It's been a long week. Today it will be a week since dad went into the hospital.
I was on a field trip with my youngest and missed the first few calls from mom trying to get a hold of me. When I got her message that dad was in the hospital I finished up the trip and went right over to be with her.
As I spoke with mom I had a feeling that this time around was going to be different. My dad has been in and out of the hospital most of his life and all of mine. He was in a gas explosion when my mother was pregnant with me. He fell and broke his back. Had multiple back surgeries. He had an artificial valve placed in his heart. He survived Pancreatic Cancer...yeah I know. We kids didn't even really know about the cancer until two years ago when he was in the hospital and another dr. was going over his chart and made a comment about it. I guess he had gone in for another surgery and when they opened it up they discovered it and happened to catch the cancer at just the right moment. He didn't even have chemo or anything and mom never said that the results of the tests had come back that he had had the cancer. We were just as flabbergasted as the dr. reading the report. He's come out of the hospital after everyone of those experiences and like I said, I had a feeling this time was going to be different.
Mom was ready. As ready as you can ever be I guess. As we talked in the little waiting area she said that she knew he was tired and that his body had been through so much. She's never said that before. And it felt different.
Dad graduated with honors on Friday. He was surrounded by all eight of his children (one on the phone), their spouses and many, many of his grand-children and great-grandchildren. All those who wanted to be in the room. Everyone got to say their goodbyes. It was an experience I will treasure forever. That may sound strange to some but I was honored to be with him, to sing to him, to stroke his head to be there with him when he passed on to the next life.
As we mourned his leaving us for a time I could feel such joy in that room. I know that there was a exhultant celebration there that we could not see. We could feel it but not see it.
I know that my dad is still there. Today those of our family who can go to the temple are going together. I'm excited to go. Dad was a temple worker for seven years in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. He loved being there and serving. I know he'll be there today.
Tonight is the viewing and tomorrow is the funeral. These days are going to be long and difficult but I will get through it with a wonderful husband by my side and with the help of my many family memebers and friends. We will be there to support and love and lift one another. This is why Family is so important. This is why the Family is central to God's plan. We need one another. We can't do it alone.
Thank you all so very much for your kind words in the comments. I am grateful for all the thoughts and prayers in my behalf.
Indulge me as I share one of my favorite pictures of my dad. Is there any dad cuter than this? I don't think so.