in his backyard haven

Friday, 8 June 2012

Trains Planes and Automobiles

Yesterday Dad came home from the hospital. He is set up in his "Man Cave". A room filled with trains, planes, automobiles, Air Force memorabilia, train whistle clocks, statues of Jesus and Mary and books of prints by Vargas. You'll have to look that one up yourself.

He's cozy in a bed made of steel gray sheets to match his locomotives and a spare set of green sheets to match his green thumb. He lit up like a boy at Christmas when he was wheeled in and saw his newest train - purchased about  3 months ago - the El Capitan, all set up on its tracks and mounted on his wall. THANK YOU Mitch McKee. Last week you and Michelle resuscitated him and this week you mounted his favorite memories on the wall. This past week has allowed Dad to see not just his newest train, but all of us kids, grandkids, and over 50 visitors. What a blessing.

Dad is in a ton of pain. If you touch his legs or feet with less than the pressure of holding a newborn he will scream in pain. At two AM my mother and I were called "Heathens" while we worked to shift his position in his bed. It's okay. I'll take "Heathen" over "F**ker" which is what he's been calling some of the nurses who have tried to help. This is why we all pray that his pain is eased soon.

If I never get the chance to thank him in person, I do want to take time to thank Dad's oncologist for the past 14 years, Dr. Hilliard.

As a professional, I can only imagine that his giving Dad the message that there will be no more chemo for him was as hard for him to give as it appeared hard for Dad to receive.

Regardless of the outcome, Dr. Hilliard and Dad's willpower and Mom's loving selfless support and Jesus's grace and healing have provided the following for Dad:

  • The opportunity to meet Madison, Nathan, Zoe and Meagan
  • The opportunity to give both his parents Vern and Betty a graceful and dignified death
  • The opportunity to be the caregiver for his mother-in-law, Dorothy Foxwell, in the very same place he lays today.
  • The opportunity to walk two more daughters down the aisle and welcome two more sons into the family
  • The opportunity to minister to hundreds, maybe thousands more souls who have sought out the love of God through Christ Jesus and welcome them into the Church.
  • The opportunity to take Disney Cruises and go parasailing in sandals with socks
  • The opportunity to take a cruise to Alaska
  • The opportunity to take a train ride on the Denver and Rio Grande one more time with his granddaughters
  • The opportunity visit old haunts like missile wing reunions and class reunions and places like Little Rock and Houston and Cape Cod
  • The opportunity to take the Starlight train to Seattle and across the Glacier National Park
  • The opportunity to see 4 more children graduate from college, volunteer for the Peace Corps, and continue their educations.

So, in addition to all of the planes, trains and automobiles that surround him right now - so do reminders of all of these things in life. Other than when he has to be moved, he really does seem like a happy little boy taking a nap in his play room right now. It is so bittersweet.

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