Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm going up to Oxnard this afternoon to be with my Papa Chuck. He hasn't eaten since Friday, and his doctor says that's a sign that his body is giving up.

He's supposed to start chemo this week. I wish they weren't even talking about it. He's so weak, why take what's left of him?

My mom has been their constant caregiver for about two months now. She goes over there three times a day to feed and take care of Papa and Ami. She's been so strong. But today, there was urgency in her voice.

How do you prepare to say goodbye?

He has been one of the strongest, most constant people in my life. When I was a child, back when they were both strong and healthy, Papa and Ami used to come visit us almost every week. It felt like they lived with us, we saw them so much.

Waking up to the sound of Papa's laugh as he played outside with our dog in the morning is something I came to expect growing up. I love my papa's laugh. Rich and full, whole-hearted, splitting his face from ear to ear.

Papa would sit and eat breakfast with us in the morning--always shredded wheat or corn flakes--and then we'd follow him outside while he found something to keep him busy. We would watch as he repaired a fence post, or sit on the driveway "keeping him company" as he slid under our car fixing the transmission, changing the oil, or putting in new shocks.

There was nothing Papa couldn't do.

He has battled cancer for longer than I've been alive. In and out of the hospital, he's always had a fighter's attitude. "When are they going to let me out?"

He's been to the hospital five times in the last two months. The second to the last time he was there, his physical therapist told him he couldn't go home until he could walk around the ward twice with his walker. Dad says he got out of bed, picked up the walker, and carried it the first lap around the ward. They let him go :)

He and Ami have been married almost 60 years. March 26th will be their anniversary. Their love is so beautiful. Last time I was there, Ami went in to wake him up and let him know that we had to take him back to the hospital, and the way she leaned over him and kissed him, the way his eyes fluttered open and lit up with love shining through his weakness, was enough to make me cry. She crooned to him and asked him if he was ready to "go back and see the pretty nurses?" He waved off her question and said "What do I need them for when I have you?"

We celebrated his 85th birthday last month, and even though he was so sick that day that we ended up having to take him to the hospital, he told us he was planning on "15 more."

My papa has always been determined to live to [at least] 100. I remember him telling me all growing up that he was planning on living forever.

It's hard to convince a guy who's not planning on dying that he is in dreadful need of a Savior. All my life, I've talked about Jesus with him, sent him Bible verses, prayed for him. All my life, he's told me he doesn't need a god.

It puts such a pressure on my family. We have a limited time to continue to share God's truth, and now, he is too weak to hear.

My best friend Em is driving up here today so that we can go see him together. There's so much to pack (I've barely unpacked from our vacation! We just got home Saturday night.), so much I was planning on doing today. I don't know what the days ahead look like, and for little-old-planner-me, that's a struggle.

Be still, and know that I am God.

It's ringing in my ears today. But how can I be still? So much to do...

Be still, and know that I am God.

I know, Lord, I'm trying. How do I say goodbye? I've never lost anyone I love. How do I stay strong?

Trust Me.