Gone Before Death

I will never forget the day that I lost my father. His demeanor hadcompletely changed along with his tone and attitude. He began becoming deceptive to my brother and I. The pain from his neck surgery just a week prior to that was the source. The source of it could actually be the work related injury that required the surgery.

I finished working at the baptist camp, where I happened to spend what seemed to be my entire summer. There was joy when I came home occasionally, my father wouldn’t let me do any chores at my house. If I tried to take out the trash, my dad would call out for my younger brother to do it. There was even a time they baked me a cake. A CAKE! Oh, this fat boy was H-A-P-P-Y!

He would often tell me how proud of me that he was. One of my first big paycheck he and I went purchase a guitar. He just beamed with pride over me. I wasn’t ever sure why, I always considered a prodigal son story. Not that I ever ran away and indulged in debauchery, but that the lazy kid that only enjoyed reading and playing video games had starting doing something productive. There were tears of joy when I told him I wanted to work in the ministry.

I remember one time he called the camp office and asked if I was around, which is wasn’t, and left a message. “Just tell him dad loves him.”

That is when I realized that my dad was really starting to miss me. For the past 17 years, we were around each other. There were periods where he went offshore for a month or so, but that was him leaving. That was him not being around. Now, his son is the one not around. In all of this, I missed his baptism, I missed his surgery, and I missed my dad.

When I arrived home for good, he greeted me with tears. Not sure whether it was from the neck brace or that his son was home. My Step-Mother explained the importance of being clean around the house, which is normal for us. But with dad’s surgery, we had to disinfect everything from counter tops to doorknobs. My dad hated 2 things: being in pain and being a burden to his family. At this time, he was experiencing both.

The following morning, my dad woke me up. I was kind of confused because he never did this. The pastor from the local Calvary Baptist Church was at the house for my Step-Mom, Kristy. According to my dad, she had been talking suicide. He didn’t want my brother and I around so he was taking us elsewhere. He did so.

When we arrived back at the house our pastor from First Baptist and a few members were waiting on us. A freaking intervention. I hadn’t known it, but my dad was taking some, not-to-prescribed pills. My dad after an hour or so decided to go to a facility. Checked himself in. A few hours later he checked himself out. He had been very verbally abusive lately, due to the pain and meds. I believe this is why Kristy had the suicide thoughts, and eventually left. My brother and I were alone with my dad who was visibly unhappy. We had visitors, thank God for them. They would put him in a good mood. Then he went out with. He came back messed up on something. It wasn’t difficult to notice. My dad wasn’t there anymore. The man that taught me the value of hard work, cried with me because I missed my mom, and helped me become who I am today was gone. Then I told him my last words to him, “love you, see you in the morning.” I am grateful that those were the words he heard last from me.

In all of this I never felt alone. I always imagined what losing my father would do to me. Would I be that boy who sits in the corner or the that lashes out blaming everyone. In the end I wasn’t either. I was peaceful. Though my father’s last days were not the grandest, I know that there wasn’t a thing that could separate him from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Weeks before he was baptized, something he held in high regard. He did his best to instill biblical principles in our lives but he dealt with a lot of demons from  immensely rough past. I wasn’t angry or upset, perhaps at first I was. But after time, I was at peace. I believe my dad is in heaven, I believe this because God is rich with love and mercy (Ephesians 2:4, Psalm 145:8).  With in this ordeal as I learned with my past with depression is that God is close to us in the hard times that provoke tears. (Psalm 34:18). We  are never alone, we serve a God who will never forsake us. Stay blessed my friends.

 

 

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