I have found that, when I go in to sit with him and talk, there really isn’t much to say, other than, “I love you, Daddy.”
He smiled today, and told me, “That’s because we’ve already said everything we need to say to one another.”
I suppose we have.
Who knew that I could ever run out of words?
I told him today that I felt like it was hard to be his Sunshine, when I couldn’t really talk, for lack of something to say. He just smiled and told me it was okay. I cried.
So, since there’s not much to say, I just sit and rub his head, or hold his hand, or lean my head on his bed and snooze while he sleeps. Sometimes, I just sit and watch him sleep, my Kindle idle in my hands, my eyes streaming quiet tears.
One day, he awoke to catch me crying. He mustered a smirk and told me, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
I laughed. And so did he.
He loves just listening to people talk in his presence. He loves being touched, even if it wakes him. He told me today that, even if it seems like he’s unresponsive, and even when he can’t really hear, he is listening.
He told me a story today about his grandmother, when she was dying of cancer. She had always laughed heartily at her daughters, my Mamaw Judy and her sister, Sue. So, when they were with her, they tried to make her laugh, but she wasn’t very responsive. Mamaw Judy said, “Guess we’re not funny to you any more, Mom?”
Nanny smiled and told her, “Oh, I’m laughing, honey.”
They just couldn’t see it on the surface.
And Dad said that goes for him, too. That even though he doesn’t seem present sometimes, he really is.
He told me again, too, that he’s not losing his battle with cancer. He’s not battling it at all. He’s dying of it. “My death is not unusual,” he told me. “Tiff, I’m dying just like everyone else is going to die. There’s nothing special about this. Whether it’s 52 or 72, we all come to this door eventually. And I’m ready.”
It reminded me of something I’ve been really thinking about this week. So many have told me they think I’m “amazing” or “so strong,” or something to that effect. I love the encouragement, but I have settled something in my mind.
I am not amazing. Or strong. Or anything else special. I never have been
I am only doing my duty as a daughter.
I am only obeying the Word of God when it admonishes children to care for the widows (those in need) in their own family. I am no better than anyone else. There is nothing heroic in my efforts. They are what I owe to my father, to my mother, and ultimately — to God Himself.
I am privileged to be here. I cannot claim any credit for simple obedience. I would be remiss if I did anything less. I only wish I could do more than I am.
He stares off into space sometimes, and seems to lose connection with this world for awhile. Mom says she’s seen him laugh at nothing, looking at something that she can’t see. Especially at night. The hospice literature says it may be that people who are dying are seeing “the other side,” loved ones who have gone before. Mom firmly believes that he is receiving comfort from God’s ministering angels. I agree.
I’ve seen him do it a couple of times myself, in the last few days. It’s weird, but not surprising. Such serenity is in his face in those moments.
I told him today that I’m ready to let him go, as much as he is ready. He is so ready, and prays daily:
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Please keep me safe throughout the night,
And wake me in your Heavenly Light.”
Grace & Peace,