He has led a good life. He has four kids and seven grandkids. He has never missed a birthday, holiday or graduation without sending a tear-jerking Hallmark card that conveyed how he really felt about you; what his words could not express.
He was a bit gruff but that has worn off over the years. Having worked as a union laborer his whole life in construction, he is calloused, wrinkled and still smokes like a chimney.
But he loved well. He went to as many little league games as he possibly could, never giving thought to the 2,000 miles that separated him from his family.
The man I am speaking of is my father-in-law and as I write this, he is dying of lung and brain cancer. His four kids are splitting their time caring for him in his home as his body slowly says goodbye to life. Soon hospice will come in and make him as comfortable as possible in his last days. But for now, my husband, with the help of his siblings, are bathing him, changing him, feeding him and trying to stay positive.
I’ve never been through anything like this. It’s weird because, as a mom, every time I have taken care of someone it has been to make them better or to help them rehabilitate. In this case, I find myself acting as if he will be getting better and I serve him accordingly. But the reality has hit me like a ton of bricks. There is no rehabilitation in this case. Our efforts, while gallant and appreciative, will not keep the imposing death from coming. This will be our last Thanksgiving, our last Christmas with him. And that is heartbreaking.
I have seen a side to my husband that I have never seen before. As a business man, he is successful. He is a good provider for our family and he is generous with spending so that we can all be together as much as possible. We are a tight group of six that are fiercely loyal to each other and each other’s number one fan.
My husband, has put his job on hold to answer, not an obligation, but a calling to love and take care of his dad until the end. I so admire that. I see the Holy Spirit working in him to make him more patient, kind and humble. Who, but God, could know, that in the sadness, my husband would rise up in supernatural strength, organization and compassion to serve the man who raised him. It is a beautiful picture of sacrifice and love and I am blown away by the awe-ness of it all.
In a couple of days, my kids and I leave to go join him in his fight to make his dad’s last days the best they can be. It will be hard. I will busy myself to stay unemotional so that I can be alert and ready to do what is needed to be done. I am kind of a Martha that way….calm in crisis, solution finder.
Please pray that in these last few days, weeks, months, that my father-in-law will accept Jesus. While his comfort and needs are so important, eternal life is the desire of my heart for him and I can’t imagine my family never seeing him again.
Pray that his heart is softened to believe that God’s grace is a free gift and that life is not about being a good person or working hard. Although those things are important, the truth is, we just can’t earn our way into a good place when we die and that is what he currently believes.
Thank you readers for coming along side of me during this time. I promise, next week I will get back to my series on Sex and Intimacy in Marriage with some very “touchy” topics that I think you’ll find interesting.
I look forward to your comments and if you would, please share the series with you’re adult, married friends by using the share buttons below. Or simply, send them the link to this page so they don’t have to miss a single Sex and Intimacy in Marriage post!