Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

The Tear

“If you want to be sure he hears you, talk to him when you see his brow furrow. At that time he will be in a lot of pain but will also be more alert. At this time you will want to give him a couple of drops of morphine to make him comfortable.”

These instructions came from the caring hospice nurse as my mom, my brothers, our spouses, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my dad’s closest friends as we gathered around his bed on April 19, 1999.

Daddy was coming to the end of his life here on earth. He was getting ready to step into eternal life . . . a life away from the pain of cancer. How could we ask him to stay? To continue fighting his battle? To hold out a little longer? We couldn’t. Once the hospice nurse explained to us the pain he was experiencing and told us his organs were shutting down we knew it was time to let him go.

So, around the bed we waited with him, for there was no other place we would rather be. It had been early in the morning when we heard his last words as he called out to my mother. The rest of the day he was still and quiet as he moved closer to his new home. All day we waited with him. Family and friends came to tell him good-bye and stayed. How do you say good-bye to a loved one? Minute by minute until they take their last breath. And that’s what we did. We sat and talked around his bed so he would know he wasn’t alone. And that is when the nurse gave the medicine dropper to one of my brothers.  The nurse told John to watch daddy’s face and if he seemed to be moving or his brows beginning to furrow, then he was in pain and John needed to give daddy three drops of morphine. She went on to say at this point there was no reason to make him suffer, however this was also the time he would be most alert.

At first I don’t think we realized what she was saying, but as her words begin to sink into our grief-striken hearts we began to understand that at this point he may be able to hear us. For the next couple of hours we would watch for any sign of him being in pain. At that moment John would carefully give him a few drops of morphine as we all took turns talking to him. We took those moments to tell him we loved him, to tell him good-bye, and to assure him we would all be together again some day.

A painful look, three drops of morphine, words of love proclaimed. We didn’t know if he heard us, but we continued doing this all afternoon. As the sun was setting on this, his last day, we began to wonder if he actually could hear us. Once again a painful look, three drops of morphine, words of love proclaimed. But there was one particular time we knew he heard us because as we took turns talking to him we noticed rolling down his ashen face . . . the tear.

You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; . . . ”  (Psa. 56:8 NKJV)

John Leland King, Sr.

Dec. 11, 1934 – April 19, 1999