The Waiting Room

Yesterday I shared my reflections of growing up as the daughter of a neighborhood Pharmacist. Today I’ll share my reflections of letting go. This story was published in a book titled, Letters From The Waiting Room–by Lewis Seifert, in an effort of helping others as they wait for an answer.

My Mom was the first to notice that my Dad was acting strange.  He would take his dinner dishes into the bathroom sink.  He would miss turns as he drove to the church they had attended together for years.  Yes, he was still driving at the time.

My Mom was afraid.

She asked me to go with her to The Mayo Clinic for a complete evaluation of his health.  It was a 3 hour trip that required us to stay overnight.  We arrived to his first appointment only to wait.  The room was full of others who were also waiting for the same thing – to be seen and diagnosed.

My Mom was reading a magazine, I was writing in my journal, and my Dad was just sitting as we waited to hear his name called.

It was in that moment that I heard a still, small voice whisper to me, “I’m about to call your Dad’s name and this time you won’t be able to come with him.”

Surprisingly, this thought didn’t frighten me, but it brought comfort and peace.   I realized that there was another who was carefully watching over my Dad’s soul, and I could trust Him.

After two more weeks of appointments and tests, an MRI of his brain was scheduled.  I’ll never forget that day; the nurse escorted him out to the waiting room and said, “The doctor wants to see him right away in his office.  All other tests have been canceled for today.”

The walk to his office was slow and evenly paced, for that was how my Dad walked since he fell ill.  I wanted to run and scream and fight back, but we walked slow and steady holding back tears and the dreaded truth.

The doctor confirmed what we had suspected, “Your Dad has a brain tumor that is malignant and inoperable!”

My Dad didn’t understand.  He only wanted to know if he could play golf, to which the doctor kindly responded, “You can do whatever you feel up to doing, Mr. Gray.”

My Dad was the only happy one in the office, and quickly replied, “Doc, that’s the best news I’ve heard all day.”  He didn’t have the ability to realize his dour diagnosis, and we realized what a kindness this was for him.

Eight weeks later my Dad was completely bed-ridden and unable to talk.  He never played golf again.  As the Hospice nurse cared for him she informed us that his death was imminent.  I stood by his bed offering him drops of water on a tiny sponge while I cried.  This was the moment God had told me was coming.  He was about to open the door of Heaven and call my Dad’s name, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go with him.  I was sad in knowing that I was sitting with my Dad for the final time in this life, but I was rejoicing in the fact that I was about to be as near to Heaven as I had ever been.  Eternity, I realized, was only a closed door away from me.

How grateful I was that my Dad had walked with me down the aisle of our church when I was 10 years old as I responded to the Gospel.  He had walked me to My Savior then, and now it was my turn to walk him to His Savior forever. What a privilege, yet one filled with sadness and grief.

I was especially grateful for the way Tom cared for me during these two months. He often had no words to say, but his arms were always there to hold me in my grief. He was a strong support and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to do to help my parents. It may sound strange, but our marriage grew stronger during this time. I discovered how strong our love had become when we were tested with such a difficult situation. God was faithful to us, and I am forever grateful.

How has your spouse helped you when you’ve faced difficulty? Has it brought you closer together? 

About Debi Walter

Face it, marriage is hard work. But when cultivated daily the fruit produced will satisfy for a lifetime. We're here to help with ideas and encouragement along the way. Having been married 36 years and counting, we share what we've learned with practical tips, Biblical Truths, Date night ideas to help you plow your own vineyard for God's glory.
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3 Responses to The Waiting Room

  1. Stephanie says:

    OK so as I read your post today I just relived my grandfathers death from May last year. He too had inoperable brain cancer! I cried all over again as I recalled those last moments with him as he took his last breath! We didn’t know for sure if he was a christian but we had told him the truth several times over his life and hope that he did indeed accept Jesus as his savior! He was one of the few remaining WW II Marine Vets left so expressing any kind of weakness was not his cup of tea but I hope he did indeed except Jesus as his Lord!!! He was truly a great man and was strong till the end!! Thanks for your story even though it brought tears!!!!

  2. What a beautiful story from the heart! I recently lost my good friend Ron, as you may know Debi… my wife lifted me up daily while we were walking through that. She encouraged me to go see him in his last weeks, to pray for him, to talk with, and to sing worship songs with him. In short, Tiffani kept me from descending into being totally overwhelmed with grief. She reminded me where Ron was headed, and that brought me great joy. Ron was completely sold out to Jesus, and even HE encouraged me during some of our worship times together. But my wife never let me wallow in sadness. I’m thankful to her for that. Even now if she catches me getting all melancholy, she reminds me that Ron is laughing and DANCING in his brand new, pain-free body, in the very presence of Christ… and that he would be disappointed in me if he knew I was sad for him. I have to admit… she’s right. I KNOW Ron would want me to rejoice with him!

  3. Sharon O says:

    I read this with a knowing… that we will pass this road soon as my dad’s leukemia spreads and his body weakens. I pray that God will give us all the strength to go through this ‘season’…with him. Praying also that he agrees to allow hospice to come in and care for him.
    Your story is beautiful.

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