Last month, while we were on a home visit to the USA, my Dad passed away. Dad was 94 years old and had been failing for some. Last year he told me there were three things that made him sad. One, he was almost deaf. Two, he couldn’t remember what he did hear. And three, he could no longer sign his name.
I think he was more than ready for the new body God had for him, and for his new home. He fell three times in the last months of his life. I was overseas when he fell. Each time, I would wonder if this was the time I needed to rush home to see him and help my family. Each time I spent a day or so crying and praying and never felt it was right for me to go. Each time he would pop back up. We began to call him “The Energizer Bunny,” like the toy rabbit in the battery commercial that kept, “going and going and going.” Nothing seemed to keep him down for long.
I really didn’t know if I could be there for my Dad and my family at the time of his death. As cross-cultural workers, we often cannot be home when loved ones die. Each year, when I’d leave to return to our field, Dad and I said goodbye as though it would be our last. We ended each phone call with, “I love you.” But it’s not his loss that echoes so strongly in my heart. It’s that his life was so well-lived.