I begin this post with a lifetime of memories, gratitude and love, overflowing from my heart and blurring my eyes with tears. How do I adequately share the news that I so dreaded would come? Last Friday morning, with his loving bride by his side, along with my brother and me, we witnessed my dad depart this earth. He was 69. Like so many of those we lose, I wish everyone in the world could’ve known him. I wish you could’ve personally known him. I grieve that Karolina and Gus will not really know him. I try to rationalize and remind myself how death comes to us all, how grateful I am that he is at peace. He is no longer tethered to his failing body and he is free. As believers in Christ, we are reassured that we will meet again. But the reality of the moment is still very…raw. With the queer gift of knowing his time was drawing near, we all tried to prepare. We had the unique blessing of being able to say our goodbyes, tell dad the things we always wanted him to know, and forgive each other any past wrongs. There was healing and beauty in that. And for that, I am grateful.
During his last few days, we gathered around his bed in a perpetual vigil of prayer and devotion (my dad would’ve been so proud of my mom, I sure was). We shared our favorite stories, laughed until we cried, thanked dad for a lifetime of love and lessons, sang, and released him from any earthly obligations he may have been carrying with him. I am so grateful for the Hospice nurses who so lovingly cared for my father and our family. Over and over, I was reminded of the parallels between childbirth, and heaven-birth. The laboring of the death process, and how our hand holding, rubbing his feet, and wiping his forehead seemed similar the task of midwives. Just like a baby, comfortable in the womb. They have no idea the glorious new world that awaits, but when the time comes, they are birthed into a foreign universe that they were being prepared their whole lives for. I found comfort in thinking about dad’s birth into eternal life. I would say my dad’s heavenly birth was premature, but that is just a reflection of my human attachment and limited understanding and faith. It was heart-wrenching to witness my dad suffering but I believe in power of prayer and I thank you for coming to my father’s aid in this way. I am convinced he was surrounded by angels and cushioned by the pleas on his behalf. After we received word it would be a matter of hours until he passed, we placed the kids’ teddy bears in his arms, my mom brought out her olive wood, Holy-Land made palm cross and placed it in his hand, saying “Honey, here is your key to heaven…cling to the cross and go through the door.” And, he did.
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself
I sing in grief, I sing through tears, but I sing that the Lord is GOOD. Great is thy faithfulness. How can I be anything other than overjoyed at being my father’s little girl? I celebrate him and know that my dad will live on in the personality of the boys, our “Dad-isms” and even through his grandson’s name: Augustine Lawrence.
“At the father’s death, he will seem not dead, since he leaves after him one like himself,
Whom he looks upon life with joy, and even in death, without regret.” -Sirach 30: 4
Thank you on behalf of our entire family for the many kind words, prayers, meals and hugs. With the love of so many of you, I feel it is a glimpse of heaven on earth, and especially right now… heaven is where our heart is. God bless you all.