Category Archives: Day to Day

Reminiscing

I think all the details are taken care of.  I would hate to have to arrange a funeral in the case of the tragic loss of a loved one.  I certainly would not go to work in the morning the day before the funeral.  Ah well, today is about over.  Here we sit this evening, sisters and brothers –in-law, sitting around with our kids, visiting and talking.  Rolling in laughter over the time when Dad had Glenn cram his feet into two different sized boots and then could not get them off for all his pulling.  Good times.  Fun memories.  And with our kids around I suspect we are creating some memories for them at the same time.

 

However, we are tired.  Tomorrow will be a long day and stressful a bit at least.  At least for the tributes some of us are giving and the kids doing their music and carrying out their duties for Grandpa.

 

This morning we got the news of the death of my brother-in-laws father as well.  So we go from Dad’s funeral to the funeral of Cliff Campbell on Saturday.  Two pastors, Dad and Cliff, following each other into the Kingdom.  I bet they are having a wonderful time – whole and healthier than they have ever been before.

 

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And now the waiting is over

Tonight, at about 8:10 Dad took his last breath and his heart slowed to a stop.  I am very glad I was there.  One minute there were very weak breaths, then those were done.  One minute there was life, fragile as it was, then it was gone.  Dad just kind of slipped quietly away.

The emotions are complicated at a time like this; a death that is in many ways a relief from a disease that began to take Dad away years ago.  However, there was a strong bond that withstood the ravages of the disease and the last few years have let us take time for him as we prepared for this sort of inevitable day.  It is hard to part from someone you really love, even if they are going on a journey to a better place.

So, my Dad, Thomas Lloyd Dice, born Aug. 24, 1919 in Prince Albert, died today, Nov. 18, 2005.  Eighty six years lived to the full.

The end of a long chapter of my story.  The beginning of a whole new chapter of his – the eternal life begins.

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Waiting

This week has been different.  When I went to work on Monday, I let my staff know that my dad was not doing well and that I may have to take some time off during the week.  Now here we have made it through this long week, and it has really been a busy one in terms of work, with no cancellations. 

We wait for death as we do for birth.  There are forces at play in both situations that we do not understand or control.  We like to think we control our bodies but for the really important events, the coming and the going, we wait.  We take what we are given, whenever and however it is given, and we deal with it. 

It is hard to describe what it has been like this week.  It has been tiring as I have gone to see my dad before and after work and have carried on with the rest of life as well.  My family have been gracious; taking care of the meals and stuff, letting mom spend time with Grandpa.  They haven’t seen much of me.  But we all know there are few days left to spend with Dad.

So, today, I have the day off.  I will help start the funeral arrangements.  There will be time to sit at Dad’s side watching him move closer and closer to his time to go.  His breathing last night was so shallow.  Things are shutting down.  His grip is getting weaker.  The signs of impending death are getting more evident.  It may be today.  It will be soon.  The process is inevitable and since the place he is going, confident that he is going to be with the God whom he loved so much, is going to be so much better we hope he will not stubbornly cling to his failing body for too much longer. 

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Almost Done Here

My dad has become very weak and frail over the past few weeks and now is close to being done with his time here on earth.  Leo and I went up to see him yesterday afternoon.  For the first time in my visits to him, he hardly responded at all.  On Remembrance day he was sitting up (propped with pillows) and talked to us if we aroused him from his sleepiness.  Yesterday he hardly opened his eyes.  His hand still squeezed mine but there was little other response.  He has lost interest in eating and drinking.

 

I chose one of my favorite Psalms to read from – Psalm 37.  Then I prayed for him.

 

His skin is transparent, like parchment paper.  His strength is gone.  His body seems like it has simply worn out.  He needs a new one.  And soon …  Soon he will be really at home where he will be really renewed and well.  My mom is already there, and Logan and many friends and relatives who have gotten there first.  That will be good.

 

But we will miss him.  I feel this bittersweet sadness inside. 

 

Some of my early memories:

         He was a good driver and I knew that when I was little.  Sure of that, I always felt safe to fall asleep.  Had to learn to stay awake when I became the driver.

         If I wasn’t really asleep, I would pretend so that, when we got home, he would pick me up in his strong arms and carry me in to my bed.

