Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Sunday, 4 July 2021

End of an Era


Hi friends and quiet followers,

My Dad 'Rae' passed away 4th July 2021 aged 81 years. He'd been ill for about two and a half years and more so the last year, following another heart attack. He also suffered from diabetes.

I didn't want to let this time go without recording it and also my feelings, as this is one of the ways I remember significant events in my life and also how I felt about it at the time. A couple of hours after he passed I felt a sense of calm, like I'd been holding my breath and was finally able to exhale. The past months have been harrowing for Dad, with many hospital stays, falls and bad ulcers on his legs that just wouldn't heal. His body was shutting down. Our life had taken on a rhythm of checking in every day or two to see how Dad was doing and also how was mum coping.  Mum's life was filled with appointments for Dad, care workers coming to their home to help and a lot of frights for mum when Dad would have yet another fall. He had so many falls at the end, yet never broke a bone - a true miracle. 

When my mum called us Saturday morning at 4.45am to tell us to rush to the hospital as Dad was dying, I didn't know it was possible to get ready so fast. I ran into his room upon arrival, but was too late by minutes. My mum was too late as well. We all sobbed our hearts out and couldn't believe Dad was no longer with us. Even the lovely hospital staff were crying and hugging us. Dad's was still warm and we hugged him and said our goodbyes, letting him know once again how much we all loved him. But more than anything we were so relieved for his sake that he was no longer suffering. Through all of this I have witnessed that ageing takes great courage.

One of the greatest blessings for me was that Dad had a faith in our Lord and while he may not have been one to talk about it a lot, he tried to live it out in his own ways. He had enough humility to know that we are all imperfect and just try to do our best each day as disciples of our Lord.

My Dad was in the army as a young man, but didn't fight in any wars. He loved my mum, his children and grandchildren. He especially loved gardening, specializing in growing shrubs and vegetables. He was not able to do this in later years as he had very little energy after his second heart attack. In the final months he didn't even have the strength to lift himself out of a chair and needed someone else to shower him.

Dad as a dashing younger man.....

Courting and marrying mum...

~ Lessons I've learned, some from Dad and some from witnessing ageing  ~

1. Caring for a sick loved one is not easy and no matter how patient you strive to be, you will lose your patience (says mum and later regret that you did). Bless her

2. Don't delay each day to live life well and live out the fruits of the spirit of: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self control.

3. Keep short accounts with God, friends and your loved ones. Apologise quickly when needed.

4. If you've always wanted to travel, and your health permits it and you have the finances - just do it !!! (now we have silly old covid 19 and can't) !!!. Mum and Dad made two vacations to Australia with other family members after they had retired (in their 60's and 70's), so it's never too late and they had a blast :)

5. Don't hesitate to share the gospel with those you love, even if they reject it, seeds are still sown and they can work through it with the Lord themselves and in their own time. My Dad made a confession to my husband just weeks before he passed. He gave his life to the Lord as a young man, but confessed again that he believed that Jesus died for his sins. My Dad had a very peaceful passing and told us all that he loved us. He didn't seem to have unfinished business. He accepted the state of his health and was ready to go on to whatever God had in store for him.

6. Don't waste time - We hadn't redecorated our bedroom or the kitchen since we moved into this house 14 years ago and I felt like I was wishing for things that could be done, but just not getting on with it. Dad taught me each day is precious, and time is short. So we finally just did it. My husband took 10 days off work and we just worked very very hard, staying up several nights until midnight to get it all finished. I posted before and after pics on instagram:

                                                                       ~with curtains up ~

I'll include pics of our room another time when the lighting is better. I also sewed all the curtains for the kitchen, French doors and our bedroom myself. It was quite a challenge for me as I am not an experienced seamstress. 

..continuing with final lessons learned:
7. Be confident in the final time that you have left to do things the way you want to do them. Don't worry if other people are disappointed or think you should plan a different funeral. It's your final moment and I think its right that the person dying should be able to choose how they want things to be. Dad has chosen to be cremated and have a simple service back at home. He wants a few hymns and for there to be just family and close friends (mostly family) to just enjoy time together celebrating Dads life and recalling memories. It surprised me that Dad wanted such a simple, no fuss sort of send off. But I see that a lot of older people choose this option at the end, foregoing fuss and crowds and just choose something simple and intimate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well that's all for now friends, I just wanted to be able to mark my Dad's passing and share the things he taught me in the final years God gave him when he was declining. I loved my Dad with all my heart, even though I didn't always agree with the things he said at times or how he sometimes acted. I chose to love him anyway and take the bad with the good. Learning to tolerate and accept each others foibles makes life easier. We all have room for improvement and God loves us still. My Dad was a man of integrity, hard working and meticulous. He kept careful records. He saved his money, lived frugally, but also well. He planned and gave my siblings and I wonderful childhood memories of great holiday camping adventures, which still remain some of the best moments that I recall from my young life. He shared nearly every Christmas with our family and we will miss him greatly. Thank you for your life Dad xo and Love to you all ~ Linda

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