One More Practical Joke

My father was full of life and fun. All through the years he never seemed to let things bring him down. He was very consistent in all he did. He was a preacher; husband, father, veteran, and he just simply loved life. Dad always used humor in his sermons and he loved to see people smile. Through the years, his devotion to his family and calling were never in question.

During his retirement years he grew ill and for 2 years I watched his body and mind deteriorate. He had been in the hospital when the Dr. called me and told me that he didn’t have many days to live. I asked them to take dad back to the nursing home so my mom could spend his last days with him. They took him back that night, and the next weekend I went to visit and as I walked in his room I could see him fighting for air. This was hard on me to see him that way. The nurses told us it was just a matter of time and so I knelt down beside him.

The next few moments seemed like an eternity. He would be gasping for air, then nothing, and each time I thought this was it and I would call the nurse into the room. This would go on for a while as my dad seemed determined to keep living. The nurse said she was getting impatient with me calling her in each time I thought he breathed his last. So I told her I wouldn’t call her in till I knew for sure he had breathed his last. Kneeling by his bed I would take hand and when he quit breathing I would check his pulse. But each time he would start breathing again. Finally, I thought this was it, and as I checked his pulse it grew weaker and there was total silence.

I got closer to him and his body was lying still when all of a sudden he let out a loud gasp and started breathing, but this startled me and I literally fell back. That’s when it occurred to me. He had one more practical joke in him. In his mind I could see him saying, “Gotcha”! My dad lived 6 more hours and then he finally did breathe his last. When I think of my dad I can remember him with a smile on my face because he died the way he lived.

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