My father-in-law had been in the ICU for three days, unresponsive. His family had surrounded him throughout the days, for as long as we were allowed to be there.
To my surprise, when my daughter and I arrived at the beginning of visiting hours on Thursday to take up another silent vigil, he was awake, alert, talking and so happy to see us. We were given the gift of two uninterrupted hours with him, holding his hands, and listening to him as he blessed each of our family members. He would not stop talking and reliving so many special events we had shared over the past quarter century.
He didn’t single out my daughter (his granddaughter) and myself either. He was very intentional and specific to bless each of his family, which I was able to relay to them later.
My Bible study group and I have been reading the Old Testament for the past several months. Maybe it was because of reading about the significance of blesses and curses recently, but when we left the hospital that morning, grinning from ear to ear after having spent intentional time with my second father, I felt the significance of the blessing for our entire family. Even as I write this, I am reminded of the love behind those words and the significance of that ordinary Thursday.
I remember telling my daughter that no matter what transpired in the days to come, God blessed us with an amazing a gift on that ordinary Thursday. My husband and I were able to return that evening, and his dad was still talking, still alert, and still intentional in his interactions with the family sitting around him. I was so happy my husband was able to share in the gift of that ordinary Thursday as well.
None of us knew that by morning, when we returned, eager for more time with him, he would now be in a drug-induced sleep, barely waking up again before entering into eternity five short days later.
Through the grief, I have held on to that extraordinary gift of his verbal blessings and his physical presence on that ordinary Thursday.
Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, writer, podcaster, and speaker, in that order. Cheri loves to encourage people through her fiction series and many nonfiction books, including devotionals, Bible studies, and compilation books.
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MORE CAREGIVING Information:
Caregiver’s Corner Newsletter
I invite you to join my author friend, Tracy Crump’s monthly newsletter for caregivers. Here’s her information.
Caregiver’s Corner shares short stories of joys and heartaches along with tips now and then to help you survive this season and even make sweet memories. Together, we’ll cheer and encourage each other through the caregiving journey.
Link to subscribe to Tracy’s blog
Tracy Crump knows from experience the burdens caregivers shoulder after caring for both her parents and her 100-year-old mother-in-law. A former ICU nurse, Tracy dispenses hope in her award-winning book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness Twenty-two of her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has published hundreds of devotions, articles, and short stories in diverse publications such as Guideposts books, Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, and Ideals.