Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 1996 -Home Free!!

This is a date that I will never forget. It is a date that has changed our family - my life- forever. It is the date that my earthly father went home to be with his Heavenly Father. Too soon? At age 43 - yes! but not too soon in God's will and timing. To us, as a family, it doesn't always make sense.

Little did I know that Saturday, April 13th, 1996 would mean such dramatic change for our family. I was the oldest of nine children (still am!) but had just moved out of the house and was "on my own". My Dad was one of my favorite people. He was funny. He had that dry sense of humor like, very witty. We thought a lot alike. Perhaps that is where I get some of my humor... I can only think (hope) that's where it is from. Maybe that is why we got along so well. But he had a hard time "letting me go".

I missed him too... The day he passed, I thought about stopping in at home earlier that afternoon just to say "Hello", but I didn't. I had other stuff to do - a wedding in the morning, shopping.... and a movie-night with friends. In fact I remember hanging out at my girlfriends house (we were eating something before going to the movies) and I felt a shock go through me, head to toe - I don't know why, but I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was 8pm! and that was that.

On my home to my apartment that night. It was raining pretty heavy and I thought to myself, "I'll have to see if Dad can help me get new wiper blades for this car"... at the same time I had the radio on and the program being aired at the time (I don't recall who or what it was) but I remember the man saying something about things happening for a reason - things that we don't always understand but it's always part of God's master plan. I continued the few miles home thinking about that statement. NOT KNOWING -yet- that I would live out those very words in just a few short minutes.

Imagine the shock of getting home to my apartment that night, after being out late, and finding a note on my table to call home. " It's an EMERGENCY! No matter what time, Call home!" This was way before cell phones (especially for a conservative Mennonite family)... and I lived in a basement apartment below my cousin Ruth and her husband... so she had left the note. My cousin said to me later that it was the hardest thing; lying in bed -waiting for me to come home- because she could hear my car coming up the road knowing what I had to face when I came through my door. To this day, I am so grateful that she was there for me that night. I/ we all did not sleep much that night.

To make a long story, more on the shorter side... I found out that he died at/around 8pm that night. That my brother, who was nine, at the time, basically saw it all happen. That according to my Mom, it seemed that he had this premonition... he kept saying to my Mom through out the day that he loved her and the children... he saw the Chiropractor earlier that day in hopes to find relief for pain and discomfort he was feeling. The autopsy report stated that cause of death was pneumonia (or as best described to us as "fast-acting consuming Pneumonia").

I'm trying to remember different memories that my siblings may have had (and shared at one time or another) ... like I said there were nine of us. I was 23 at the time and my youngest brother was 3. He would say he only remembers my Dad through pictures or by the rest of us talking about him. So, obviously my memories are different then some of the others. My one sister would say "what a week!" that was (tough!), another was worried "who would teach her how to drive a car? (although I would say that she is one of the best driver's of all our family), another would have regrets of being in an "argument" per say with him that day, somebody remembered my little brothers being up in the tree house earlier that afternoon having a prayer meeting for him... I guess in praying before the meal, at dinner time, the night before, he asked the Lord for a healing touch - because he didn't feel well.

There is SO MUCH I could say about him... a humble, patient, sensitive, servant-hearted (very much behind the scenes), hardworking carpenter-by-trade (but did everything), witty... I could go on and on. He was the best!!

That's why I included the words Home Free in the title of this post. The words are from lyrics to a song, sung by Wayne Watson; "...home free eventually, at the ultimate healing he will be home free...". Someone shared this with us as a family - a gracious, gentle reminder- much needed at the time, that he -My Dad!- was Home in Heaven, free of all this world. And we will see him again. He certainly had his trials here, disappointments, heavy labor and toil, his health was "okay", although he was on medication for his mental health and well-being. He had nine kids, he was tired. A lot!! But he's FREE!! Taking him home was God's way of ultimately bringing healing to my Dad's physical needs. I really believe that.

Did it make it easy for us? No! But that is where our faith has been strengthened. Yes, time does bring healing (for those who question this). It has made us more sympathetic to others (especially those with young children) who have lost their spouses (or parent) -too young. And, like I mentioned before... we will see him again - in Heaven. That is our hope, our encouragement. Ultimately, our hope is to see our heavenly Father first - meeting him face to face. But the picture I get of my Dad - dancing on streets of gold is so precious to me. You have to understand that conservative Mennonites don't (usually) "dance" (period) but I am sure, this one is!!!!

The Lord has really been so gracious to my Mother and to the rest of us as a family, over the past 13 years. So many of our friends and family have been such a support and a tremendous blessing financially, emotionally, pratically, hugs and prayers. Thank you!! It still means a lot.

I miss my Dad. And I do think, from time to time, about all the things he is really "waiting" for us to enjoy along side of him in Heaven, yet I think about how much I cannot believe that he is not here to enjoy my blessings too. Like my wonderful husband and his two grandchildren. (Actually, he has 7 grandchildren in all, now, -somehow I think he knows that though.)

"I love you, Dad!! You being in Heaven gives me a greater desire to join you there- but only in God's timing and design - His master plan"!


  1. Thanks for sharing that. What a blessing your Dad's life was and still is even in his death as you extol his virtues and pass on your memories of him to your children.

  2. Hi Bevy,
    You have beautiful memories. As you know, my Mom went home a few weeks ago and I'm also comforted by the thought that she's whole again and waiting for us, too. I'll be thinking about you and your family today.

  3. Dear friend,

    I remember that day, well. I love you!


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