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?