I witness one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life today.
But before I can tell you about it, I have to tell you what led up to it.
Roughly four years ago, my father had to have esophageal surgery, but
something went wrong during the surgery and he wound up with throat damage, two
feeding tubes in his stomach and was bedridden for almost two years.
During those years, as throughout their whole marriage, my Mother never left his
side. If he was in the hospital, she would stay at his side 24 hours a
day, she would sleep in a chair and has many times since that day.
Last summer, they diagnosed my Father with bladder cancer. He also had
a slight stroke, once again, Mom was by his side as she always was. Taking
care of Dad was a tedious process and very difficult at times, but we all do it
because we love him. From feeding him through his tube to having to clean
him like a baby when he had an accident, Mom was always there for him. No
matter how tired she became from lack of sleep and from physical exhaustion you
could not get her away from his side or break her spirit.
My parents have been married for over 57 years.
For as long as I can remember, Mom and Dad have always had a good relationship,
both with themselves and with God, and have been in love with each other through
their journey through life together. Both of them are very religious and
have always been involved with their church both as church members and in
positions within the church. Faith, love, prayer, and friends have always
been important to our family, especially Mom and Dad.
My parents have touched the lives of many people in one way or another.
From taking care of 5 nieces and nephews, raising them as their own, to adopting
me and my sister and one biological child of their own, they raised us all
Over the last six months my father has become progressively worse, he is now
in the Intensive Care Unit at our local hospital. His living will said
that he does not wish to be placed on life support and also says "do not resuscitate", and it's only a matter of waiting now for him to die. The
staff at the hospital is keeping him as comfortable as humanly possible.
If he is in pain, they make sure he gets a shot of Morphine and Ativan® to ease
the pain. He had not opened his eyes for four days. He has an IV via
a pick line that is only supplying an antibiotic and a saline solution.
They attempted to get a feeding tube down his throat but he woke up and told
them he didn't want it so they stopped. He has been in so much pain for so
long now that he often talked about "going home" and seeing his Mommy and Daddy. Mom sits at the side of his bed, sings him his favorite gospel songs, reads to
him from the bible, and rubs his arms and head to comfort him when he seems to
be in pain.
This brings us to one of the most beautiful acts of compassion and one of the
most profound acts of love I have ever witnessed in my life.
After Dad had told them he didn't want the feeding tube, my wife, Harmony and
I were in the room with Mom and Dad. Dad had been sleeping and hadn't
opened his eyes since he went into hospital on November 1, 2004. While she
was sitting beside his bed with her chin down on one arm that was propped
against the bedrail, she was rubbing the contour of his face as if she was
memorizing it, Dad opened his eyes and stared directly at Mom for almost ten
minutes. He whispered to her "I love you", his eyes never losing focus of
her face. I could see in my Mother's eyes that at the moment he said that
to her, she was falling in love with him all over again, as if they were a young
couple in love. Mom and Dad would tell each other they loved each other
for the next ten minutes. We didn't make a sound the whole time they were
talking to each other.
We sat there quietly and witnessed this amazing act
of a love renewing itself in the face of death.
Since my parents are both deeply religious and both have been saved and
baptized, they are not afraid to die because they know they are going to heaven
and will be together at another time for eternity. Dad is still hanging on
but it is just a matter of days now. I love my Father and he and Harmony
grew extremely close in the year and a half that we helped take care of him
while he was bedridden. None of us want to see him go, but we don't want
to see him lying there in pain either.
We would like to thank everybody here who has been sending all those
wonderful messages, and thank those of you who also said you will be praying for