Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rest of the Story

I've put off telling this because really, how to put the words on the page? Also, Tyler knew, but we chose not to say anything to Jessie - I'm hoping she knows by now!

The day of the rehearsal dinner, everyone was gathered at our house. My Dad and his wife, Pam, came and had lunch. Shortly after lunch, Pam began to feel poorly and asked to go back to Miss Nancy's house so she could rest. Himself and his sister, Mary Ann, took Dad and Pam back to Nancy's.

Soon after, Pam was taken by paramedics to the ER. While we were at the rehearsal dinner, we received the news that Pam had died. It was my worst nightmare come true; this was my fear the moment they told me they were coming to the wedding. Pam had been in such horrible health for such a long time and should not have traveled.

The rest of the rehearsal dinner was a blur. As friends and family found out about the death they would try to come and comfort me, but I begged them to just let me get through the dinner. I was wracked with guilt over needing to be with my son and his bride-to-be and 60 invited guests, and needing to be with my father, who had just lost his wife. I escaped the room several times to use the phone and my father assured me again and again that I was in the right place, that he was fine and he would see me the next day. Nancy was with him and had told me months before that if this should happen, she would handle it. How I had prayed and prayed that wouldn't be the case!

My father actually came to the wedding the next day. I told Tyler that morning on the phone, but we all agreed not to tell Jessie until after the wedding. God was so gracious - He completely preserved the joy of the day for all of us (what a blessed evening!).

God's great mercy was evident in so many other ways:

It happened the night before the wedding, and not at the wedding.

Dad was here and Nancy was with him; he didn't go through this alone.

Pam's daughter, Valerie, was only 13 hours away in Virginia, visiting her daughter. They drove down immediately.

My Mom was here to be with ME! She kept me sane and level-headed.

Last week was surreal. Instead of saying goodbye to visiting family and then having another week with my Mom, I was instead visiting a funeral home, caring for my father's needs (he is also medically dependent), and working part-time. Mom hasn't been around my father for 43 years. God's grace was also on her and she reacted to this interruption so well, but she did end up going home earlier than planned.

So, my father's now back in AR with his step-daughter and step-granddaughter, preparing to sell his home and belongings and move back to New Mexico. My cousin and his wife practically begged him to come and live with them; their plans are to build an in-law apartment on their property and care for him forever. This works out for me as well - I can now visit my Mom and my father in the same state!

I now know what it feels like to just do the next thing no matter what life throws at me. I'm so thankful for all of Himself's family. They were all so kind and understanding and gave me hugs just when I needed them! Their constant support gave me the confidence that I would get through this.

My father left on Saturday. We all cleaned the house and put things back to normal, went to lunch, and then I came home and slept and slept.


1 comment:

agable said...

You are ridiculously strong. I don't know how you do it. So sorry for your dad's loss. Love you guys.


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