We knew time was limited…
But we thought we had more.
So many of you commented on how surprised you were in the timing of my Dad’s death.
We were also!
I can’t help but replay the events as they unfolded two weeks ago tonight. It caught us all off guard and yet we see God’s hand. As my Dad so faithfully said and so solidly believed, “one day at a time is how we will live, while we also know that our days are in God’s hands.”
It is true that my Dad was diagnosed with a life-ending diagnosis on April 5, 2018. At that time we knew he had a neuroendocrine tumor and that over time it would continue to progress and his abilities would diminish.
Neuroendocrine Carcinomas. Neuroendocrine tumors are rare, accounting for less than one percent of all malignant disorders in the United States. It is estimated that fewer than 2,000 new cases occur in the United States each year.
My parents chose to live life to the fullest without treatment (another blog, another day) and I will say they were living well, even in the unknown and difficult spaces that were very real. My Dad continued to golf, even if the quality of his golf game was affected, he continued to attend the meetings he had the energy for, and he continued to engage all of our family events in his own Papa way. My Mom became my Dad’s chauffeur since he could no longer drive due to a seizure he suffered. My Dad was counting down the 6 months and fully intended to drive again.
He also fully intended to meet his first great grandbaby due at the end of September 2018. My Dad knew his days were numbered, but he did not stop living. He lived at peace with God’s timing and still fully engaged all he longed for until the time God called him home.
The Friday before he died, my folks were told the same consistent message, things will continue to progress but there was no reason to believe that life would be ending soon. And with that, we all took a deep sigh and continued with the commitment to live one day at a time.
And then Sunday morning my Dad woke up, sent some emails, planned to go to Worship and during breakfast with my Mom had a sudden onset of severe pain. It was clear something wasn’t right and they sought medical treatment. In the Emergency room, we learned he had a gastric ulcer which perforated the stomach lining. Due to his current medical condition, he was not a surgical candidate. It was evident in this conversation that although we had believed we could have months with my Dad with us, this new situation would limit us to weeks. My Dad and Mom opted to have him admitted overnight for pain control, and then we would transition to Hospice at home. He asked us to go home and get his computer, after all, if he was going to be in-patient, he had some things he wanted to get done.
And then within a few hours again, it was clear that my Dad was being released from all that held him here and we would be saying our final goodbye until we see him again. Almost the whole crew made it home to gather and although my Dad was unresponsive our time together was filled with tears, goodness, and love.
We knew our time was limited, but we thought we had more time.
We all wanted more time, just a little, just another month, another week, another day, another hour…
But in the end, we have peace, even in our sorrow, because we know and embrace the same God and the same faith. May we never lose sight that every day holds much more than just our sadness, for we know that God is still on his throne and the birds will sing in the morning.
And now to end with some words my Dad shared in the last few days of his life, just prior to his unexpected death. May we all live in this confidence and truth: “but we wanted you all to know that we are grateful for each day, and rest in the assurance that all of our days are in God’s hands. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”