Monday, November 9, 2009

Tender Mercies

Elder Bednar said, "The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits "his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men” (D&C 46:15)".
Last Sunday I got a call from my brother telling me that our Dad was in the hospital and had survived a heart attack, but was not doing well. Our family gathered together to visit our dad and grandpa to express our love and support him in his hour of need. He was on morphine because of the intense pain, but he was still coherent and could talk with us. That night, Thom gave him a blessing and Dad was promised peace and comfort. The next day was much like the night before except that the nurse got him to eat something.
Tuesday morning when I got to the hospital, Dad was stable, so they decided to move him from ICU to a regular room. He was no longer on morphine, and seemed to be in less pain. Sometime after noon, Jewel and I were in Dad's room, (they would only allow two visitors at a time due to the high influx of influenza), and we held his hand and talked with him. What happened while we were with him was sweet and sacred, and we listened with our hearts through the gift of the spirit and wept as he spoke to and of others on the other side of a very thin veil. Jewel decided we would ignore the rule of only two visitors and ran to get Mom so she could be part of this sweet experience. While she was gone, Dad asked me who all these people were behind me. I knew we were not alone, and that Heavenly Father was giving us this sweet time with our dad. He smiled and his eyes twinkled as he spoke and we knew he was in a happy place.
That night, after visiting hours were over. Most of the family that had come to visit Dad left for home. I was among them. My two sisters and Mom were still in the waiting room talking about the day, when the nurse ran down the hall. She came back to the waiting room to say that Dad was having trouble breathing. She said she was glad they were there and that perhaps it would be good to stay for a few more minutes. And then, within minutes, she was back and said he had taken his last breath. My sister called to tell me and I drove back to be with them.
I feel that Dad waited to go until we were gone so that we would not be left with the memory of his last breath, but instead the memory of a sweet and sacred day.
We had a viewing on Friday night, where for nearly three hours, friends and family came to pay their last respects to my Dad. Our family was strengthend and supported through their love and kindness.
Saturday, great tribute was paid to my Dad as his posterity participated in a funeral service for him. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang, "Families Can be Together Forever". Rick, my oldest brother, read the obituary, my sisters and I sang, "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You", My brothers, Brian and Chris shared memories of his life, Charlie, a grand-son sang, "Goin' Home", my second-oldest brother, Eric spoke and reminded us of the promise of Eternal life and families. Then Aubri and Spencer, two grand-children, played violin and sang, "Abide with Me, tis Eventide".

Death can be a difficult thing. But God in his mercy, can make it a sweet experience and a healing time for families.

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1 comment:

  1. Marilyn,
    I know I normally only write to you on Facebook, but I just wanted to let you know that your blogging is great!
    Love, Annika