         It was my dad who prayed with me when I decided that I wanted my life to belong to Jesus.  I still have the image of the camp chapel, of him sitting next to me as we prayed, etched in my memory.  I was only four.  I also remember the multitude of times when I went to him in future years when I was unsure of my faith and he reassured me that God would always be with me.

         He would come in to my room and pray with me when I would wake up at night with nightmares.  He assured me that God was there with me and quoted me the Psalm that states the God does not sleep nor slumber. 

         There were times when his confidence and stubbornness got him into trouble.  He would explore roads that sometimes led to nowhere.  We would get stuck and spend hours getting out rather than call the nearest farmer for help – and sometimes would still have to do that after all.

         He liked to take pictures.  I remember the bears we stopped to photograph.  He got out of the car to do it.  He got back in just in time chased by the bear.

 

And the memories go on and on.  Some good, some of more difficult times.  All part of remembering who he was.

 

He was a man of great faith and compassion.  He served God with all he had and in all that he did.  It was hard to watch him lose his sharp intellect as the Alzheimer’s disease caused the mental deterioration of the past few years.  It was hard to see him become dependant and weak.  But for me it has also been a time of blessing; getting an opportunity to simply love him back for no reason other than that he is my dad.   

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Sneaking out of town for a quiet day

Today I took a chunk of the day, drove the half hour out to the cabin at the farm and spent some quiet time with God.  Life has been so busy around our place the last six weeks or so that I needed to just get away and be quiet.  My time has to wrap up around 2:30 as I have a meeting to get back for this afternoon. 

 

It is nice and cozy in this little cabin now.  It took a good hour to warm the place up.  Then it got so warm that I got sleepy. 

 

I always bring way too many books with me when I come out here.  I have to improve my judgment in that area.  There were a bunch of books in the boxes I picked up from Dad’s library that I wanted to look at.  Some on prayer, some on the Holy Spirit and a couple of the ones I am currently reading – Prayer, Finding the Heart’s True Home by Foster and Toward Holy Ground by Margaret Guenther – and of course the Bible.

 

The passage I read this morning was from Luke 18:1 to 8 – the part where Jesus tells his disciples the story of the persistent woman who got what she wanted from the unjust judge by continually asking for the same thing.  There are many things I ask for.  I don’t think Jesus minds me asking for the same things over and over.  At least I think he is giving us pretty clear permission to pester God about some of the things we are very concerned about, things we need to see changed, for people to see the reality of who God is and turn to follow him.  Then there are the prayers for friends who are experiencing illness and other difficulties – I think I can keep on asking till I get some kind of clear indication to stop. 

 

Out here at the cabin the best thing is the undisturbed time to pray.  Quiet is pretty well guaranteed in this little hermitage sans electricity.  I imagine it will be a few months before I get out here again.  Today the weather was beautiful but it may be hard to get back here in the middle of winter.

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The Transfer of Wisdom

Posting has been a lot sparser in the past few weeks.  It is to be expected I guess – that life would get more hectic with a baby in the house.

Instead of sitting down at the computer and being inspired to great theological depths in the late evening, I now mosey on down to the basement bedroom to see if I can help my daughter out a bit before she goes to bed, just in case Zakariya wants to see his Grandma or something.  I think I am beginning to enjoy this grandmotherly role.  It is not that bad once you get over the idea that in fact you are old enough to be a grandparent. 

I was commenting to my sister and her husband on this generational transition that we are making as our parents are aging and becoming less capable of looking after themselves.  We are moving  into the older adults section as the older adults in our lives move on up, getting closer and closer to leaving this life.  But, you know, I am beginning to be OK with that.  It is good to have enough life experience to help out the coming generation.  I don’t know whether I would dare to say “it is good to share the wisdom we have learned along the way as we have lived life”  because most days I don’t feel all that wise.  I do however, most days, feel extremely blessed to have lived the live that I have.  And I hope there are a good number of productive years left too with a few new challenges to keep us on our toes.

If I don’t post as often, I may be taking some time to pass on some words of wisdom to one of my kids or friends.  Then again, I may just be downstairs playing or rocking with my grandbaby – transfering my wisdom in the best and funnest way I can.

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So you want to see more?

Over at Flikr I have created a set of pictures of the new baby.  Feel free to follow this link and see more photos.  I’ll likely keep adding to this set from time to time.

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