On Sunday, my father-in-law went to be with Jesus.
Dad was one of the old school kind of men. He was a Marine and an engineer and quite the card player. For over 30 years, he and I were cribbage partners and quite frankly, there was no better team than us. (I’m kicking myself that we didn’t keep score of games won over the years because our winning streak was quite phenomenal…😎) He drank Rob Roy’s (on the rocks) and hated Chinese food, yet would eat it without saying a thing. He sang in the choir, bowled in a league and played duplicate bridge each week. And every Sunday, rain or shine, he was in church – sitting a third of the way back on the left side near the windows.
But the greatest thing of all was 60 years of being married to his bride.
He was quiet…yet not. He listened…and then he spoke. He thought things through…and then he spoke. He waited…and then he spoke. A lesson can definitely be learned from that. =)
We got the call last week while he was in the hospital that he had made his wishes clear – he wanted to go home. The thing with Dad was, he has two homes. One, he shares with my mother-in-law; the other is Heaven. And as us kids were talking, that kept being brought up.
We were given permission during this time of Covid to be with him at home. He saw us and recognized us and talked to us. At one point Mom said to him ‘I love you’ and he answered back ‘I adore you’. It was beautiful. And so sad.
On his final afternoon, I sat with him and read out loud the Psalms. I talked to him about each one of his grandchildren. I congratulated him on raising strong children who all really like each other. I thanked him for raising a son who in turn is a wonderful husband and father. I told him we would make sure Mom was ok.
In the end, in true Herb form, he left quietly. He waited to hear his youngest son’s voice and it was almost as if once that happened, he knew it was alright to go. Not long after that, he slept.
And then he woke up to Jesus.
For us, we’re all a bit numb still, but also grateful for the gift he left us…knowing where he is and who he is with. Thankfully, we believe this is an end that has no end – and that we WILL see him again.