On the day of Jan. 23, my father lay in a hospital bed, and I stood by it a great deal of the time. Johnny Carroll and Gene Clark, both friends of his, came to visit Daddy that day and they prayed with us for him. The nurse from Big Bend Hospice had been there earlier that day and checked his pulse and his breathing and they were strong at the time. He’d had a rough night and another Hospice nurse had to come and check on him.
Daddy slept the whole time. I knew deep inside that he didn’t have much longer with us. The doctor had told us the day before that he was in the end stages of leukemia and may have a few weeks left with us. He had set up an appointment for us to carry Daddy back to his office in Tallahassee that Friday for a blood transfusion. The nurse the night before had told me that Daddy could go at any time and we always needed to be with him.
As I stood by his bed, and he slept, I prayed for him and I told him that I loved him more than he would ever know but if he needed to go, I understood. I saw him smile that smile that had won the hearts of his nurses at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
A few hours later, I was still standing by his bed. I noticed that his breathing was even shallower that it had been before. I called Big Bend Hospice and they sent another nurse. It didn’t take her long to get there but when she did, she looked for a pulse and listened for the sound of his heart. She looked at me and said, “He’s gone.”
I tried to call and tell my sister Debbie but couldn’t get her. I called my pastor and my Aunt Kathy and my Aunt Lucretia called me. I asked her to call my Aunt Nina. Within minutes, people began arriving at the house showing their love for me, Danny and Abbie and offering whatever kind of help they could give.
That day was tragic, it only only two days after his birthday. His birthday had been when he was told he had chronic myologenous leukemia. I didn’t know; he never really complained until the Friday before he had died and we took him to the E-R then.
While the day was tragic for me and my family, there is also hope in it. God had not allowed Daddy to suffer for long and when his race on Earth was through, he was ushered into the presence of Jesus. That is the glorious day that we all look for.
This Sunday, I will not get to see my daddy on Father’s Day but while he was a great earthly father, he is celebrating in Heaven with the Greatest Father of them all. In my mind, I can see the smile Daddy has on his face now.