Last Saturday night Johnny got a call from his mom telling us his dad had a really rough day. I can't remember the exact conversations or even the right timeline of things but, essentially, we didn't realize how bad it was until Johnny talked to the hospice nurse on Sunday after church. Needless to say, Johnny, Josh, Jacob and I threw some stuff in suitcases (Jessica was in Amarillo visiting a friend) and started toward Georgia. It's a stinkin' long way from Mansfield, Texas, to Lavonia, Georgia. We made it there the next morning and spent the next 3 hours standing and sitting, keeping vigil over the bedside of one we love so much. My boys talked to their Granddad about fun things they had done together, about great memories, about computer repairs, and about what a great role model he was of how to be a godly man. Johnny assured his dad that his mom was going to be ok. Actually, Johnny told his dad that he was proud of his mom and how strong she was. Johnny's sister was there - she laid up in the bed with her dad for a while and just loved on him. When she left the room, it was just me and Josh and Jacob watching as Johnny's dad drew his last breath and slipped peacefully into eternity. Just like that, it was over and we said goodbye to the patriarch of the Dickerson family. Heaven was richer - our loss was its gain.
It was nice to see old friends and to spend the next few days with family. Even those goodbyes were hard for some reason that I can't really explain. Packing up the car with my 4 people (we flew Jessica in from Amarillo to Georgia) - even then, being with my people - and driving away from the lake house was wrenching.
We drove straight through the night and, again, made it home in the wee hours of the morning. I don't know what I expected. Maybe for the 5 of us to sit around and share our feelings for the next few hours. (I'm so kidding) Nope, none of that. Our kids had things to do and people to see. I knew I would see Josh over the weekend but Jessica headed back to school that afternoon. We hardly saw her this summer - she was on the road working most of the summer. I know DBU is just a 20-25 minute drive from here but there's something about those kids not being here, not sleeping in their own bed, my not seeing their faces, not having them with me...
Josh is starting his last semester of his bachelor's degree tomorrow. Jacob starts his last year of high school the next week. An ending is always followed by a beginning.
So we've said some goodbyes. We've closed some chapters but we've started some new ones. I know life is supposed to go on, and it will. I told Johnny today that tomorrow life will go back to normal (whatever normal is) but it seems like it shouldn't. We keep moving forward even when we have to say goodbye.
Serving the King,