Monday, May 9, 2011

My Dad Met Jesus on Palm Sunday

I had the unusual honor of preaching my Dad's funeral on April 20, 2011. My father was 84 years old.

Dad had a knee replacement the Friday before, and never really recovered from the anesthetic. Over the last year, or so, he had developed a tumor between the bones in his knee joint and it had to come out. Instead of cutting into the tumor, the doctors decided it was just as good to replace the entire joint and avoid opening an encapsulated cancer.

On his last Friday morning, he began to have difficulty breathing, followed by a blood pressure crash, then a heart attack. Because I am so far away, my brother handled the hospital and they decided to chopper him to a very special, Cardiac Intervention Center at East Carolina Medical Center.

They should have let him slip away. What followed was two, plus days of life support systems and a clear path away from life.

It became necessary to direct the doctors to remove life support in stages, to avoid any unnecessary suffering. First we removed the many drugs - 12 IV's running at once. Next came the pressers and then the respirator.

I sat with him, on and off for two days and held his hand, sometimes reading him Scriptures, sometimes talking, sometimes just holding his hand.

When the end came, it was merciful, sweet and gentle. God blessed us in that regard and in so many others, through the weekend.

Their pastor was fairly new to their church and I would not allow a stranger to bury my dad. My father loved to sing hymns and celebrate life with his family. In his honor, we held a marvelous Celebration of Life, that began with a 30 minute hymn sing so that the congregation would understood the joy we felt knowing that my dad met Jesus.

Just before I took the pulpit, my oldest brother's, youngest son asked me if I would baptize him before he returned home. It was such a sweet and appropriate request, I asked if he minded being baptized at the end of his grandfather's service.

He was overjoyed and all those who came to say goodbye to my dad, stayed to celebrate the miracle of rebirth, with us. It was... unique. Even the funeral home staff commented on how beautiful it was to intertwine new birth with a funeral. I'm not sure how many other pastors would try it but it was right for us.

We had no body to bury. Dad donated his remains to the ECU Medical School to study the effects of polio, over 74 years. He one of the older surviving polio survivors, in America. In about 18 months mom will get his ashes and we will go from there.

If you are still reading, thanks. I wanted to share our joy and sorrow, in such a way that you might feel encouraged.

He is not there...

He has risen, just as He said...

and that, beloved, makes all the difference.

Peace be the Journey

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free Blog Counter
Poker Blog