For many of you that follow me you know 3 years ago today after 18 months of a hard battle with cancer my Daddy finally went home to be with his Creator. What many of you do not know is from the beginning of this journey I asked God to allow me to be there when he took his final breath here on earth but I followed it with, if I can’t handle this I ask you to protect me from it. God honored my request and I was with him and my mom the last week of his life. I watched as my mom cared for Dad in such a tender way. I watched as she loved him with an unconditional love that I have never personally witnessed.
On the morning of January 18, 2009 my request was granted. As I entered the room where mom slept beside of Dad I knelt at his bed to give him the medicine hospice had given us to ease his pain. I saw mom stir and sit up and I told her to go back to sleep I could handle it. As I had done for days previous I watched as his chest slowly rose and fell. After I made sure he was breathing I gave him the medicine given to us by hospice to ease the pain in his final stages. We had been taught to keep his head raised about 5 minutes as we gave the medicine to make sure it would absorb since he could no longer swallow. As I knelt beside the bed with his head cradled in my hand I gently rested my head on his bed to wait for the minutes to pass. When I raised my head 5 minutes later, out of habit I looked at his chest. Before I could alert mom she sat up and looked at me. With short, shallow breathes I told her I didn’t think he was breathing. After calling his name and trying to rouse him she told me he was gone. My wish had been honored, I had the honor of being with Daddy as he took his last breath just as I had asked. With a calm I had never known Mom got up to notify hospice and call my brothers. She reached for me to come with her but with tears streaming I told her I had to stay. Until hospice arrived I had to stay, I had to know without a doubt he was no longer here. I’m not sure how long passed, it may have been 20 or 30 minutes but I sat with Daddy until the sweet lady from hospice arrived and assured me he finally was at peace.
Jumping backs weeks before that I knew the time was drawing nearer and I decided to do a slideshow of Daddy’s life. After making it and watching it I realized something was missing but I didn’t know how to fix it. We had a video of Dad & Mom’s surprise anniversary and not only did it show Daddy alive and healthy, it had his voice. It had his gestures and his laugh, it had every part of Daddy that I knew I wanted to forever remember. It wasn’t a professional video but to me it was worth more than life itself. So I took it to my friends Jennifer & Tim with In Motion and had them add it in. After Daddy passed we had it playing at his wake but until this past week I couldn’t bring the strength to watch it again. But I knew one day, although it hurt it would also bring comfort. So now that I can feel the comfort I want to share it with all of you. Daddy may no longer physically be here but after rewatching the video, I’m reminded how much of him is still here. There was one image that reminded me so much of my middle brother John, then I saw one that reminded me of my youngest son Seth, then I saw my oldest brother Jeff speaking and was reminded so much of Daddy in his gestures as he talked.
So take a minute and remember my Daddy with me or if you’ve never met him, meet the guy he has been my hero and biggest cheerleader since my first breathe!!! I love you Daddy more than I could ever express…. your little paparazzi