TIME TRAVEL (The Fruit of the Spirit is . . . Love)
Do you ever experience a feeling without initially understanding the reason behind it? Well, I did this morning. I woke up early feeling sad and anxious. I pulled the covers over my head and slept for another hour (never a good idea). It didn't help.
I got up, went downstairs and grumbled at Rich who was probably relieved he needed to leave for work. I don't blame him!
Curled up in my favorite chair with coffee and toast I should have felt comphy and contented. But instead, I felt like crying. I opened my devotional and looked at the date. February 19th.
Wham! The memory of the events of that day (thirteen years ago) barreled up from somewhere in the depths of my subconscious. The nightmare of my Dad's last day at home before he died filled my mind and heart. The brain tumor he battled for over forty years finally won.
Rich and I had been caring for Dad for two years since Mom died. In early January of 2005 the tumor crossed over to the other side of his brain and the nightmare began. Bless his heart, Dad remained mentally sharp—except when overcome with pain or hallucinations. He wouldn't leave his home so the three of us did the best we could.
I won't go into detail, but that last day we called the fire department three times for personal assists. Dad would fall and be in so much pain we couldn't move him. The firemen would get Dad back in his chair and try to convince him he needed to go to the hospital. Nope. Dad wasn't going. Okay then.
Late in the afternoon Dad began hallucinating in a way I had never seen before and he finally said, "Call them, I'll go."
The firetruck and ambulance must have been waiting around the corner as they arrived in what seemed like a couple of seconds. As the paramedics gently lifted Dad onto the gurney, one of them said, "Mr. Smith, would you like something for the pain?" Dad nodded and that was the last we heard from him before he died three days later with Rich and me at his side.
Thirteen years and the memory is still clear. And you know what? I'm glad.
Life is full of hard things and wonderful moments. We can't carry all of those memories around all the time—we'd go nuts. But feelings (even hard ones) along with a bit of time travel into the memory that caused them, are often a valuable gift. The passage of time and the loving heart of God have softened the fear and pain and it was good to remember and say, "Good-bye, Dad," again.
Rich called from the safety of work to see if I was okay. "Yes," I answered, "it's February 19th." Silence for a moment then, "I remember. When I get home we'll go out for dinner and remember together."
In loving memory of Charlie Smith. November 4, 1920—February 22, 2005.