In honor of Illinois Marathon week here in central Illinois, I thought I’d do a throwback to my Facebook post from the day my Dad died…
A little after 1:00am on December 10, 2016, my Mom called to tell me my Dad was gone. She sounded tired, yet fine. I asked her if she was okay and she told me yes, that she just had this feeling of relief. Relief that my Dad was no longer suffering, relief that he was no longer under the spell of Alzheimer’s, and relief that my Dad had finally been given his reward of what he had wanted all along… to go home.
I didn’t cry. At first.
But I couldn’t go back to sleep.
So, what do you do at 1:00am when you can’t sleep?
You obviously take to Facebook.
Here was my post from that morning:
Yesterday afternoon, after months of being the strong, ever optimistic daughter, I laid across the chest of my dying father sobbing. It’s the first time throughout this journey with him that I’d ever done that… just inconsolable, full fledged bawling. Sure, I’d shed a few tears before, but nothing like this. The hospice nurse had just left and said we were down to days or hours, and it finally sunk in, seeing him laying there, that soon I’d be living a life without him in it. Soon he’d be finishing the race he had started and crossing God’s finish line. And so I cried. And I told him over and over that I loved him. That he was a great dad. That I was so sorry, sorry for what has happened to him, sorry for not being stronger, and not happy during his final moments. I told him how much I was going to miss him, but that we’d be okay. I told him I’d watch out for Mom. I stroked his silver hair and squeezed his hand, hoping he’d give me a squeeze back. But, he didn’t. Instead, I saw a single tear by his eye. Maybe it was nothing. Or maybe it was his final way of showing me just how much he loved me, too. As I left I smothered him in kisses, reminded him one final time of my love for him, told him I’d be back, but that if he had to go before I returned, to go knowing I’d be okay.
I’m not okay.
He couldn’t wait for me to come back.
And now, I’m sad.
My heart is shattered into a million little pieces.
Mad at this awful disease.
Mad at myself.
But, not with God.
He blessed me with an amazing father.
But I am furious with Satan.
His hands are all over this disease.
He’s not going to win.
My Dad did.
He lived a great life. He loved the Lord and always had his sights on heaven. And now, late last night he was given his eternal reward.
I have no doubts my Dad loved me or that he wanted every happiness in the world for me, that he’d run to the ends of the Earth for me, but my goodness I’m going to miss that fuzzy head. It only encourages me to keep running the race before me. To finish strong, so that one day, hopefully soon, we can all rejoice together. That’s what he’d want me to do.
Maybe God kept him here a little longer because He knew I needed that cry. That I needed to come to peace with the hand we’d been dealt.
Maybe. Who knows.
But for now, I’m going to hold on to our last moments together, find comfort in His love, be sad, and thankful there are no tears in heaven.
And keep running.
I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging as I was feeling a mix of emotions, sadness being the main one. I wish I could say I’m feeling better, but each day has it’s new struggles. I’m trying to help you all navigate Alzheimer’s, while I am actually trying to navigate my grief. But God is still good, is always good, and will continue to be my ultimate comforter. Thank you so much for the support.