“Yesterday afternoon I was informed that my brain is filled with legions and my prognosis… will likely lead me to a few weeks to months before the cancer finishes its job on me. I am not fearful and believe very strongly that the Lord is in charge and will accomplish His purpose in my life or death. I am not giving up hope but I also can handle going on to glory in His timing.” -Dad
(Haven’t read Part 1? Click here.)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2015 | I remember the day so clearly and yet it all runs together. The day we found out that, despite aggressive treatment, his cancer had spread and his time left with us was short. It was a Wednesday afternoon in the first week of December that he sat us all down and talked to us. He told us that leaving us behind was one of the hardest things he would ever do, but that his excitement to be in the presence of God was intense. He shared his desires for us, as his children, and went over what he had designated to leave to us in his will. A pastor to the very end, he read to us the beginning of the sermon that he’d been writing for his own funeral.
His heart was overflowing with words and emotions and you could see in his face the undeniable mixture of sadness and joy. When he turned to me an spoke, his tears started up once again. “There are few things I want as badly as I want to be at your wedding.” he said, “But I don’t know if that will happen.” He told me how happy he was that God had brought Paul into my life and how confident he was that I would be loved and cared for.
As evening set in, the power throughout the city went out and darkness began to fall. We lit every candle we owned and sat in the living room together, reminiscing and taking in the quiet moments in between the laughter and the tears. For the first time in quite a while, we were all home. And thanks to the unexplained power outage, there was no TV to distract us, no computers to busy us, and no phone chargers to save our quickly fading batteries. It was as if God knew exactly what we needed in that moment. Because He did.
Though it was so difficult to watch him struggle through this physical pain, I know that God blessed each of us with the gift of these times together. It was not always easy, in fact it was very difficult most days. But the beauty and blessing of all this was that we were given this time. We were given the opportunity to be ready for his death, to prepare together, to hear all that he wanted us to know before he passed. He was not taken from us in an instant, as so many are. We were not left to wonder what he would have said to us had he been given the chance. And for that, I am forever grateful.
And so, as evening turned into night, mom and dad snuggled up on the couch and fell asleep. Paul came in quietly around 10pm and hugged me, having driven there as soon as he could after hearing the news. We sat down on the front porch and he asked me how I was. We talked about the news and then our conversation shifted to our plans to get married. Shortly after our 2nd anniversary that past August, we had tentatively decided to get married on July 30th of 2016. Though we weren’t officially engaged, he had asked me some time before to marry him and I’d said yes. We had been talking with dad about the possibility of moving the wedding up, but he had wanted us to wait to make that decision until we got those final results.
“We definitely need to get married sooner,” I told Paul, “but even then I don’t know if we could make it happen in time. Are you sure you’re okay with this?” He held me close and reassured me, “Yes. We’ll do whatever we need to.” I started to cry as I responded, “If he can’t be at our wedding, I at least want him to see us get engaged before he passes. What if he doesn’t even get to see that?”
Little did I know, Paul had been planning for quite some time to propose that weekend. He’d planned it all before any of us knew what that week would hold. And his plans were already starting to be put into action…