I’ve always thought this quote was about a lost boyfriend or girlfriend. But now I’m beginning to think of it in a different way. I guess you could say that if you love someone who is dying, release them from this earth by telling them that you will be okay if they need to go. That’s what I just did minutes ago with my Dad. As you know, my Dad has been fighting pneumonia along with some other complications.
The doctor told my brother last night that my dad was not doing well and that if he wanted to see him alive, my brother better make the trip to see him as soon as possible. I guess up to this point I have romanticized his illness, because I had the luxury of being many miles away from him. So I could decided how good or bad my dad looked in my mind, even if in reality his appearance and condition was much, much worse.
When I found out that my brother was taking a trip down go see Dad, I decided that I needed to take this last opportunity to talk to him honestly. Not just tell him I love him and that we are praying for him. I needed to tell him that I loved him and that if it was his time to go, it was okay to let go.
I am not saying that I have the right, authority or power to tell my Dad to die. But as his child, I wanted him to know that I would be okay if God called him home. I know as a parent, that until I breathe my last breath, I will feel a responsibility to be there for my kids. No matter what age they are, they will be my kids to protect and love. So I wanted my Dad to know that if he is struggle to stay alive for our benefit, it was okay to let go.
I had a similar conversation with my Mom before she died. I told her that she had taught me everything I knew, but she never taught me how to say goodbye to my mom. She and I cried together and she told me that God would help us both when that time came. And she was right, God did help me though it.
Since I am still fighting off some sort of flu bug, a physical trip to see my Dad is not possible. So today, I called my step-mom and asked if she could let me know the next time my Dad was awake, because I needed to tell him something. She said his eyes were open, but she didn’t know if he was alert or not. So she said she would hold the phone to his ear so he could hear me.
I will not lie, I couldn’t get out the words, “Hey Dad.” without having my voice break and tears started flowing from my eyes. But I continued on, with a tear soaked face and strained voice to tell him everything that I needed him to know. I told him that if he was ready to leave this world, that it’s okay to let go.
I told him that I loved him and would miss him, but I didn’t want him to be like this where he couldn’t talk or walk. I told him that if Mom was waiting on the other side for him, to go to her. I also told him to tell Mom I loved her as much as I loved him. (When else am I going to have a chance to get a message hand delivered to my Mom in Heaven?)
I also said something that I needed to say for myself. I told him I was sorry for anything I may have said or did that made him mad through the years. Because there have been times, especially after my mom died, that my dad and I didn’t see eye to eye and I was very vocal with my opinion. I wanted to apologize to him, before it was too late, so he knew that I regretted those times. I knew the pain I had felt and I wanted to let him know that I didn’t mean to hurt him.
When you have a loved one in this situation you walk a narrow line on what to say. There are times you want to pour them with love and prayers and encouragement to fight. But when it looks like there isn’t much more fight left, you need to give them the permission to go. To release them of their duties and be free. However, this is a very hard and selfless thing to do. Because you are giving the person your blessing to die. But who are we to make them hang on in pain and confusion, just so we have their body present on this earth?
So I told my Dad that if he was holding on for us, it was okay to let go and be with God. But if he was not ready to leave yet, then I wanted him to fight to get out of that bed and live again.
Naomi got back on the phone and told me that she thought he heard me. She said that he was blinking his eyes a lot while I was talking and now his eyes were closed. So she thought he did hear and understand what I said. That gives me a peace in my heart to know that I said what I needed to tell him. That way if he goes today, tomorrow or years from now, he knows all that I feel for him…he knows that I love him enough to let him go.