My dad wrote me his (potentially) final wishes in a hallmark card. The words that you can’t wait to read but hope you never have to read at the same time. My mom and I stared at our cards, wondering what they held inside but neither of us having the guts to open until we got the results.
It took 12 hours for the surgeon to remove and rebuild the left half of my dad’s jaw with a bone from his forearm, and replacing that with an artificial bone, in order to remove the spreading cancer and bring us the good news. For 12 hours I saw 30 years of life + marriage with my dad run through my mom’s head. The longest 12 hours of my life.
On July 27, 2016, Jesus performed a miracle in that hospital. My dad was healed and I was never going to be the same. I was not prepared for what I was about to witness when we went up to his room, no daughter is or should ever be. My dad laid asleep in the hospital bed, with plugs and tubes coming out of what seemed to be everywhere. One in his nose, a huge tracheal tube in his throat, IV’s in his arm, his hands. The wound that was stitched up the side of his face was open (for healing purposes) and I kid you not, blood was splattering out of it like a nightmare. My big, strong dad. I almost passed out and had to sit down. I had never felt so much joy and heartache in the same day.
That night, my mom and I read our cards. I opened the lime green envelope to a pretty pink card with a bow tied to it (so cute): OK MIN, HERE WE GO. (Min has been my nickname all of my life, because he always said I was my mini-mom). He kept it simple. 12 sentences that held everything I ever needed to hear, signed: DAD- PEACE OUT.
We were laughing and crying and making fun of him all at the same time. So typical of him to make us laugh in such a heavy moment. These words weren’t goodbye. The next day, David (who surprised me post-surgery) handed me a pad of paper and a pen in the hospital. I sat at my dad’s side and wrote. I wanted to write him a letter but my heart began to write a new song of praise that I was too scared to sing the month leading up to the surgery.
July 28, 2016
My heart has been full of fear and anxiety. Frozen in quicksand and trying my hardest to run away from Your grace, from Your truth and from Your ways. Instead of choosing to know you on deeper levels through it, I hid my face in fear of You letting me down.
You knew that your son would have a daughter who would be crying at your feet, begging to hold onto him for a little bit longer. You still held me and loved me when my thoughts ran wild, You were still there when I forgot your goodness. As I slipped and fell You were right there to catch me. There’s nowhere You have brought me that You also weren’t there to catch me. Your goodness is overwhelming. Your goodness in unshakable.
I wrote pages of thanksgiving and surrendering. I imagined what God was saying to my dad, and I wrote that. I asked God to soften my heart because it had become so hardened in fear of losing someone I loved. I told him it would take time and I realized that maybe I have some trust issues.
But don’t we all…
Thank you for following my story + to those who have reached out with encouragement! It means the world! With love,