Death Comes to the Parsonage

Psalm 116:15

The night my father died is still vivid in my memory. He had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier, and his strength was fading. The doctor sent him home with a bottle of chemo pills. This type of treatment was still young in those days. The pills were very large, and they had severe side effects typical of any other chemo-therapy. They made him violently ill and made his hair fall out. I remember him throwing the bottle in the trash after a few weeks. “The medicine shouldn’t make you sicker than the disease,” he said. The only real relief he could find for his aching body was an alcohol rub down. My sister would put the alcohol on her hands, then rub his feet and his back.

Soon after that, he had little strength for walking and poor balance. Someone in the community had a wheelchair and loaned it to us. A couple of men of the church came over on a Saturday and built a ramp from the steps of the house to the sidewalk. For the last few weeks, he preached from a wheelchair and used a microphone. He never needed one before. His strong voice could fill the auditorium with no assistance at all.

My father loved preaching. He would study all week and most of Saturday night to prepare the message for Sunday morning. He read commentaries, used his red Scofield Reference Bible, and browsed his library of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons for quotes. He often said, “If I ever get to the point where I can’t preach, I want the Lord to just call me home.”

His birthday was in November and always near Thanksgiving. That year, he requested his brother and his three sisters to visit. He wanted to see them all one last time. I remember we had Thanksgiving early because his sister, Genevieve, and her husband, Rolla, were scheduled to return to Korea where they were missionaries. After dinner he went to his bedroom. One by one, he called in his siblings to say his good bye. He wanted it to be personal and private. He also called in my cousin, Walter, who felt called to ministry. That weekend, they all went back to their respective homes.

The next Saturday night, we kids sat by his bed watching him with an oxygen mask. He would take it off and talk to us, then put it back on. He finally told us goodnight, and I told him I loved him. Later that night, he fell ill. He had to call another preacher and asked him to fill the pulpit for him the next day. Then the ambulance came and took my dad to the hospital. Mother went with him, and we kids stayed home. At 2:00 am, she called from the hospital. Our father was dead; God had honored his prayer and called him home. That night, I drank my first cup of coffee. I didn’t want to sleep.

That Sunday morning at church, the deacon chairman had my sister, my brother, and me stand in front of the church. “These are the bravest people I know,” he said. I never understood how losing a parent makes a person brave, but that’s what he said. The next night, my Uncle Glenn took us to the funeral home in Dumas for the viewing. He encouraged us to touch my dad, but I refused. I wasn’t scared. I just didn’t want to touch him if he couldn’t touch me back.

The day of the funeral, it was cold and raining. It was my first funeral to attend. As the family processed in, I didn’t know what to do or how to act, but I saw my friend, John Terrell, and I smiled. I remember thinking it wasn’t an appropriate time to smile, but I needed a familiar face. According to my father’s wishes, my sister sang “The King is Coming,” and Uncle Glenn preached the sermon. My father had instructed him to preach an evangelistic message; “Don’t talk about me. Talk about Jesus.” My sister’s boyfriend stayed after the service to talk to Uncle Glenn. He wanted to be saved.

I remember one classmate dropping by the next day with his parents to pay their condolences. We took the wheelchair ramp across the street to the church parking lot and used it for a ramp to jump our bicycles. We rode in the snow, and I didn’t care. My memory of the days after that were all blurry. I remember my English teacher, who was normally strict, excused me from the assignment I had missed. The math teacher, who was normally sweet, told me I had three days to make up missed work. Somehow, I was expected to resume life as normal. Nothing would be normal again for a very long time.

 

AWW-Sr

Published in: on May 1, 2019 at 10:16 am  Comments (2)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://wellbornministry.org/2019/05/01/death-comes-to-the-parsonage/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautifully raw and somehow comforting. Those coffins are just holding tanks, our pastor said recently.

    This scripture has come to mind often this year and does increasingly, now.

    “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” REVELATION‬ ‭22:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

    ““Come,” says the Holy Spirit and the Bride in divine duet. Let everyone who hears this duet join them in saying, “Come.” Let everyone gripped with spiritual thirst say, “Come.” And let everyone who craves the gift of living water come and drink it freely. “ It is my gift to you! Come.”” Revelation‬ ‭22:17‬ ‭TPT‬‬

    On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 9:16 AM Wellborn Ministry wrote:

    > Wes posted: “Psalm 116:15 The night my father died is still vivid in my > memory. He had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier, and his > strength was fading. The doctor sent him home with a bottle of chemo pills. > This type of treatment was still young in those d” >

  2. They are just sleeping! Hallelujah!😂🙌🏻👑

    On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 9:16 AM Wellborn Ministry wrote:

    > Wes posted: “Psalm 116:15 The night my father died is still vivid in my > memory. He had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier, and his > strength was fading. The doctor sent him home with a bottle of chemo pills. > This type of treatment was still young in those d” >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: