A defining moment with my Dad took place in Florida after his 90th birthday party. We celebrated him for a week and when it was time for me to return to California, I went into his room. He was sitting on the edge of his bed with his feet on the floor. I sat down beside him and put my arm around his back and said, “Dad, I‘m so glad I could come to celebrate your birthday. It’s been wonderful to be with you and to reminisce about ninety years of your life.”
We talked about the past, the present, and the future. Looking back, I realize he gave me a blessing at that time when he said, “You’re going to have a good life Nancy. Things are going to go well and you will have good health. I have prayed for you each day.”
He continued to talk about a variety of topics on his mind: his preference for cremation when the time comes, the upcoming presidential elections, and lastly he asked if I would come back at Christmas time. When he had emptied his soul, the silence defined we were finished.
Unsure about what the future held, I wondered if this might be the last time I would see my Dad. Once a 230-pound man, now he was frail, less than 150 pounds, and blind. He had a pacemaker and hearing aids. Throughout the day he received oxygen off and on. His body was withered but he still had a strong voice and spirit.
As I stood up to leave I heard the words within me, “Cuddle with him.” I thought, What? Quickly, experience reminded me not to analyze but to follow that prompting. I said, “Dad, could I cuddle with you for a few minutes before I leave?”
Just as surprising as the words I heard, to my amazement, he silently and instantly turned his body around, laid down on the bed, rested his head into the pillows and extended his left arm out to make a space for me. I climbed quickly up on the bed into the space under his arm. I put my head on his shoulder and my face cheek to cheek with him. Then he began:
“Nancy, you’re my little baby girl.”
“Yes, Dad, I’m your little baby girl.”
Then he said, “You’ll always be my little baby girl.”
“That’s right, Dad, I’ll always be your little baby girl.”
Then I added, “Relationship is the most important thing.”
“That’s right,” he agreed.
“Dad, I have a need to love and be loved.”
He responded, “I know.”
With tears watering our cheeks, we talked for about ten minutes heart to heart. For me, it was a time where we stepped into eternity. There was nothing of the past and nothing of the future, only the experience of being present with each other and God. All that existed was love.
When I left my Dad’s bedside I knew that if I never saw him again I would be okay. God’s perfect love cast out fear. God provided in such an “over the top” way for my Dad and me, I knew He would provide for us whatever the future held.