Monday, November 18, 2013

crossing paths

Dad, September 2011

My dad was the person who knew me longest in life, nearly 59 years: more than twice as long as my mother. While I'm not sure he knew me the best of anyone, it's possible he did, more than I realize. Even when years and distance separate you from your child, don't you know him well? I know what will make my children laugh, what touches them, what they like to do, and how they might answer a question.

But as dementia claimed Dad's mind like an enveloping fog, I was incredibly saddened that he became more and more distant. Dementia is cruelly possessive, it claims a victim as its own. In the last year of his life Dad didn't ask about my family; not my husband, children or grandchildren. He slipped from us bit by bit. The many photos we sent filled his bulletin board and on occasion would catch his attention. But in the last month he asked Lisa, his attendant, to take them down. "I'm going to Memphis," he told her. Memphis is where he was buried.

Ethan Henry, 2 months old
I believe God's declaration, you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) and I wonder if and how the souls of babies awaiting birth are hanging around heaven. When I first met my grandson Ethan, it fascinated me that he loved to put his head way back and stare straight up. Jill and I took the children on a short walk and Ethan gazed up at the sky the whole time, as if looking for something. It made me wonder. Although Ethan was born five days before Dad's death, did they somehow meet? Whose paths cross in heaven, and when?

I do wonder, but God reminds me in the Bible that He has things well in hand. And thankfully, this world isn't all there is.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

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