That’s what I said to Dad as they were preparing to transfer him from the local emergency room to a farther, better equipped hospital on Wednesday evening. As I whispered the words to him, they felt ominous. It occurred to me that those could easily be my last words to him, and I had no idea if he was even aware of us around him. It also occurred to me that if those were my last words to him and I didn’t see him at the other hospital, the words would still be true.
As it turns out, he did live a few hours longer though he never fully regained consciousness. I strongly suspect that he was at least dimly aware of his surroundings and our presence. He didn’t respond to commands, but he usually stirred when we stood near him and held his hand.
My dad passed out of pain and into glory just after midnight, March 24 at the age of 58. He slipped away quietly with Mom by his side and 11 of his 14 children either in the room or just down the hall.
We gathered ’round with a song and a prayer, said our goodbyes as a group and then privately, and went home to begin making plans.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.