After about 36 hours of travel, I was ready to end this leg of it.
But I was the first runner-up among a crowd of people waiting for standby. The lady in front of me turned around and looked at me. I’m sure I was a mess. Sleep deprived, deep circles under my eyes and in my only set of clothes that had seen better days. And with a baby that had just woken up and wasn’t disposed to be patient.
She looked at me and turned back to the flight attendant-
“You know what, I’m going to give her my spot. I’m going to try to get on the next flight with my husband if I can.”
I reached for her hand with tears in my eyes and no time to tell her that she had given me something more than just a spot on the flight.
Lord, bless that woman, whoever she is, wherever she is.
My baby, despite being on a jam-packed flight, returned to her normal charming self. She laughed, giggled, was chatty with seat partners and otherwise enjoyed the 2 hour flight.
I hadn’t been able to notify my family that I had gotten on the flight, so no one was there to meet us when we landed.
Neither was my luggage there, but the airport anticipated its delivery later that day.
My brother came and got me, while his wife ran to the store and got me a spare pair of pajamas and other baby needs that were dutifully packed inside the tardy luggage… we drove straight to my parents’ house where I got to see my dad.
Despite having seen him over the phone, much had changed in the last few days and it was a bit of a shock. He recognized me though and it was special to be there together and talk to him, though it was difficult for him to talk back.
That night, my luggage having arrived, I put my daughter to bed at my grandma’s house and as I was two steps from my bedroom door, the phone rang. At 11pm, that was not a good sign.
I headed back up to my mom’s house alone and my brothers both headed back to the house as well. It was a long, very difficult night and next day with multiple visits from the hospice nurses and a lot of difficulty providing relief to my dad.
At some point the next morning, after several days and maybe 7 hours of sleep in that time, I got a quick nap in before getting back up to be with my dad and help alleviate my family.
We prayed with my dad, spent time with him and it was my privilege to hit the button every 10 minutes to provide him with relief medicine. Finally, I could do something to help.
That Saturday evening, after a very long, arduous day for everyone, especially for my dad, he passed away quite peacefully, listening to the worship song that he and my mom had renewed their vows to.
What do you do after death?
Cry, be there for family. Tell stories. Pass the tissue.
All those things we did, each of us eventually acceding to the desperate need for rest and solitude.
There would be more to do in the morning.