Last week when my mom and I were discussing the progression of my father's lung disease, we were trying to find the right words to put into perspective the pace it is changing. For nearly two years, he has been chronically ill with fibrosis of the lungs due to environmental exposures from his occupation. We have watched the slow progression over the years from just being a little extra winded, to needing full blown oxygen 24/7. Over the past few weeks it is as though the rate of decline has sped up. This is certainly the last thing that we want. But, in November of 2011, we had doctors telling us he would not see Christmas that year. He has certainly beat the odds.
My prayer in 2011 was for God to keep him comfortable and for us to have enough time with him that everything everyone needed to say to him could be done. I asked for a little more time so that my children would have an opportunity to etch memories in their minds they can carry as they get older.
The reality of losing his beloved Ghe Ghe has been especially challenging for my youngest, Conner. It's as though his soul was marked with a connection to my dad from the time we gave him his middle name, Charles. There has been a bond tighter than fabric between those two. I am grateful for the past two years for Conner to hear all of the old hunting and fishing stories. Matthew has enjoyed just sitting and listening to daddy talk on.
Watching someone die right before you a little each day is very hard to put into perspective. All we can do is pray for God to keep him comfortable and when He decides it's time to welcome him into His kingdom, that he goes peacefully.
My mom was the one to finally make sense of how we all feel about the increase in progression of his disease She said, "It's kind of like watching your kids grow. You know they are growing and getting bigger, but it is ever so slight and subtle changes over time. So you don't necessarily see it each day. But, when you don't see your nieces or nephews for weeks or maybe months, you can visibly see and process the growth."
I am thankful to God for keeping me grounded and giving me the time to grow and mature in understanding the process of life and illness. I only pray he gives me the courage and strength to endure the next stop in that journey. The finality of death and grief. It may not be today, tomorrow, next week, or next month......but there will come an end eventually. Then, because of the lessons my little boy, Matthew, has taught me, I know that he will finally be at home. He will be surrounded with the kind of beauty and glory that is unlike anything we physically feel on earth.
I love you daddy!