Michael has been journaling through this entire experience. I thought I would share some of what he has written:
Today was the first time that my dad has been able to hold Reagan. I placed her against his belly, being careful to not put to much pressure on his legs (he lies in somewhat of a fetal position, favoring to be on the right side, and keeping his head toward the railing of the bed.) I saw such a smile on his face. He came alive in a way that was fun to watch. I have long wanted this day for him, not originally knowing for sure that he would make it to the time that she would be born. She is now four months old.
I let my dad know that I enjoyed the moments that we can be together at this time. Each minute is a gift. We have worked to make sure that he is as comfortable as he can possibly be.
At 2:00 in the morning (Thursday night), Mark and I started to go to bed, but Dad asked us not to leave, because he was afraid that he would die that very night. In fact, when I told him that I really thought that he would be around the next day (even though I acknowledged that he would know better than I), he shook his head, “no.” But Mark and I were content to stay with him longer—until we made sure that he was comfortable, in a relaxed state of mind, and able to sleep. I went to bed tonight not entirely sure that I would wake up with a dad, for most people seem to to know when they are passing.
There were moments of intense clarity with my dad today as well as hours of rest and ease, produced by a combination of the pain medicine and the (little bit extra) Lorazepam that I have been giving him. Though, to be certain, I have not overdone it.
This morning was a wonderful and joyous time for the second time since I hurriedly arrived here. I placed my Dad’s grand-daughter, Reagan, into his side, so that she could reach up and touch dad’s neck just under his chin. This is the second time that he has been able to hold on to my baby, and I am glad for the smile that comes to his face when Reagan is in the room. In fact, he lights up in a way that does not occur at any other time.
When I was here over Thanksgiving, he only got the chance to see her once, but did not get the opportunity to hold her. I am so glad that I have seen him hold her, for she is the next generation of our family—his and mine.
Would I want to be anywhere else during this time? Absolutely not. I have loved and valued each and every single “extra” minute that he has. I am ready for him to go only if he is ready. I am ready for him to stay as long as he wishes. This is between God and his soul, and you never know what beautiful purposes are being worked out in the heavenly realm.
I regret that I have been a little reluctant the last day and previous night to do this, but I finally took a while to read the Bible to him today—passages that talk about the love of Christ for His people. I spoke of the gentleness that our Lord has toward us—the gentleness that I have only caught glimpses of in the power of the Spirit.
This is now his third day of no eating and no drinking. Do I think he wants to be here? Yes, I do. And—even more—he wants his family with him. Last night, he did not want Mark and I to leave, because he thought that it might be his last night. But I believed that he would have another day. And I believe that he is likely to have yet another day. How long? Only God knows.
The greatest pain for him comes from his legs, particularly his left leg that seems to have continual muscle spasms. Mark and I have rubbed his leg many times, in an attempt to give peace and comfort to these final days. How I cherish each additional moment. It is the nature of “life” to “wish to live.”
I now begin to write again at 6:00 in the evening. At this moment, Dad is more relaxed than I have seen him since I have been here. He is not moving around. I haven’t given him pain medicine in a while. He is a comfortable sleep, having reached a kind of “sweet equilibrium” today. He is bearing this well, and I believe that the power of the Spirit of God is present with him.
If you wonder why I share something so personal, it is because I cherish this process. Celebrate with me. Celebrate love. Let us not hide from ourselves the fact that each of us will face death. “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that, the judgment.” Living in light of our coming death is the wisest possible course that we can take. What would you do if you were in my place right now…staring death in the face! Celebrate with me, and live in light of eternity. How we live now affects the entire universe, and our final state