I wrote this a few yhears ago, when my Dad died.
My Dad’s life Journey has taken on a new Reality. He has now entered into a ‘place’ beyond space and time as we know it, passed into eternity last Wednesday just after 2:00 pm, with Mom holding him, my sisters Beth and Muriel gathered ’round – and Bill, Muriel’s husband, singing the words and echoing the sentiments of one of Dad’s favorite hymns of God’s Presence, love and keeping power, playing quietly on a cassette recorder at bedside.
I got there about 10 minutes later but I had said my good-bye(s) so many times in recent weeks. But still, I wasn't there.
The next day I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
It’s been an awesome week – with all of the details one can imagine, and family preparation, gathering, vigil and remembrance, and greeting hundreds who waited patiently for almost two hours in long lines at the visitation at Smith’s, Sunday afternoon and evening. And then the farewell from Dad’s church and the long car-line, police-escorted trip to Greenwood Cemetery to lay his body to rest, to await the Great Day.
I had no sense of leaving Dad in the cold earth, as we were driven by funeral coach back to the church to a reception of friends and family; for indeed he is not there – only his now soul-less body ‘thumbprint,’ as it were, the remains of his day, but of one who’s real existence continues elsewhere, perhaps not that far away, in the greater Beyond.
And the Hope of seeing again is firm within me, not born merely of credal word or magical thinking but imparted somehow as a firm, strangely settled Peace, sprung from a faith that is sheer gift (’cause I don’t think I could manufacture it, given the circumstances). I say this, not in any way to boast, but simply to give thanks – for God’s sustaining power for me, for all of us.
I say thanks, too, for the privilege of living all these years with a father who by God’s grace was a truly good man.