I Wait

As I write this I’m waiting to hear from New Mexico that my father has passed away. He stopped swallowing the other day and was struggling to breathe yesterday. This is the natural progression of advanced dementia and it feels merciless to me.

I am sad. My mom is sad. My sisters are sad. We’re all sad. But at the same time, relief is just a last breath away. We’ve watched him suffer and mourned his loss for the last several years and, while we will always mourn for him, our desire is for him to be Earl again. For his mind to be whole, for his voice to be clear, for his legs to be strong. For him to know nothing but pure delight in the presence of his Jesus. This thought changes sad tears to overwhelming tears of joy.

I will not be there when he takes his final breath and I’m okay with that. Or maybe I’m just convincing myself that I’m okay with that. But my family is nothing if not pragmatic – maybe even to a fault. In my heart I’ve already said goodbye. And I don’t believe my presence will make any difference to him. Don’t get me wrong. If I was closer I would be there with my mom and sister, but logistically, it’s not realistic to think I can be there in time.

So I wait. I wait to make my flight arrangements. I wait to figure out when to make flight arrangements for Todd and Taylor. Katie is in the final weeks of her junior year of college and she cannot afford to miss school. So I wait to see when the service will be and if it will be possible for her to join us.

And when the waiting is over I will rejoice. I will rejoice in being with my family, no matter the situation. I will rejoice that my precious daddy is no longer suffering. And I will especially rejoice because I am confident in his final destination.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4

Papa Collage


  1. Gail Bunning on April 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Thinking of you Jen. I’m so sorry for all this.

  2. Pam Stuski on April 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Iam so sorry to hear this,prayers are with you and your family at this sad time

    • Jenster on April 8, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you, Pam. It’s appreciated.

  3. terrillr on April 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I KNEW better than to read this while I was at work! But, you said everything I’m feeling/thinking, just don’t have the ability to put into words. Thank you for that.

    • Jenster on April 8, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Writing’s pretty much the only thing I know how to do. And yes – you should have known better. 🙂

  4. Denise on April 8, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    You and your family are in my prayers. Waiting is hard. Mourning is hard. Yet, God will give comfort to you all.

    • Jenster on April 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      He already has. He’s so good to us.

  5. dianekarchner on April 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    ‘I will rejoice that my precious daddy is no longer suffering.’ Exactly how i felt when I went through this with my daddy. Praying for you, my friend!

  6. AnnJessup on April 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    My memories of your dad are so vivid. I knew him as a quiet, wise man who loved your mom and the Lord. I was blessed to have met him and your mom at the First Presbyterian Church in Benton, Arkansas several years ago. Your parents will always hold a special place in my heart. Praying for you and your family during this waiting period before he is called Home.

    • Jenster on April 8, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Thank you, Ann. Your memory means a lot to me.

  7. Jenster on April 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you, Laurie.

  8. Charm on April 8, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    hey bitter sweet moment here. All the times we waited in expectation for you all to arrive from the south up to Grandmas house. What a joy. Uncle Earl with his ‘jumpers’ :D. His joy at a good laugh. Louis L’amour books, good music. Why oh why didnt I keep or at least go through the records he’d left at grandmas?? haha at least I think it was his. Anyhue. I was very sad last night, but then in the middle of the night I thought about how grandma was probably right there waiting for him on the otherside. What an incredible pleasure and joy to think about. Pretty soon, many of us will be there too… weeee. Thinking aobut you, the other girls and aunt Donna. Yes aunt Donna I do think you are a girl too! haha Anyhue, love you all.

  9. Joy on April 9, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Praying for your family and maybe not very far behind with my own dad. Thanks for your words and thoughts. New bodies, no suffering, made possible by the One who went before us.

  10. tinakachmar on April 9, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Thinking of you, Todd, Taylor and Katie. Praying for continued peace in the knowledge that he is himself again and not this disease. I don’t personally know what “fatherly love” feels like but I know you have a lot of great memories with yours and I know you will pull from those in times of sadness. Sending you one of my obnoxious hugs and thinking of you over through the next weeks. Love you!!

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