All News & Blogs
EIGHTEEN years ago this week, I stood holding my father's hand as he lay dying in a trauma unit hospital bed. His brain had swollen and was pushing against his skull, cutting off all blood flow. As the doctors prepared to turn off the ventilator, they told us if he took one breath on his own they would immediately turn the machines back on.
Through the haze of my tears, I watched the doctor flip a switch that held the power of life and death. I prayed harder than I had ever prayed in my young life. "Please, God, please. Just one breath. Don't let it end like this." My grief seemed to intensify with each slowing beep of the monitor. And then there was nothing. Nothing but the sound of my father's heart-rate monitor flat-lining.
Each year, the anniversary of his death is a very difficult time for me, but some are more so than others--like the year that I realized my 39-year-old husband was older than my dad was when he died. This year is particularly hard because I have officially lived more of my life without my dad than with him.
If I am honest with myself, though, I hit that mark a long time ago. The reality is that my father was absent most of my life due to his drug and alcohol addiction. That day in October of 1994 was not the day that my grief began.
All my life, people quoted to me from Psalm 68:5, "A father to the fatherless and a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling." That verse brought no comfort because, like so many people, I had no context to put it in.