Tag Archives: memories

The Weight of Memory

Bad memories must be lighter than good ones. They seem to rise to the surface much more easily.

It has taken a deep dive to find some good ones from this time a year ago. It was then that my dad was in the hospital, recovering from surgery. At least that is what we thought in late April. He seemed to be making good progress and would soon go home. It turns out, he was on his way Home.

For over a month now my heart has been dreading what it knew my mind would do during this time. Each day would bring recollections of what was going on last April and May. Those memories would rise up and overwhelm me. But, I serve a God who is bigger than my mind and heart. By His grace, He has helped me skim the dark waters of my father’s illness and passing to uncover the good memories, the ones that easily sink to the bottom, buried below the pain. Those are the ones the Lord can help me focus on, and the ones I want to make known here.

Following are moments of light God provided in the darkness:

Playing with my sister’s beautiful hair while we sat on the couch in the ICU room.

Delicious homemade meals from my cousin Donna and Aunt Diane.

Watching Lost on the laptop with my sister.

Praying with my extended family in the hospital chapel.

Hugging my mom.

Reading the book Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man.

Being led in prayer by a nurse who asked to pray over my dad with us.

Writing scripture on the white board in the hospital room.

Feeling a closeness with my sister that goes beyond words.

A blanket fresh out of the warmer, tossed over me by a kind nurse.

Encouraging emails from friends far away but praying for us.

Having a home-cooked meal with family in the hospital cafeteria.

Laughing uncontrollably with my mom and sister at Denny’s.

Enjoying a few minutes of warm sunshine as I walked a trail near the hospital.

Checking doctors’ ring fingers, keeping an eye out for opportunities for my single sister.

Having Mother’s Day dinner with my mom. I think I even cooked.

The sight of my friends outside my parents’ house as they showed up to support me.

Feeling SO loved by the surprise visit of friends who had driven over 300 miles to spend my birthday with me and attend the wake.

Spending my birthday at the zoo with amazing friends, husband, and sister.

Family and friends close by at all times.

Hearing my dad confirm to a pastor that he had forgiveness in Christ.

Daily, hourly, minute by minute – being able to approach the throne of God’s grace to receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need. Hebrews 4:16

A Weekend To Remember

We had ham and beans for supper that Saturday night. That’s the only detail I can remember right now from this weekend a year ago. I guess if I had known it was the last times I’d spend with my dad outside of the hospital, I would have done a better job of burning them into my memory. Isn’t it strange the things we remember?  I can remember what shirt I was wearing when he died a month later, but I can’t remember what we talked about that weekend.

I wonder, if I had known how things were going to turn out, what I would have done differently. I suspect there would have been so much pressure to have a perfect weekend that it actually would not have been better. This suspicion arises from the time at the hospital, when I did think it might be my last days, hours, or minutes with him, when I couldn’t come up with a darn thing that seemed right to do or say. At least, nothing felt like enough for the possible significance of each moment.

I hear stories of others whose loved ones were so accepting, even joyful, as they faced the end, desiring to be surrounded by God’s word, pouring into others even as they were nearing death. They had these great conversations, seemed to know just what to say, and had such meaningful moments. I’m ashamed that I usually feel envy rather than rejoice for them. With my dad, the outcome was so uncertain. Every day was full of contradictions from doctors, unanswerable questions, and physical pain that made it hard for him to do anything but lay there and fight it. For me, all I could do was pray, sit by his bed to be near if he needed anything, and tell him I love him. I know most people will say that is the best anyone can do, but at times it just doesn’t seem like enough.

There are a lot of things I can learn from all this. Among the lessons: Make the most of each moment with my loved ones. Accept the past and move on. Let go of regrets. Be grateful for the opportunity to be with my father in his last days. Be thankful that our last words were I love you. Rejoice that his suffering is done and He is alive with Christ in heaven today.

I know all these things. I do. I thank the Lord for all of them. I feel I have made progress with most of these during the past year. As the calendar rolls by, and we enter into the anniversary of those long days in the hospital, the part I struggle with is:

Remember the good times. Don’t dwell on the bad.

I am praying for a mind filled with 30 years of Dad memories, rather than 30 days of hospital memories.

I guess I’ll start with the ham and beans.