"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Waiting is Hell

I sit here each night in the hospice and watch my father breath. In, out, in, out, in, out. I watch as his feet react to some reflex deep in his subconscious being and twitch a couple of times. I watch as he on occasion will open his eyes and focus on me if I am in his line of vision. Since he is unable to move his head or body, his eyes will cut back and forth until he locates something to fixate upon. I watch, as sometimes he will move his mouth as if he wanted to tell me one more thing.

Is this the same man, my father, who taught me to ride a bicycle in the front yard? The same man who brought my first go-cart home and allowed me to totally ruin the grass in our back yard? The man whose strong arms would pick me up and toss me into the pool or the ocean? The man whose arms now are wasting away and cannot move unless someone moves them for him?

Is it the man laying in that bed the one who taught me as a child to always give a tithe back to God? The father who always waited on my brother, sister and me after Bible Study class by a wooden table outside the Sanctuary so we could sit together because that is what families did in church. This is my father who tried his best to teach me the virtues of freshly polished shoes, but I still haven’t quite caught on to that concept. The father who for many years worked six days a week to provide for our family, so that we could have food on our table, shoes on our feet and would make sure we always had all we needed…and then some. This is the father who believed in taking family vacations as long as any of us kids would go. The last vacation I had a chance to take with him and my mom was just a couple years ago and I find myself yearning for just one more trip that will now never happen.

My dad and I butted heads on more than a few occasions, but I never doubted his love for me and those occasions seem rather unimportant now. He loved my mother with a love that only God can give. He loved and supported my brother, sister and his grandchildren. And, oh my gosh, how he loved his church! From the time I was a small boy until only five weeks ago, he was constantly at his church cutting grass, changing light bulbs, fixing anything that needed to be fixed. He wanted his house of worship to be beautiful for the God he served.

Now, we all wait. The nutrition and hydration tubes are out and we sit and reflect and laugh and cry (well, I am still working on that last one). The healthcare workers at the hospice are truly God’s angels here on earth in the love and care they show not only my dad, but also my mother. They are dedicated to making sure my dad’s final days here on earth are peaceful, calm and comfortable. We have been told that most people in dad’s condition may last three or four weeks, and we are ending week two. So, without some miraculous intervention, my dad will be with His Father God in a very short time. My family and I are sad and will grieve, but I know that someday we’ll be together again. But, for now, we sit and wait and pray for an easy transition.

My mother’s verse of strength that she has shared with us over the past month is found in Nahum 1:7. “The Lord is good, a stronghold during the difficult times. He knows those who take refuge in Him.” I’m trying. I’m really trying to find that refuge and stay there.

My family and I appreciate your prayers and thoughts for my Dad. God’s Will is taking place and He alone is giving us the ‘peace that passes all understanding”. I know that the person lying in front of me is only the personification of my father. My dad is alive in my heart and in everything I do and say. And, as for me, I’m heading out tomorrow to buy some shoe polish.

And for today my friends, with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jimmy ! I am Hospice Nurse. I work Triage / Oncall @ Hospice of Louisville here in Kentucky. It has been a slow night (knock on wood). Your BLOGG is a breath of fresh air. When I hear people like you I know why I have done Hospice work for the past 18 years. LOVE & PEACE Bradley Frames R.N.

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Jimmy my heart aches for you. Oh how I wish we never had to experience losing our loved ones.
I am so thankful that you have a personal relationship with the Lord. He will see you through this sad time.
When My mrother went, I was devastated, even though I knew long before it happened that she was leaving us. Now I realize that she never really left us but only stepped out of her tired and worn body into a the arms of our Lord, who is always with us.
Yes, we will be together again and we will never again have to say good-by.
God bless and strengthen you and yours and

At 11:29 PM, Blogger ramblingmuse said...

God bless you and your family, Jimmy. Thank you for sharing this with us. Words can't express what I'm feeling, but know that you are in my heart and in my prayers!

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Adam J. said...

I'm praying for you.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iknow how you feel. My sisters and I went through only a week of waiting for my mother to go. It was too long and not long enough at the same time.I haven't known Bo as long as you but I could tell he was a great father and devoted Christian. He and your mother have been a wonderful force in our church and he will be greatly missed.
Love & Prayers Frances Q.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Paul said...


My prayers continue for your family and you.

What great memories to have of your father.

Your brother and fellow-servant,


At 3:19 PM, Blogger Suzii said...

I can see the miracle of what our spirits are through the death of our loved ones. A piece of our souls stay forever in the footprints of our hearts... theirs in ours, and ours in theirs. My mama has been gone now for six years. I still have a powerful sadness sometimes when I think of her not being here. The most wonderful thing about it though, is when I think of her being with Jesus, waiting for me on the other side! The joy that takes over the sadness is beyond human measure! We will see those we love again, even though it seems to take a piece of who we are when they go, we will see them again!

Father in heaven, wrap your arms around Jimmy and his family. Bring them peace, and comfort to their souls. Amen.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Jot said...

My brother, there are no words, so I won't waste your time with too many of mine. Just remember that God has everything in hand - and where your Dad is going is where you will someday find him, once your work here is complete. To finally go home. So joyous for the one who gets to rest at the foot of the Throne - so painful for those who are left behind. You and yours are in my prayers.

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Friends, words cannot explain how much your thoughts and prayers of support mean to me and my family. Dad is in his last days now and I am learning the true meaning of the Psalm "My strength comes from the Lord".

I thank God for each of you.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Wish I'd left this note much sooner, but your post brought tears to my eyes. The feelings you shared were so much like what I felt when my father lay dying...and then my mother shortly after. Thank God for Hospice and their compassion. Bless you, Jimmy. This has been a difficult summer for you.


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