Yesterday, Friday 14 January 2022 marked the end of this Journey and this Journal. I intended to write this late yesterday afternoon–but I was exhausted. At 1:11 a.m. CST, Dad breathed his last breath on earth and breathed his first breath in eternity. Wednesday had been a fairly good day compared to the day before. Thursday wasn’t so good. Around 11:30 p.m. his breathing was distressed–and we called Hospice. The nurse arrived and confirmed our suspicions–his prayer of going home was about to be answered. And at 1:11 a.m., his prayer and mine were answered. As he was taking those final breaths I realized it was my sister Jacque’s birthday. Jacque died in August, and I told him, “It’s OK, go ahead, we will be OK, and tell Jacque Happy Birthday in person.” Just moments later he stopped breathing and a few more moments later, his physical heart stopped beating. But that new Heart Jesus gave him so many years ago never missed a beat!
Today we sit down with the Funeral Director to make those final arrangements. This will be easy because Dad took care of the major decisions a long time ago. Monday night we will greet friends and share compassion and so many memories at the Funeral Home which, by the way, he worked at for many years after his retirement. Tuesday afternoon we will gather in the sanctuary that he literally helped to build and together celebrate one of the most powerful men who ever lived. He never made the national news, but the power of his influence still rings out in our family and in this community.
My brother from another set of parents who were always our neighbor said something that gave me perspective. Joel White told me, “Can you imagine how many people who are in heaven because of him, met him and greeted him there?” And Joel’s thought gave me a moment of great joy–and I know it did for Dad. And in this, my final entry for this particular Journal is: The End Of One Journey Marks The Beginning Of The Next Journey!
For Dad, his journey of missing his wife, two daughters, family, and friends is over. And the face he longed to see most of all–Jesus–is right there before him. And now he’s on a new journey of life with The Father! Our Journey is now about the final steps–working through our grief while celebrating his marvelous life. This Journey includes preparing for Dad’s Celebration Service, grieving together, and all the other things that go with settling Dad’s affairs, and final wishes. And I am confident that because God was with all of us in THIS Journey, He will faithfully be with us in this NEXT Journey–and in all the Journeys yet to be made. We will make it because of the faithful presence of The Holy Spirit–and the legacy that Dad gave us as his parting gift.