Today is September 2nd.
Last year that was the last day I had with my Dad.
In a single breath, I can see myself sitting by his bed. Holding his hand. Trying to commit every detail to memory. Because I knew it wouldn't be long. I heard the change in his breathing throughout the day. I knew he was going home to be with Jesus soon. He was ready. He was at peace.
I was...well, I don't really know what word describes how I was. I was choosing to trust God no matter what. I was not oblivious to Dad's decline in health but I didn't want to say "good-bye". I knew that God could heal him this side of heaven in a blink of an eye but I didn't know if that was part of His plan.
That morning I had my last real conversation with my Daddy.
Holding his hand, looking into his eyes, I said "I love you". I don't think it's possible to count how many times I spoke those words to him throughout my life. A trillion bazillion would still not be enough.
He replied "I love you too" and then added "I have to tell you something. I'm going to die."
Holding back tears, I said "I know." and then added "No matter what happens on Earth, you will live forever because you are one of God's children and you are united with Christ". I then continued to speak the truths of Ephesians 1 over him.
Later that night I broke down. I guess it was time. Time to tell him "thank you" again for being the best Dad / friend / confidant / etc. Telling him how much the simple gesture of holding his hand meant to me and all that it represented - the safety, protection, love, comfort... Reminding him how much I loved his hugs and embrace and how I was incredibly blessed that God chose to give me him as my Dad.
None of it was new. There were many times that I shared these sentiments with him before - in person, written in cards, talking over coffee, talking on the phone... But this time was different. And I had held out as long as I could. I didn't want it to be the last time for me to say and share all of these things with him. The last time to express my heart and love to him. But I also didn't want to miss it.
Live life without regret. I still remember making that declaration over my life after one of the many conversations Dad and I had during my teen years.
I continue to live with that as my mindset. I've added living intentionally to it as well. That doesn't mean every day goes as planned. It's doesn't. Clearly. No one plans to deal with grief and missing a loved one. But if that's what is on my plate for that day, I'm going to do it. No one plans on spilling a glass of milk (or coffee). But if it spills, you clean it up and then move on or continue doing whatever it was you were doing before it spilled. There were some days where it seemed like all I did was "wipe up the spilled milk". All. Day. Long. But apparently that was on my plate that day. And I haven't experienced a day like that for quite some time.
I didn't know what today would bring. I wouldn't have minded just getting through the day without tears (or spilled milk) and I could have determined to not deal with it. To just suppress the emotions and push past the day. But that's not how I live. Instead I've journaled, cried, and owned my feelings.
I also don't think it's happenstance that this song is the one I've been singing all day. You Make Me Brave by Bethel. He still ministers to me through music. I'm grateful for it.