February Message from Pastor Tim – Farewell to My Father

(Journal entry, January 21) Dad is dying; he is in Hospice in Glenview, Illinois. He is sleeping and pain free most of the time. He dreamed of being wrapped in a soft, comforting blanket. It was so peaceful and it took him to the other side. He was at peace, no fear, and only felt love. He was sad when he came back.

Dad is ready to die; he has placed his life in God’s hands. The family grieves, uncertain what to do. His wife and son, step-son, step-daughter and family; my sisters Laurie and Kim and I may not be as ready to let him go. We just want a little more time: hold on Dad, one more phone call. I can come and visit: unspoken things to share, hopes for more contact. Our time with Dad is fleeting.

Only God knows the timing . . . so we remember; my siblings and I share through texts and phone calls. We struggle; we wrestle with final words to say, feelings of guilt, remorse, love and affection, hurts and happiness. Why is this happening? The roller coaster of grief, the unknown – while keeping vigil from afar. Only Dyana, our step-mother, is at Dad’s side 24/7.

Events, places, music, vacations, food, and the familiar flood our memory banks. Like it was yesterday! Tears, farewells, journaling, while we wait. Last Monday morning after receiving news that it is time, my initial feeling was hopeful, even joyful for Dad. I found myself singing a version of the gospel song Soon and Very Soon by Andrae Crouch.

Soon and very soon we are going to see the King. No more dying there . . . no more crying there . . ., he is going to see the King! Hallelujah, Hallelujah, he is going to see the King!

No new news, his death delays, another morning, another evening; another day closer to his eternal home. Dad awaits his final transition, his last breath on this earth followed by eternity and fullness of life. Last Monday, just thinking and praying about his home-going, I texted my farewell to Dad, to my sisters:

Soar on eagle’s wings, Dad – fly; be free, into the arms of Jesus. Love you, Dad!

Thanks for letting me share a bit. I travel Saturday to the North side of Chicago. I am hopeful for one last visit, just to keep vigil at my father’s side.

In Christ, Pastor Tim

Postscript: (Thursday, January 23, 8:00 am) My father, Norman Olsen, passed this morning a little after 6 a.m. (CST). He was peaceful in the end. Dad was listening to “The Old Rugged Cross” the past month or so, which was one of his favorite hymns. Verse 4 must have encouraged him deeply while awaiting God’s final call.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true, its shame and reproach gladly bear; then he’ll call me some day to my home far away, where his glory forever I’ll share!

So, I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.
Dad answered the call! I will miss you!

In Christ, Pastor Tim

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