My daddy was a loving, fun, incredible man! He worked as a machinest, getting up as early as 4 a.m. to get to work and earn a living for his family. I love my daddy more than you could ever measure. My mother was a loving parent as well, and of course, all children love their mothers! Just noting there was a special connection between my daddy and me. I was adopted 4 days after my birth to these parents. They chose me. I will never forget the card my mother saved in my baby book that cutely stated “I wasn’t expected, I was selected!”. They never hid their immense love for God bringing me into their arms. My daddy had a tough time at first pronouncing my name. Laurel. He’d say it over and over again trying to get it right.
Over the years, I’d hold onto precious memories like the scent of fresh-cut grass that my daddy would mow in the early mornings. I’d wake up to the sound of the mower and the fresh smell would drift in. I remember my daddy playing the organ for our tiny church, and later in the orchestra for the larger church that absorbed the little one. I love how musical my daddy was. I have a deeply rooted love for music because of him. While he was a kind and loving man, he was not a very patient man. He wasn’t prone to handling conflict much, either. He left much of the discipline to my mother, bless her heart.
My daddy and I would wait minute upon minute for my mother to finally come out to the car! Did your family ever go through this? When I was a child, I never understood, but later, when I had children of my own I finally figured out what my mother was doing in the house so long after we announced we were ready to leave! He’d grumble and exclaim to anyone within ear-shot, “What is she DOING in there??” and sigh loudly. He’d ask me to go find out what my mother was doing and tell her to come ON! Now I know she was turning off lights, using the bathroom, feeding/watering the pets, and grabbing whatever was needed that we, as the irresponsible, impatient types my daddy and I were, didn’t think about. I have inherited his impatience.
All the above to say that he was a normal man with a huge heart, love for his daughter, and very loyal to his friends and family. He became terminally ill when I was 15. I say it was terminal, but knowing what we know today about cancers, I’ll bet you he’d be alive today had key medical events took place! He died when I was 16. The worst time to lose a father is ALWAYS. But to be a hormonal teenage young woman was particularly destructive. I went wild for lack of better description.
Years would pass and I’d regret every moment I didn’t spend with him at the hospital. I’d go through men like water. I would never complete a blessed thing I started and always end up uncomfortable and unsatisfied. I grew up in the church but I would go through severe periods of doubt, disgust, and anger with God. I took some college courses and outright decided that God was not possible. That it was a made-up fantasy as all myths and religions are, to explain why we have such a higher conscious and intelligence, and why on earth we are born, live, and die. Until…
My mother tells the story best. She was there. She witnessed it firsthand. Alongside a pastor from the church, they sat together at my daddy’s hospital bedside. He was drifting in and out of consciousness at this point, mere hours away from his last breath. Yes, I admit he was medicated. I admit he was suffering and dying from cancer and all that entails. But, to know my daddy as *I* knew my daddy, was to know he was NOT prone to visions. He was NOT a frivolous man. He did not buy into mysticism. He did not claim to see ghosts or angels or aliens. He was grounded. Solidly. In reality. He didn’t sugar-coat or try to make you feel better. But…
As my mother and the pastor of the church sat quietly conversing by his bedside, he speaks to my mother, “Honey! … Pat… Do you see it?!” My mother looks up and asks, obviously, “What, Les?” He begins to become irritated. Annoyed with her. “The party. Don’t you see it?? There’s daddy, and my sister…” He goes on to name several other relatives and friends who have died. He never, not ONCE, named a single living person. My mother says the hairs on her arms and neck stood straight up. She turned to the pastor and quietly whispered, “Do you think he’s really seeing something?” And the pastor very assuredly answered, “Oh yes, I have no doubt.”
My daddy saw heaven before he passed away. He was welcomed to a large party! Full of his family that had passed. And I have believed in God and His heaven ever since! Now, did that change me into a saint? No, I’m still the same sinner I’ve always been. I wish desperately that I could resolve some issues I have with God and prayer and his master plan for us. How He is full of such mercy and such power yet we suffer in this sin-filled life created by Him and destroyed by our free will. So many questions. So many issues. Yet, I cannot stop my belief. Not after what my daddy saw. And I promise you all reading this right now. I will see my daddy again. I have told my mother that, to be honest, if it’s not too disrespectful and awful to say to my Creator God, I’d much prefer to run straight into the arms of my daddy when I die. I want him first. Then I’ll hug and worship my God who allowed me to see my daddy once again. Eternity awaits us all. How will you spend yours?