After a wonderful third week at the MTC, we were settling into a busy week of packing, cleaning and spending a great week with the grandkids. Enjoying my backyard and deck are favorite things for me to do on lazy summer evenings. I felt like I would just soak up three years worth of "lazy summer evenings" in one week.
However, the Lord has something different in mind--again. Remember when I commented that His timetable is not my timetable? On Sunday, June 10, at 11:30 am we received a call that my father had just had a stroke, was in the hospital and not doing well; could we get there as soon a possible. Without delay, Alden and I left Flowell and drove to Richfield. On the way we called my sister, my mother, and notified our children. Soon, everyone in the family was notified.
This is a serious and debilitating stroke. There is no recovery. At age 88, my father has too many health issues to recover from this kind to stroke. So for these few days, it has been my and my brother and sister's privilege, blessing and opportunity to care for our dad as he struggles to leave this mortal existence. I have had Alden's support and love. My brother and sister have been invaluable to me. We have talked, shared, laughed and cried. We are united in our love and support for Dad. I have felt the love and sustaining influence of all the prayers that friends, ward and stake family, and others are offering. We all have felt it. But most important to me--I feel and have felt the calming, sweet and peaceful presence of the Spirit. His presence is the only way I could have made those 'hard decisions' and the only way I can make the decisions I still have to make. For the Gift of the Holy Ghost--I am eternally grateful.
Yesterday, June 12, 2012 was a hard day. It is Sally's birthday and I felt so sad to not be able to just celebrate with her. Happy Birthday to you Sally! It was a long, emotionally hard day in the hospital, at dad's house, and waking around on the farm where I was raised. Too many memories. Things are just heavy on my shoulders and on my heart. I only have eleven days until I leave for my mission. The pressure of everything that I now had to get done was compounded. As I left the hospital to come home last night, I had the distinct feeling to set my stuff down and go back over to my father and tell him goodbye--that perhaps by tomorrow he would not be as alert to really hear me as he had been today. I spent the most remarkable 30 minutes telling my father goodbye and letting go. The Spirit was present, I know Dad heard me because he would squeeze my hand as I talked. He couldn't answer, but he watched me the whole time. What a blessing--I had the opportunity to tell my father of the heartfelt love and gratitude I feel for a lifetime of him being "my father" as he nears the end of his life. Very few children get that chance. I wished him a Happy Father's Day.
On my hour long drive home I spend the time talking to Heavenly Father and crying. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, but I had the sweet sustaining of peace and comfort from the Spirit. I needed that alone time to morn and sorrow in this unexpected parting. My father was one worry that had not resolved itself for the mission. I had great concern for my father and what the next three years would bring while I was serving in Belgium Netherlands Mission. I felt uneasy, but I had turned the matter over to the Lord and knew all would be right when we left. I would never have guessed my goodbye would be this way. Nevertheless, I count this as a tender mercy for both my dad and me.
Today, June 13, 2012, my father is resting quite peacefully. I value the time I have to sit next to him as he sleeps. This opportunity will be gone too soon. Somehow, and I have turned this over to the Lord also, all preparations will be ready for us as we enter the MTC on June 23, 2012. I am at peace with that also and the burden is lightened.
This is my testimony: God knew this was going to happen when He called us on this mission, and He called us anyway. My Heavenly Father has made me equal to the burden placed upon my back at this time. I know He walks very closely with me right now. I see and recognize His hand in all of the events taking place right now. I know that God knows me by name and loves me very much. I know that God knows my Dad by name and loves him even more.
And so we wait. It's just hard to say goodbye.