From that point on, I began making several trips a month to Evansville. It's a three hour drive one-way from where we currently live. Though it was quite a trek, I wouldn't trade that time for anything! Dad was in the hospital for several weeks, then rehab where he had a heart attack, back to the hospital, and then he spent over 100 days in the nursing home, where we thought he was improving but eventually got worse again. His last 13 days were spent at home, where his body began to shut down.
I miss Dad all the time. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. Some more than others, like today. I want to hear him talk, laugh with that cackle that was only him, or grab me by the hand and ask to pray before I left to go home. I want to give him a hug and hear him say, "Love you, Lee-Lee." I want to pick up the phone, dial his number, and talk about whatever. Unfortunately, these things will never happen again.
I realize that, spiritually speaking, I will see him again. Dad was a born-again Christian who lived and breathed Acts 2:38 and the Bible. He loved God with all his heart. But there's that flesh and blood part that I live with everyday that just wants him to be here!!!! I have screamed that age old question, "Why?!!!!!"
The grieving process has been a long one. I've gone through the anger, guilt, not caring, the detachment from loved ones who have tried to console and help. There are still emotions I am fighting even now and constant reminders of what I have lost, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. God has given me peace and I have come to realize that Dad's death was not because God hated me or Dad, but it was just a part of life and that there is a sickness unto death that we will all face.
I wrote Dad a letter shortly after we buried him. It was a personal letter from me to him. I know it sounds silly, but I prayed that, somehow, in His miraculous way, God would personally deliver that letter to him. Mom later told me she went to the cemetery after I left and the note was gone. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, I got to say one last thing to my dad.