Miracle on Centennial Street

louieIf my dad could read this now:

At this time of the year, I begin going down memory lane.  With each passing year it gets harder to believe how long it has been since I last saw you.

The years have quickly passed by as I sit here remembering the last holiday we were together, Thanksgiving.

You were so feeling so ill that day/week, but you were excited at the visitors we were having over to the house. Nothing was going to stand in your way of eating a great meal, talking and laughing to everyone who stopped by that evening.

Who would have thought that this would be our last gathering?

I always saw you as the one who could bounce back with ease, nothing was going to keep you down.

You were always strong for us despite the major setbacks of not finding a donor.  You always made it seem as if there wasn’t an illness to battle in those few short years of your disease.

So in my mind this was nothing new, just another hurdle to overcome. Then you would be home and we would celebrate your most favorite time of the year—Christmas.

But it was not meant to be.

Everything felt so surreal.   As if time were moving in slow motion.

I remember how mom stayed with you in the hospital those first few days. She did not want to leave your side.

The nurses, other family members, and even I convinced her to come home and rest for a few hours.  You were stable and it appeared to be a good outlook.   Little did she know that the world would change in those few hours. At least, the world according to us.

When she returned to the hospital, it was as if the weight of the world hit us with a pile of bricks, and then blankly hit us with more .  The family was besieged with grief but garnered strength to help us make decisions.  One never believes that they are going to go down a road such as this. Yet, the family’s love and devotion supported us through the process.   Your physical body was shutting down and your spiritual body was getting ready to leave us and go “home.”

To this day, I feel like the world stopped. I couldn’t believe what had happened, that my dad would not be coming back to us.  All of the years, we prayed for you—your salvation, your health, your total being—you were now going to have all the answers and be in perfect peace.  Still, I could not fathom a world without you.

It was so hard to say goodbye because I expected a certain plan for you.  Never thinking it had to be God’s way of doing things.  How selfish could I be?

The decision to let you go was not an easy one.  I know that in some way we were still holding out for a miracle to be seen with our own eyes. It was like wanting to prove  to the world that God was going to part the waters,  that mountains would be moved,  or that Lazarus was coming back from the dead.  But still it wasn’t to be the miracle that we wanted; the focus had to be what the Lord wanted for you and us.

I’ll never forget the long wait in what seemed to be  an eternity.  Family had asked my brothers and me to go home and rest, that the end of your life could be late into the night, or perhaps the next day.  But then mom walked out of  the ICU, along with our uncle on her arm, and we knew immediately that you were gone.  The miracle had taken place.  Mom said  it was like seeing you get on a roller coaster,  eyes squinted tightly, and then just like that– you were gone.  I almost pictured you as in some scene out of Star Trek, perhaps even riding a comet into eternity.

Life is truly fragile.  As James 4:14 describes it, “What is your life? You are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  The Lord reminded us all of how he directs life…

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God… Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”     I Corinthians 15: 50-58 (paraphrased)

This memory is always the hardest to describe. But my greatest hope is that one day, I’ll get to see you again and hear the other side of the story on how you arrived.  The miracle on, what I have termed, Centennial Street.