Sunday, March 18, 2012

Remembering

Dad, being...Dad :o)
March 18, 2005. The absolute worst day of my life. Have you ever seen Superman, the movie starring Christopher Reeve? Lois Lane is killed in an earthquake, and Superman uses his abilities to turn back time and saves her life. I wish I had the ability to turn back time so that March 18, 2005, that terrible and very bizarre day, would have a much different outcome.

My dad had been in Fort Collins, Colorado for a ministry training seminar. He was the associate minister of our church. He and the senior minister, Mike, were traveling home together on that Friday afternoon. Dad had called Mom and said he'd be home for dinner. He wasn't.

A little bit south of Chugwater, a car was pulled over to the side of the road. A 12-year-old boy was waving them down, so Mike pulled over to see what was wrong. The boy's grandmother was taking him and his 15-year-old sister to Casper. She'd had a heart attack and was unresponsive. Dad and Mike took turns doing CPR on the woman until the ambulance from Wheatland arrived, but they knew it was too late. She was already gone.

So they got back on the road, planning to stop at the hospital in Wheatland to check on how the kids were doing, and see if there was anything they could do to help. Mike says he and Dad were quiet, both feeling depressed about the situation they'd just been involved in. Dad mentioned he was feeling pressure in his chest, but when Mike asked if they needed to call the ambulance back, Dad figured it was just the stress of what they'd been through. But he did want to stop in Chugwater and get something to drink. So they did. Dad also bought and took aspirin.

A few more miles down the road, Dad said he was feeling better. The pressure in his chest had let up. But then two miles outside of Wheatland, he told Mike, "I'm going to pass out." Then he did. And that was that. Mike got Dad out of the pickup, and he and a trucker who had stopped tried to save him, working on him until the ambulance got there. Again, it was too late. Dad was gone.

The same ambulance crew that had just picked up the woman near Chugwater came for my dad. They later told my mom that it was the most bizarre day they'd ever had. Two people on the same stretch of road, miles and minutes apart, had died. They'd never seen anything like it. To add to the weirdness of that day, the woman traveling with her grandkids, and my dad, were both just 57 years old.

Grandpa & Megan going for a walk
My father, my mentor, my hero. Even though it's been 7 years today since we lost him, not a day goes by that I don't think about him. Today I remember all the things about my dad that I miss, which is everything. I cherish my childhood with him, the years he trained me and we worked together as opticians. He was my spiritual rock, and I miss getting to talk to him about these things. I miss his corny sense of humor and the goofy way he'd crack himself up. I especially miss seeing him with my daughter. They had a special bond, and it breaks my heart that she lost her grandpa at the tender age of 7. They were two peas in a pod and so sweet together.

Watching the geese with Megan
As a life-long Christian, I believe in Heaven. I know Dad is there, and I know I'll see him again. This knowing is really the only way this temporary separation is even a little bit tolerable. The Bible speaks of Heaven, but references are scattered. I had a general idea of what to expect, but now that my dad is there, I needed to know more, but I didn't want to know what someone else's ideas were, or what they hoped was there. I wanted to know about the real place. A book that helped me a lot was Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. He takes all the scattered information from the Bible and puts it together. But the book that helped me the most is 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper. Don Piper has been to Heaven, and I have read his account over and over, and it is beautiful.

So, today is full of memories. It's sad and bittersweet. My heart is broken all over again, but I also think about the day that I will see my dad again, in Heaven, and there is a little bit of rejoicing, too.

4 comments:

  1. That really was an awful day, for those left behind anyway. Your Dad really died a hero.

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  2. This really touched my heart. I know how my family felt, and I lived. Don't give up GOD is with you, he will comfort you, he will guide you. May GODS peace be with you and your family.

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