My dad is not afraid to die


Me at the hospital.

He fell and broke his hip yesterday. He’s 88.

I was thunderstruck by his declaration today when I came to the hospital. He’s never been a gung-ho Christian. He didn’t even go to church. But he confessed to be a Christian. He said he was envious of Mom, who died quickly, suddenly of a massive heart attack. He said he was ready to go — even, he wanted to go.

Of course, I argued that such feelings were foolishness. We — my brother and I and our wives and families — don’t want him to go. But he sees no point of lingering with the body breaking down. He says he never imagined living for so long.

A year ago, he was hospitalized, and it was a wake-up call for me to neglect my professional duties some to dedicate more time to him. I started visiting once a week. I’ve learned things I never knew: about his time in the Army in Korea post WW2, his studies at Berkeley, his previous girlfriends. He’s tipped me off to great stories about Christian golfers and tennis players that I’ve parlayed into articles for God Reports. The man I didn’t have much of a relationship with since I was a youth and he didn’t talk to me began to figure centrally in my life.

When my mom died 10 years ago, I had an incredible peace, not just because she was a Christian but because I felt I had learned so many lessons from her that I was putting into practice in my life. From Mom, I learned to love and serve God above everything. She was a chaplain in the Sylmar juvenile hall, and I was a missionary in Guatemala.

For the first time ever, my dad seems to have gotten excited about the service I render to the Lord. I was telling him (before his fall) about a student in my class that came to our high school from the public system, where he was a trouble-maker, a fighter and who knows what else. Now, he’s reading the literature and making intelligent contributions to the class. My secret educational tool is to believe in the kids. Maybe no one ever believed in him before. Now he is responding.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen it register on Dad’s face that this work, though miserably remunerated, is gloriously valuable. Could it be that facing eternity, the man who hammered financial stability is finally understanding true value?

No doubt, my dad will recover from this second hospitalization. He won’t like the transition for physical therapy at the nursing home. But he’ll probably get home.

But he won’t be with us forever. Will I have learned from him everything I needed to?


27 responses to “My dad is not afraid to die

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your dad’s fall. May he feel the peace and love of our Father meeting his every need. What a blessing to have this time with your earthly dad; glean all you can!
    Towards the end of his life my dad got kicked out of hospice so many times I lost count, the first time with a “terminal” tumor in his heart, a rare occurrence, but my dad was a “miracle man” of God and he lived until a week before his 99th birthday and I had the immense honor of being alone by his bedside his last night on earth (he lived in Iowa, me in California) and I read the bible out loud to him as he was daily in the Word, talked and sang hymns to him, and we communed spiritually even without words since he was unable. His transition into heaven was one of my most precious moments on this earth with an encounter with the Spirit of God I will never forget!
    God bless your dad!

  2. dogsrulecatsdrool

    So very sorry to hear about your dad, Barbra told me. I hope he makes a fast recovery and gets better so he can go home.

  3. I’m sorry about your Dad. I hope he gets well soon.

  4. Communications cures a lot. May your relationship morph into greater things…vw

  5. This was so encouraging for me as I have parents who aren’t Christians…

  6. I am so sorry to hear about your dad’s fall. What a touching testimony. God can use any means to draw us close to Himself. I really thank God Almighty for giving you the opportunity to hear these from him. I wish him speedy recovery in the name of Jesus Christ. Enjoy his presence my friend. Happy Sunday

  7. Lifting up your dad today! The angels are rejoicing over your father…. Peace be with you and may God bless you both!

  8. God Sees Everything

    May you all find peace. God bless your dad and his family.

  9. Wishing him better! Bless you both!

  10. Just went home (10 hours away) to see my folks, both of whom are in their 80’s also. Precious times, and so important. I applaud you.

  11. prayers for your dad…shalom and healing in Jesus Name, Amen


    Sorry to hear about your dad. Praying for my WP family and their loved ones. Spend enough time with him and the answer will come. I felt peace when all my loved ones went home to be with the Lord.

    Blessings and Healing in Christ Jesus, Emma

  13. Marvelously touching. I’m so thankful for your Dad’s growing faith and the building relationship the two of you have. I will be praying for both you and your dad. He’s right that it’s not fun to live in a breaking down body and Heaven is a glorious place…but my husband’s mom is 99.6 and still praying, singing hymns, and praising God. We have a 94-year-old friend who went on a mission trip last year and is still hosting our Monday Night Bible Studies at her house…in spite of having had two major surgeries in two weeks. So…your dad still has a chance to impact lives….including yours. God bless you both.

  14. I’m glad that you are connecting with your Dad, and that he is showing interest in your work and the Lord. Mama wanted to go home to the Lord many years before she did, and she often wondered why the Lord was keeping her on earth. Her hospice journey was about 6 weeks. I know why the Lord kept her on earth. It was for the caregivers to observe her as she had one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. They commented about her great peace and noted that she must have had her faith in order. It has also caused one of my brothers who is angry at God to question. May your dad’s life be touched with God’s peace and healing. May you be blessed with a deeper connection with your father. Karen

  15. Isn’t it amazing how much we can learn from our parents once we grow up and realize that they have important things to say? Thank you for sharing your story. I definitely will search your blog to learn more about the school you mentioned. My husband and I own a small private school and have similar stories to the one you briefly mentioned and as a woman of God with a mission to help kids, it is dear to my own heart.

  16. Sorry to hear your dad was injured. God bless!

  17. sorry to hear he got hurt. like you i wish him a good recovery

  18. So sorry to hear about your Dad. It is very hard and very sad but maybe it can be a time for healing for you both. Sending you prayers and blessings! Ellen

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