Is there any hope of me getting better?
I don’t know Daddy. You have worked so very hard and made progress. Now it seems you’ll have to work harder and I’m not sure it will be enough.
He nods but doesn’t comment.
What do you hope will happen?
I hope I’ll go to heaven soon.
My eyes overflow with tears and now it’s my turn to only nod.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry.
Oh, daddy, heaven is what I want for you. It’s okay. I’m thankful that is what you want, too!
He pats my arm and his eyes water.
I will miss you like crazy but I will see you again one day.
Again, he is watching my face and patting my arm.
It is okay! We will be okay. I promise we will take care of mom. She will be okay, too.
This morning was four weeks since my dad relocated to heaven. I don’t have to wonder what happened when he took his last breath in Baptist Hospital. I know with all of my being because my dad believed in this promise of God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
My family was given the gift of time in my dad’s last weeks. So many don’t have the chance to say what’s on their heart to a loved one. They think that opportunity will come another day. Instead, their loved one is taken in an instant and they’ve missed the chance.
My mom, my siblings, and our spouses were each handed that gift. To say I love you soooooooo much before we left his room and for him to say it back. That happened countless times in the last few weeks. The conversation above took place a week before he passed into eternity.
In those last days, we witnessed him point toward heaven, open his mouth in expressions of awe, and mumble words we couldn’t understand. Knowing angels were near and God was with us brought unspeakable peace.
I had the privilege of spending a big portion of his last day with him. He was unresponsive. When it was time for me to leave, I hugged him tight and whispered in his ear. “Daddy, I love you soooooo much. Angels are all around you, Jesus is coming to take you home. We will be okay. I’ll see you soon.”
About 9 hours later, my brother called me, “he’s gone.”
I was too emotional to tell Jacob about his granddaddy. Mike did and Jacob listened carefully. I’m sure that night he fell asleep with his granddaddy on his mind.
Jacob was the first grandchild on my side of the family. Through Jacob’s years, his granddaddy was always looking for ways to make Jacob happy. To DO something for Jacob. To help us and help him. He built Jacob’s toybox (which is still in use today). When he renovated an old mill into a cabin for our family, Jacob had his own bedroom. Jacob would come through singing and twirling and he’d say, “Jacob likes that”. Often, he’d say something like, maybe this will help with Jacob. Or, maybe Jacob will like this. Jacob got his love for hot dogs and cheese from his granddaddy.
Two weeks after the funeral we took Jacob to his Granddaddy and Granny’s house. Attending the funeral wasn’t possible for him. I talked to him beforehand explaining that Granddaddy wouldn’t be at the house because he was in heaven. Again, Jacob got very still and listened to every word. I saw a tiny smile as if he was saying, “I know where he is, mom.”
When we got there, Jacob went into the house immediately. That in itself was unusual because he’d often just sit in the van for a while, or perhaps go sit in a chair on the porch. He walked in exploring. Granny and I stood back just to let him look around. I knew Jacob had gone into the master bedroom and decided I’d peep in to see what he was doing. He was standing in the closet and quickly shut the door.
I eased it open and watched him. Slowly looking at the contents, touching a few things. Soon Granny came and he took her hand and pulled her into the closet with her talking about Granddaddy’s clothes. He got a suitcase and gave it to Granny. I have no idea, NO IDEA what that meant. I like to think it was his way of saying, let’s pack this and go where Granddaddy is.
That day, he was nosy as usual, opening drawers and cabinet doors. He played on Granny and Granddaddy’s king-size bed for a long time, listening to music. Maybe his granddaddy was smiling from his heavenly home, knowing Jacob likes that.
I think if Jacob could talk, he’d say what he likes most is that he knows he will see his granddaddy again because heaven is real.
Other grandparents who’ve loved Jacob before leaving this earth are there, too. There is Big Mother his great, great grandmother; Great Gran and Grandmother, his great grandparents; Mamaw Jewel, another great grandmother; Papaw and Mamaw, his grandparents.
I pray you know Jesus Christ and have the assurance that you will one day meet him face-to-face. And, also get to see your loved ones and meet ours, who are believers and spending their days worshiping the King of Kings along with my dad, Jacob’s Granddaddy.
Is there any hope of getting better? I hope I go to heaven soon. His hope became reality, he is healed, and he is better than he has ever been!