You need to read my brother's post at ilind.net to understand my mood this morning. It's titled, "Still too Strong for his Own Good".
Our dad is aware of what is happening in his body. On the last two or three times I've seen him, he's said "I'm in bad shape." He told me before the medical diagnosis was made that he had pneumonia. He recognizes that coughing blood is not a good thing. He knows what he can no longer do, no longer enjoy. He knows there is no possibility he will enjoy those things again in this lifetime. But he will not let go.
I think he is afraid. It's a big unknown on the other side of that door. Will he walk out into empty space? Will he simply disappear from the universe? Will he, as he was promised in those church-going years of his youth, step into eternal glory? Or eternal damnation? Will he rejoin his parents and brothers who have gone before him?
Will he continue to live in the memories of those who knew him, who care about him? Will he be remembered as a good guy, or a bad guy? Will he fade out of memory and cease to exist, even there?
When my maternal grandmother was dying more than 50 years ago, her priest was a relatively young man who chose to follow his father's footsteps into the ministry. He had a gift for working with the elderly. My mother asked him one day why he, a vibrant young man, chose to work with 'old people'.
"When you are young," he said, "you need the church to give you something to live for. When you are old, you need something to die for."
I continue to wish for my father a fearless mind and a peaceful heart. Pray that he, and all those in a similar place, will find something to die for.