. i feel like we are communicating. for some reason, tonight has been hard for me. i feel like i've been ok with what is going on until tonight. i started to feel like maybe if i could let go, he could. but i know ultimately that nothing i do or say will make a difference. i can only pray that soon, my dad's faith will become sight. that soon, he will be born into a new body, free from pain and suffering. full of rejoicing. i know the minute that happens, i will feel devastated. yet somehow, i know that it will also be well with my soul.
one of the most encouraging conversations i've had in the past couple days was with my friend megan. as i described how in the past 6 weeks i've watched my dad's body wither and fade, while i've seen his spirit rise. it has taken control. in suffering, he has not complained or winced. he has called out to his Saviour. he has taken comfort in His word. she put words to what i felt so deeply. i've been watching my dad turn inside out. his body has been disappearing, leaving only spirit. with the past couple of days comes a feeling like there is a part of his body that won't give up. it leaves us in a tricky spot. desperate to have him here. desperate for him to take his last breath.
so, here it is again 12:23am. andrea is in the recliner that has been deemed the torture chair. your arms go numb and your hips hurt after a couple hours in it. lura is in the big recliner. i'm on the couch. mom needed some rest, so she is in bed for a couple hours. this is the time of night i've grown to really dislike. i feel tired. my eyes want to close. but my ears listen so intently for that breath. if i can't hear it, or see dad's silhouette rise and fall, i jump to my feet to be close. i only succumb to total exhaustion.
i just close my eyes and pray. i do this sitting next to him, rubbing his arm that has a new lump on it. or his legs, so thin and bony now. i do this on the couch, fighting tears. as we gather around his bed, we are silently thinking similar thoughts, praying similar prayers.
today, we read scripture to dad. mom recited verses that he helped her memorize. it is in 1 peter. she recited more than this, but these are the verses resounding in my mind:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
i'm pretty sure that dad's faith has been tested sufficiently and will be found to result in praise and glory and honor. come Lord Jesus.