Part V - What a difference a day makes...24 little hours continued (with a song at the end)
My husband and I had just crawled into bed, leaving a soft hallway light on. For a moment, all seemed peaceful and quiet. I pulled the sheets up around my shoulder and smiled at a moonbeam filtering through the window.
Suddenly, the phone rang, piercing the stillness. Joe and I glanced at each other, but waited, assuming my stepmother, already tucked away in her bedroom, would answer it.
The we heard her muffled voice, then silence, then movement as she opened her bedroom door. I heard her little quick footsteps heading down the hallway to us.
She was sobbing. Before she uttered the words, I knew. "He's gone," she said. I burst into tears as she tried to relate the caller's information.
I remember little else, except that Joe helped us regain our composure and helped us get ready to return to the hospital. For us, for now, they were keeping Dad's body there.
Joe drove us back to the hospital. Back to the room where, just hours earlier, I'd debated whether to leave or not.
We spoke to the nurses who told us that some time after Joe and I left the hospital, Dad slipped away, quickly, peacefully. They shared some of their last details with us. We stayed in the room with his body, sharing our shock. We talked about him. We talked about today. We talked about tomorrow.
Finally, it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes and headed home to Peg's house, once again. This time, we knew we wouldn't return.
Looking back, I can't help but wonder if Dad wanted to be alone when he slipped away. I'm sure he found comfort in the fact that Joe was there for me, that we were there for Peg.
God was clearly in the details.
I mean, what made Joe change his plans and come to town a day early? He can't explain it, he just had the feeling he needed to do that. Had he stuck with our original plans, he would have arrived the day after Dad passed away. Instead, he got to see Dad and be with us.
Joe's presence changed everything. Because he was there, I went back to the house instead of staying at the hospital again that night. That was God's provision, because that meant Peg wasn't alone when she got that phone call from the hospital. She had us. A day or so earlier, it would have been a different set of circumstances.
But tonight, we were all together. Nobody was alone when they got the news.
At the doctor's suggestion, we returned to the hospital and hung out in that hospital room with Dad's body, coming to terms with the news, holding Dad's lifeless hands, listening to the nurses share details of his last moments, and doing what we could to delay the inevitable final goodbye.
It was late Monday night by the time we returned home. It was too late to call my neighbor who was keeping our three kids. That would have to wait until tomorrow.
Unbeknownst to me, things were unfolding exactly as they should.
Remember, it was a Monday night. That little bit of information will be helpful later.
Click here for a song, Blessings by Laura Story. Wait until you hear what happens next. God is always up to something, and making his presence known. We are not alone. Know you are loved!.