Dad woke up unable to move half his body. Mom called the paramedics and a few hours later the doctor reviewed scans, thinking maybe he suffered a stroke. No. Something worse. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the brain.
The cancer cells spread out like a nightmare virus with ventricles stretched in different directions. Inoperable. But I prayed. I prayed in faith like the Israelites marched around Jericho. I begged God for a miracle healing like when Jesus touched the blind man’s eyes with clay. God is God. He can do anything he chooses to.
One morning when it was still charcoal black outside, my brother called. “Dad had a massive heart attack and is in the ICU. They are not sure if he will make it.”
I threw on my clothes and drove thirty minutes to the hospital. I will pray him through it. God can heal him. But when I crossed the metal doorframe into his glass cubicle, the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, “Now. It’s time.”
My fiancé, Jason, joined me in dad’s room. He held my hand as I studied dad’s blank face. Did he know I was there? The accordion pumped air into his passageways and the tune felt like an unwanted death march. I leaned over close to his ear. “I know you wanted to walk me down the aisle. I wish you could too.”
I didn’t know what else to say. Don’t die? You can fight this? I put my hand on his. It felt cold. Strange. “I know your dream was to take your grandchildren to the park. But Jesus is ready for you. It’s okay. You can go. I will miss you.”
Jason leaned over. “I will love your daughter and take care of her.” We both placed hands on dad and prayed for him. We sang “Amazing Grace” and another tear rolled down his cheek. He moved his fingers. He took his last breath.
My worldly sense of security died with a click of a machine and a timed, signed certificate.
No more advice on what kind of tires to buy. No more, “Dad, can you loan me a few bucks?” No more friendly philosophical debates or disagreeing on my career choices over filet mignon at Wolfgang Puck. No more hearing, “I love you.” “You get more beautiful every day.” “You are so smart; you can do anything.”
How do I begin to live fatherless? I had to learn about God the father.