Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Dad's Final Birthday

The morning of my dad’s 54th birthday, I went over to his apartment to bring him the Blessed Sacrament still dressed in the attire I’d worn to Laura and Jeff’s wedding that morning. We went through our weekly Communion ritual of doing the Scripture readings together, talking about the deeper meaning in them, offering intercessory prayers aloud, and holding hands while saying the Our Father, then I gave Dad the Eucharist.
After some time for silent prayer, I told him all about the wedding. He remembered Laura. Dad and I talked for a while, both of us grateful for the unexpected blessing that he had made it to another birthday that his doctors and hospice team never thought he would reach. I left to go home and change and give him a chance to rest/nap.      

That afternoon, Kevin and I went over to spend some more
time with Dad. The rest of the family was up in Rochester, New York, staying at the cottage where Kevin and I met that’s now owned by Kevin’s three older sisters. Dad decided he’d like to go to Chili’s for dinner. Our family had gone there several times over the years. Usually, we got the chicken fajitas with a cup of chili and extra shredded cheese to put on them. The three of us had a good time talking and eating, then we went back to Dad’s apartment so he could open his presents.
I’d assembled a box full of blank greeting cards for various occasions. My dad liked to send cards and notes for birthdays, anniversaries, and such. For a while, he would come with me to the grocery store or to Hallmark and pick out his own. When it became harder for him to walk even short distances without getting very out of breath, I thought he would like to receive a wide assortment of nice cards he could write from the comfort of his favorite La-Z-Boy recliner. I also gave him a prayer journal. We could tell he was genuinely content with all of his gifts.
We watched the movie Transformers together, stopping to dish out ice cream for dessert. When Kevin and I got home that evening, our home phone was ringing. I let it go to the answering machine. It was Dad. I sat by the answering machine listening to the message without picking up just to make sure everything was okay. It was. He was just calling to thank us. I still have the message saved on our machine.
Lord, thank You for the gifts of faith, time with family, prayer, love, and good memories. Amen.
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