Eight hours after Dad was picked up by an ambulance as the result of having had a bad fall, he was in hospital. This was a catastrophic day, for Mother and all of us, his children.
As I was unemployed at the time, I spent time most mornings at the hospital with my Father. He deteriorated rapidly and soon there was no more possibility to carry on a conversation. The worst day was when I walked in and he asked me who I was. He was also seeing images of fighting in the second world war, which he would describe to me. He would urge me to shelter from the bullets.
Sitting by a bedside and experiencing that could turn a person to hopelessness. I turned to the Lord and asked him what I could do. It may seem strange, but the answer came to read to him from the Bible. I did that day after day, using the Dutch language bible which I had bought for him years earlier.
One day another of my siblings walked in and heard me reading. From there it went to the rest of the family and I was reprimanded by my Mother for “irritating” my Father. This was devastating, but I really felt I had to keep going. Usually any other member of the family came to the hospital afternoon and evening, so most of the time I was alone with Dad.
It was early one Tuesday morning when I could not go in to the hospital, that I thought to call them to see how my Father was. The nurse who was called to the phone told me that she had just been with my Father. while he left this life. I said, “Thank you,” and cancelled the class I had that morning. Then I just sat there.
The first thing that came to my mind was, Isaiah 6:1 “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne …”, and I immediately said, “Yes, Dad has died but God is still seated on his throne, so nothing has really changed.” I asked Father God, “What about Dad?”. I instantly received the reply, “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish … the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isa.55:11)
They say that the sense of hearing is the last to die. I had read God’s word to my Father so that he could focus on that and accept it. When I was given these last words, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I have certainty of where my father is and that is really all that matters.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1Thes.4:13) This is clear that we are not sad when we lose a loved one and know that they are with the Lord.
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