My Father's Death (You can't make this stuff up)
I usually don’t write about things like this, but I just could not resist. You may think that writing about a parent’s death might be a bit morbid, but for me it’s comforting because I know where my Dad is.
I Know Where to Start
Here’s where I begin. My parents met in New York City where my Mom was a student, originally at Julliard where she was pursuing a career in Opera – that woman can “sang” some Opera. My father was a veteran of the Korean War who had found himself, after the war, a transporter in the garment district of New York City; people meet in the weirdest places. Anywho, they met and married. My Mom was a strong woman, whereas Dad went along with the flow. Mom knew that Dad could do more that just transport merchandise around New York City so she encouraged him to apply at the Post Office where he did and began to work and subsequently, retired from the post office. Whew! Now we have real benefits.
Fast forward to three kids, i.e., two girls and a boy; I’m the youngest and my brother was squashed in the middle. We grew up in St. Mary’s projects in the South Bronx. Thank goodness we lived on the third floor; you know in case the elevator went out at least we could walk upstairs to our apartment unlike the poor folks who could not if they lived on the twenty-first floor. Fast forward twenty-one years later my parents divorced, well, Mom left, but she did tell Dad ahead of time, but I don’t think he believed her. She stashed money all around the apartment and I knew where it was. Money was in the two red wall sconces that were located over the hounds tooth sofa. Money was rolled up in the curtain rod ends located over the living room windows. My brother and sister were older than I. Tod was finishing up his last year in high school, and was to stay with Dad until he finished school, and Kim was too grown and was on her own. It was a Thursday when Mom and I left. I remember, Dad coming into my bedroom and kissing me on my forehead and said, “See you this evening when I get home.” I was thinking, “No you won’t” Mom and I will be gone, but I didn’t say anything. Fast forward, to Georgia Mom and I went and Mom and Dad divorced which took a while to happen. We kept in touch through the years, but not as often as we would have liked.
Dad remarried and his wife was the lady on the 12th floor of our apartment building. She had three kids too; two girls and a boy about our ages and we grew up together, played together. Dad and his second wife moved to Durham, NC where we did have family on his side. Anywho, they stayed married for over thirty years. WOW! I was grateful my Dad did have someone for so long. My Mom didn’t remarry – I guess she said once is enough.
The Hospital Visit
Fast forward, you know as you get older sometimes your body doesn’t act right, well I did visit my Dad in the hospital and my Mom, yes, my Mom went with me to see how he was doing. On the six-hour drive from Atlanta, GA to Durham, NC Mom and I talked and had a great time as we always do; my sister now calls us “Thelma and Louise.” We drove straight to the hospital where everyone was cordial to one another as it should have been. My Mom and Dad’s wife spoke briefly. While all were out of the hospital room, I spoke with my Dad about God. If anything happened to him I wanted the assurance that he had a relationship with God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I led him through prayer referring to Romans 10: 9 – 10. My Dad’s wife was a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t exactly know what their belief system is, but I know that when my siblings and I were young my parents sent us to a Christian camp during the summer months, and I am EXTREMELY grateful for that. The name of the camp was El Rancho De Paz and it was located in Owego, New York. Anywho, Mom and I stayed one night in a hotel and returned to Georgia with assurance that Dad would be ok, and I was confident Dad knew The Lord.
Heaven cannot be compared to this earth!
The final call on Earth, but the beginning in Heaven
Fast forward, more years passed, and Dad and I phoned each other not quite as often as we liked and I sent cards. During my phone calls I reminded my Dad that he accepted The Lord and he would agree; he’d say, “I know baby, I know “Kris-cross” (my nickname). Fast forward to June 18th, Father’s Day 2017, I was on my way to perform an audit in Tennessee and my cell phone rang and my Dad’s wife’s name came up – my heart sank right then. She says, “Krissie, it’s your Dad, he’s had a heart attack and he’s at Duke Regional Hospital.” I asked if he were breathing on his own and she said yes. I asked when did he have the heart attack and she said a couple of days ago – REALLY? And you’re just now calling? Anywho, I prayed for my Dad, got to Tennessee, and checked in again with his wife and her older daughter who had come down from New York and was in Durham, NC. Now this is where things get wild. I found out that my Dad’s wife had been in the hospital for three weeks, and eventually had to have surgery; I don’t know what the surgery was for, hence the reason her older daughter coming down from New York. My Dad goes to visit his wife in the hospital, and has a heart attack. On my way to my audit on that Monday, June 19th the hospital calls me – “Hello, is this Krissie?” “Yes.” “This is _____ from Duke Regional Hospital.” “Wait, did my Dad expire?” “Unfortunately, he did at 5:35 this morning.” “Ok, thank you for calling.” I got to the facility in which I was to perform my audit, called my Mom, cried, and told her I had to pull it together in order to get through the audit. Thinking to myself, “So you mean to tell me that my Dad’s wife is in her hospital room and my Dad’s body is in the morgue in that same hospital?” I know the stress level for my Dad's wife must have been through the roof. Yes! My assurance – Daddy is with The Lord! Now, my Dad’s nickname was “Fisher.” Well, the name of the funeral home – Fisher Memorial Funeral Parlor. An obituary can be posted for the funeral parlor at Whopassedon.com. If you’re laughing at the name of the funeral home and the domain name, my sister and I did too; oh, and by the way, my sister and I did not make ANY of the arrangements. Oh, I forgot to mention that my brother passed away in December 2012. Now remember that my Dad passed on the day after Father’s Day, Monday, June 19th, the funeral, Friday, June 30th.
One more thing, I asked my Dad's wife's older daughter why the funeral was not being held at The Kingdom Hall because his wife was a Jehovah's Witness, and she said, "That was not your father's religion." What a confirmation! My sister and I made arrangements to fly in and to fly out for the funeral. Remember people, my Dad no longer lives here; he is with The Lord.
Last, but not least, I asked my Mom (Dad’s first wife) if she wanted to come to the funeral and she declined, wanting to remember my Dad, as living. Our family's prayers for my Dad always availed much – James 5: 16. We will see him again!