|Dad and Ilayas in Dad's McHale Realty office with his little John Deere tractor, December 2010.|
Here's an e-mail I just wrote to my good friend Aimee.. or as my dad used to refer to her as Aimee Picci (pronounced "picky", a portion fo her last name). :)
Over the past few weeks, my dad and I kept meeting on facebook and praying together. I am so thankful for that. My brother and mom visited in April and my brother was really critical of my family and lifestyle and that I guess opened up some doors of communication between my dad and I because after that we had more heart to hearts. I let him know how I felt hurt and apologized for hurting him.. and that seemed to do a lot of healing on both parts. I think I maybe convicted him of a few things too (and him of me) and he was just super loving every day after that. His lung collapsed last week and I called the house that night. My brother told me what had happened and that they were in the hospital. So I called my mom's cell and my dad and I ended up getting on facebook to chat. He didn't really write much but I prayed for him and it was just the most healing thing. See I was sort of pushing/encouraging/requesting them for him to do some sort of radiation again or more medical measures but they didn't want to.. and just wanted to remain in prayer and trust in God healing him. I was scared until I prayed that night but the next day I wrote to him and said that I now felt sure of his healing.. 100% expectant. He wrote back saying thank you. After that night of prayer, I now felt assured that everything would be okay. But cognitively I still had thoughts of.. will he live or will he die? And as I thought them, it was clear to me that it didn't matter. Because either way he would live. I was scared of losing him, but I just was so reassured that he would live whether on earth or with God.
Then we didn't talk for a few days, I was really busy, traveling a bit, and then yesterday and the day before I was calling and writing to them for us to talk (mom and dad), and my mom just wrote to say that he had not been doing well after coming out of the hospital with the collapsed lung, which they had pumped back up and sent him home. She said she would call the Red Cross to see if they would give Maraya permission to come home before her paperwork was ready. The next morning I wrote to her just asking if they had decided to not do any medical intervention completely (as far as a more agressive attempt, not pain medication, which he was on), or what were the doctors suggesting, not judging, just wanting to understand, saying when I could come if we could work it out. Then I saw my dad was on facebook and messaged him to see if he was there. This was maybe 7 or 7:30am. Then my mom called me and let me know that he had just passed away shortly before. He had been spending the days on the couch so he wouldn't go up the steps. She stayed with him and gave him meds often as he was in lots of pain. She woke up and didn't see him. She looked around and couldn't find him and thought for sure he couldn't make it up the stairs. But not seeing him anywhere else, she went up to see and she found him laying across their bed. I told her after reflecting in an e-mail that I was so proud of him for climbing the stairs. :)
A family friend just posted a picture of my dad and granddad and wow.. that got me crying. I wrote: Wow, that brings me joy to think that they're delivering lambs together in heaven..two awesome shepherds. I now look forward to the day I can watch the baby lambs there with them.
So we got an intern here yesterday and since I may / hopefully will go to the US tomorrow or the next day, I did everything today I had planned to do with him over the next few days. So I was really busy and my mom called the Red Cross to see if they would give special permission for me to travel with Maraya (you know Ilayas has his paperwork) but she didn't hear anything back so I got some numbers from US embassy people but by the time I could call it was too late so tomorrow I'm gonna work on that and hopefully can come home...
This is not from the e-mail but some more thoughts and info. We went to the doctor's with Elisenia today among other things with Kondwani, the new intern from Rhodes College, and Centro Medico Cabarete was very helpful. I am to call for her stool analysis results tomorrow. We took Ebo to Pauline and company at Project Isobel in Sosua, assuming that I'll be able to go to the US. He could've stayed with Jireste but his mom has been acting a little weird and we plan on taking him to her mom, his grandmother, in Haiti next week, along with going to the embassy for Jireste's visa meeting, and I am slightly afraid that while I'm potentially gone she would come and take him just to exert her authority and not to think of what is best for him. I may explain more in a post I will finally write dedicated to Ebo without trying to go too much into critiquing his mom as I am not in her shoes, but I do think that the best next step is that he goes to his grandmother's and do fear that she would potentially come and want to take him if he stay here with Jireste. Plus Project Isobel is awesome, they were willing to take him, and I know he'll have a great time and be well cared for.
Now back to my Daddy... I remember when I laid in bed the night before the first day of sixth grade. In Frederick County, Virginia, USA, elementary school is K-5, middle school is 6-8, and high school is 9-12. I was extremely excited to go to middle school - James Wood Middle School. My dad came and sat on the bed and talked to me. He had come from a bible study, I believe. He talked about Jesus coming... he was ranting and raving about it and how awesome it would be. He said, "I wish he would come tonight!" I said, "I don't." He asked why not. I told him that it was because I hadn't gone to middle school yet. He said okay, he wished he would come after I got to go to middle school.
Oh my the memories I have of my Daddy at basketball games, volleyball games, and track meets in middle school and high school. And the memories of feeding sheep with him. And the memories of him telling Sarah and I stories of.. what were their names? Maria and Abraham? A family he invented who fell in love and got married and had child after child... and just a beautiful life on an old fashioned farm. He would tell us pieces night after night. And the memories of him counting down slowly from 10 to put me to sleep when I used to have trouble sleeping. He would speak quietly and gently and have me close my eyes. He would tell me slowly to relax parts of my body until my whole body was relaxed. Then to imagine a white ten on a black screen. Slowly he would count down to one...each time removing the previous number and putting up the lower white number on the black screen.
Of course, perhaps the most influential memories on my life were the ones where he received calls from AA guys he was sponsoring in the middle of the night. After receiving them, he got up, got dressed, and went and rode around in the car talking to them, helping them get through the night. This is perhaps the most influential thing in my life. These memories are HUGE in the understanding I have of God and his love and his transforming power. This inspired me to leave a comfortable place and go to an uncomfortable place because of love for those in the uncomfortable place. This portrays my heart. For this I thank you Dad. I thank you that you did that in front of me week after week growing up. Thank you.
I now am sure of your healing. 100% expectant. Rest in peace, live in peace, sheperd in peace. And please tell the Shepherd that I'm long done with middle school now so he can come any time.