Saying Goodbye to My Daddy
I had been praying for over a year now that when it was time for Dad to say Good-bye I would be able to stop fighting for him and let him go.
I’m a fighter you know, I have always been that way, I’m convinced God made me that way. I wanted to be ready to let Dad go so I would not bring him undue pain and fight a fight that wasn’t mine.
I knew he would not live forever but I never expected that I would be saying goodbye now. I knew he was sick, but I never dreamed June 25, 2018, would be the day I would say goodbye to my Daddy.
Dad had surgery for a blood clot on May 20th. He did surprisingly well with the surgery and started on the bumpy road to recovery. We had to place him in a rehab facility to get his strength and mobility back but the day he was released to go home he seemed to be improving.
Since he couldn’t safely navigate the stairs in his raised ranch home we did a quick update of the basement and moved him in. He seemed to know he was home and relax into the new routine. It did my heart good to see him home.
He continued therapy and was in good spirits, but his recovery soon started to slow down. The wound on his leg wasn’t healing and he didn’t seem to want to eat much. I continued to pray for wisdom and strength to care for him at home with my sister and our caregiver team. It was a much bigger job than I expected.
I was exhausted emotionally and physically from the long days. I continued to spend time with the Lord, asking for wisdom and grace. There was a lot of stress and I can’t say I handled every moment of every day well, but God is Good and provided all I needed.
Thursday morning, I awoke early and went to Dad’s bedside as I had the 5 mornings before, but this day Dad seemed different. He was in less pain, he was more affectionate, and he seemed to radiate peace. He wasn’t interested in eating, he just wanted to hold my hand.
I sat with him and I prayed silently as I had each morning, praying for Dad’s healing, for my heart and for me to love all those around me well.
As I talked with the Lord about Dad’s healing that morning He reminded me of my prayer throughout the last year to know when the right time was to stop fighting and to gracefully let him go.
He went on to whisper to my heart it was time, it was time to make the shift. I said really, Lord? He said yes. I said really? He said yes. Help me do that Lord, I’m not ready. But as I looked at Dad I knew he was.
Later that day for the first time the home health nurse told us Dad was dying. His body was tired, and he was not going to pull through. It was difficult to hear but I already knew it in my heart, the Lord had prepared me.
I will not say that the next 3 days were easy nor was watching my Dad pass away an easy experience but what I can say is that our God is Good and faithful! On one of the most difficult days of my life, I felt loved, cherished and strengthened by the Lord.
I’m so thankful for all the days I had to share with my dad. I’m thankful for the relationship with my Lord that allowed the struggles of caring for Dad to be more than just struggles but also opportunities to grow in my relationship with Him, with Dad, my sister and the many caregivers who touched our lives.
This month has been a difficult one. I am just starting the transition of life without my Daddy. I am so thankful that I have experienced the truth of Isaiah 41:10 and I will continue to calm the truth of His promise in the days to come.
Rayna Neises understands the joys and challenges that come from a season of caring. She helped care for both of her parents during their separate battles with Alzheimer’s over a thirty-year span. She is able to look back on those days now with no regrets – and she wishes the same for every woman caring for aging parents.
To help others through this challenging season of life, Rayna has written No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season, a book filled with her own heart-warming stories and practical suggestions for journeying through a caregiving season. Rayna is an ICF Associate Certified Coach with certifications in both Life and Leadership Coaching from the Professional Christian Coaching Institute.
Read other articles by Rayna
When you were a kid what fun homemade items did you shower your parent with to show them your love? It is the season of Mother's Day and Father's Day. This time of year can be a mixed bag for many. I am one of those who feel conflicting emotions, especially...
With hardly any thought at all, you can probably say whether, in your family of origin, you played the role of the responsible one or the rebel, the people pleaser or the mascot. Roles serve an organizing function. In a family, roles sort out each person’s...
Saying, “No,” is hard. I get it. Saying no to an aging or ill parent as an adult caretaker is even harder. It can be downright heartbreaking! No one wants to say no, but sometimes it has to be done. During a season of caring, we sometimes must do what’s best for...