The Passing Of My FatherThis morning my father breathed his final breath and departed this world. For those of us who believe Scripture and who do not "in this life only... hope in Christ" (1 Cor. 15:19a) he is in a better place. Even the most secular minded among us can say that he no longer suffers, but the placing of his, and my own, faith in puts the outcome immeasurably better than the simple cessation of pain and struggle. His passing is one of a change of address. That which really is my father is simply no longer housed in the body that I have known for 47 years, but is with the one who made the body of Adam from dust. He is enjoying the presence of his Lord and Savior. I don't view him as "gone" but rather he has stepped away for a while but I will see him again some day. I don't say "adieu" but rather "au revoir" (though I suppose in one technical sense "adieu" fits if one takes its literal translation of "to God"... but enough of my Sheldon side for the moment).
I haven't cried, even when I returned to pick up his remaining personal items after my mom and sister had left and I kissed him goodbye. I feel sad but no tears. I kept expecting to see him breathe again, thinking that it was simply a pause of breathing caused by the morphine. When I reached a 10 count I came back to reality knowing that he indeed passed. I called my partner and talked to him. I didn't cry and he did his best to comfort me but I didn't really feel like I needed comforting. I wrote an email to my boss and told her I would be taking bereavement leave and since my family home is out of cell coverage I would not be able to work. I didn't cry.
Honestly, at the moment, I don't feel "sad". I don't feel a sense of loss. I worry about my mother and my sister, my two young nephews (one of whom I know does not fully understand what happened tonight so part of my duty now is to help him through this), but I do not cry. I know it is coming, but now is not my time. It was the same way wither Jerry when after a long battle with AIDS he ceased his struggles and passed away in my arms. I didn't cry then. I had responsibilities that precluded succumbing to emotional despondency but it did come (so do not worry about me, I know there is still some part of me that is human). Probably after I return to San Diego a time will come when I walk down to the beach and do my own impression of Demosthenes though rather than simply practice oration there will come a cry from me that will shake the foundations of the palace of Poseidon in ways it has not seen since the war with the Titans.
What will take time will be getting used to the idea that I cannot call poppa to talk about Mizzou sports or make fun of Democrats. I can't call to tell him of the little triumphs I will have or to seek his advice. When I talk to mom I will have to catch myself before I blurt out "you and dad" or "tell poppa I said 'hi'".
It's 2:43 AM and my mind is weary yet amazing in what it pulls up from its depths in times like this. Rather than try to make sense of it I will close with the following quotes (I may butcher parts so please excuse the typing and punctuation):
"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." - 1 Corinthians 15: 19 - 26
Thy name is not among the great, as some count greatness,
Neither pen nor sword have brought thee glory,
No man called thee lord, with press of lackeys fawning at they gate.
Thine was a loftier dower — a nobler fate.
And tribute shall be paid in hearts, not gold.
And of such kind we pay thee of our best.
Let Caesars take their homage as of old.
They have their pleasure,leave to God the rest.
Content thee, if through ages yet untold,
The little children rise and call thee blest.
- Alsager Hay Hill
The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can.
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
- Bilbo Baggins (JRRT)
Good night poppa.