June 10th (Friday) at 2:25 am, my father passed on. He was three days shy of his 92nd birthday. I was with him those last few days, and thanks be to God, it was a peaceful ending. The blog below was written in October 2010, soon after he was moved into assisted living. Today, I’m so grateful that I was enabled to glimpse his inherent, God-given innocence. Because of that, I was able to comfort him at the end, and tell him that I loved him, and that I forgave him, and that he could go in peace. Two days before he passed, he told me that his parents had come to talk with him, and prepare him for his new life. I found that immensely comforting.
I’ve made a few poor choices in this life, but I’m thankful to see that now - in retrospect - I can lay my head on my pillow at night with no regrets as to the way I handled my father’s last years, weeks, and even days.
To God be the glory.
In June 2010, my 91-year-old father moved into assisted living. It’s been a flurry of activity, closing up his house, moving him to a new place, getting things settled, and dealing with the 101 details of his life. As his POA, the details seem to be endless.
Making all this ever more difficult is the fact that my father made many poor choices in life, such as walking out on his family in 1974. Suffice it to say, “Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves” was one of the most important books I ever read.
In 2001, after my father’s second wife died, my father reentered my life bit by bit. He was 82 years old.
Now he’s 91, and old and frail and needs a lot of help on a lot of fronts. Sometimes, despite my daily prayers and best efforts and dogged determination, there are days when I still feel angry with him.
When we were cleaning out his house, we found a baby book - his baby book - from 1919. I’d expected to find a few loose photos stuck within its brittled pages. Instead, I found an incredibly detailed record of a little boy’s life from June 1919 to sometime in 1926. The “baby book” was filled with vintage photos and detailed information and stories and even a locket of baby’s hair, safely ensconced in a tiny envelope with a delicate blue ribbon.
Looking at the handwritten notes, I saw my father in a new light. More than 90 years ago, he was someone’s beloved baby boy. This cute little baby, smiling back at me from the faded-pages of an antique book, warmed my heart and softened the wrath I’d felt.
I’ve heard it said that the kindest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to his children. It occurs to me that - in addition to the divine command - perhaps the kindest thing I can do for my paternal grandparents is to be kind to their youngest son, their beloved little boy, Thomas.
* * *