It’s a new year now
So much has changed this past year
Dealt with painful loss
The reality of life
Dark clouds over me
The impact was real
The hardest of years by far
I was not myself
The future is now
Finding long lost friends to love
The healing started
I hope it maintains
It has given me power
And hope to go on
I spent a lot of time there as a child. My dad was the custodian there for a while and always had me around reading, playing games, or participating in library activities. Then in high school, I worked there as a Page in the Children’s Room. I did that through my first year in college and maybe to my second. Did I mention I met my wife there? The place had a special connection for me. Many of those people watched me grow up. Then I worked with them. Many came to my wedding. So time has past. Haven’t been there in years. The county rebuilt it and the grand opening was a short while ago. We visited it this morning. Nostalgic. Memories. It’s beautiful. Brings back so many memories. And Rhian played on the children’s room computer, just as I did 31 years ago, and as other kids I helped there 20 years ago.
Practice pausing from being busy to take a request from your child or spouse. The short times are few over the span of your life. Don’t miss out on 60 seconds that might make you smile and become a memory.
My mom noticed these two photos of my dad were very similar. In one, he is holding me when I am four years old. The other, he is holding Rhian between 12 and 18 months old. Similar position and gaze, thirty years apart. Love you Craven. Miss you Craven.
The phone rings. The nurse says your dad says he’s ready. He’s on the phone with your mom right now. I call mom. John, he’s ready. We scramble to get there. On my way to get mom, the nurse calls. He says he wants a hot coffee and ice cream. Dad loved some coffee and ice cream. We arrive at the hospital. I call his best friend and they talk. I call his sisters and they talk. We take turns saying our goodbyes. Mom, her friend Cathy, my mother in law, Gina, Rhian, and finally, me. Smiles, laughs, and tears. We do a final assessment with the doctor. Dad turns to me. I’m ready John. I let the nurse know. The IVs are disconnected. The oxygen is removed. He says a love you. We hold hands. His breathing diminishes. His pulse reduces and at 21:41, he’s at peace in Heaven. Love you dad. May you be restored and enjoy the other side with the Lord.
Woke up with hope this morning. Dad was going to have his surgery. I arrived to pick up my mom and she was in tears. The hospital had called and said the surgery was cancelled. Oxygen levels are too low. A quick conversation with the doctor. Advises me to be my dad’s biggest cheerleader. We visit with him. Sit with him all day. Showing love, support, and compassion. We are told he will move to ICU soon. The lung specialist gives us the new plan. A plan that includes worst case scenarios. He asks what my dad’s wishes are. Advises us there is still hope but we are low on solutions and time. Fortunately, his other major organs are healthy. Then I speak with my dad. We discuss the options and what he wants. He tells me he will keep fighting and he only wants to be on a ventilator for two days if it comes to that. He says he doesn’t think he’s getting better. I tell him I love him. He tells me the same. We pray together. The sun will rise tomorrow. We shall see what the day brings.
The month is bittersweet for me. Layoffs of myself and friends, weather cancelled plans, illness, hospitalizations, and deaths are what come to my mind when I think of the first month of the year. Depressing thoughts as it’s my birth month and I ponder another year of growing older and whether my life has peaked and how much longer I have on the face of the earth. As depressing as it is, it shall pass and soon, February will be here.