Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's so much closer than we know...

The last few days have been a complete whirlwind....my Father-in-Law passed away very unexpectedly Tuesday. With only hours to understand it all and before we realized what was happening, he was gone. I'm trying to understand and be strong, but it's so hard right now. We live across the country from all of our family and having to hold it together for my kids, alone, is very hard.

My husband received the call on Tuesday that he needed to get on the next flight out of Tampa and get to San Diego as fast as he could. Things were bad and it was more than just needing a miracle. Within a 48 hour period he developed an extreme case of pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital on Monday. He made some great progress by Monday evening, things were looking good as we expected. He's a young 65-year-old...and we didn't really panic at that point. I mean, they just bought their plane tickets. They were coming to our house in 2 weeks to spend the holiday with us. It's been 7 years since our kids have been able to celebrate Christmas with family and we were so excited! We couldn't wait for them to get here...we were emailing just this past week, counting down the days and making final plans.

By Tuesday morning, everything that could be wrong and bad, was. A turn for the worse in the middle of night made it almost impossible to keep him breathing on his own. The dreaded early morning phone call made my heart stop as a I saw the area code on the caller ID. I knew it had to be bad. At first I didn't want to answer it, but I did, and with a pit in my gut got the news that he wasn't okay. I honestly don't remember the conversation, but I had to tell my husband to be prepared to head to California. I don't think it even set in then...until the midday phone call with more panic and a plea to get there. My husband immediately came home from work, grab a suitcase and headed to the airport. I felt like I was standing in the middle of busy subway watching everything around me fly by and feeling completely helpless. My husband gave me a hug....a long one, and I knew in my heart that when I saw him again he would be different. I could feel his pain already.

My husband called me from the Atlanta airport while getting ready to board his next flight and there were no sounds but the background noise of the airport. He must have just gotten a phone call or an update and whatever it was it was bad. I knew he was tyring to collect himself together so he could speak. With a deep breath he said that his family called him and told him that he needed to know that his dad probably wouldn't be with them by time he got there. Things were just moving to quickly....he said more but at that time my heart began to break as I pictured my sweet husband getting on the back of a plane, with tears and pain that were indescribable....and all alone. I wanted so badly just run out the door and go to him. I just wanted him to feel my hand or something...I could not even fathom the pain he was going through at that moment, all by himself.

His plane departed and I waited patiently at home, all the while trying not to alarm the kids yet. And then the phone rang again...as I heard my MIL say my name I just knew. She didn't need to say a thing. I knew his time had come. As I sat there on the kitchen floor, we just cried together wishing we could just touch each other and make some sense of it all. I waited up for my husband to arrive in California, and knew that I'd be the first person he'd call. And he did. I couldn't talk when he called, and as I tried to say the words he already knew. As we sat there in silence I realized he was still on the plane. He hadn't even gotten off yet.

The last 2 days have been an emotional roller coaster and I know that this is just the beginning of a long road. My husband has told me that his world is no longer the same....life has changed. He can't explain it, but I know it hurts so deeply. Deeper than I can ever imagine. His quiet sobs from 2000 miles away anger me, sadden me, frustrate me, because I can't hold him. But i know he needs to be there. Telling our children was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....watching their sweet little spirits go from bright and bubbly to deep sadness that would forever change them was heartbreaking.

In this horrible pain, I know that this is not a goodbye, it's just a see ya later. He's finished the test here on Earth. His work will continue on, he has errands somewhere else. Somewhere close by, just a little farther than those of us here on Earth want. I've developed an even deeper gratitude for my Savior and Heavenly Father, yet again, for the knowledge and faith that I've been blessed with. I know that this is not the "end". This is just the beginning for him and as our lives continue on here, his life is beginning in a place we all long to go one day. I'm thinking, given the chance, he'd never wish to come back here...who would ever want to leave the beautiful presence of heaven? It's so much closer than we know....and I feel that right now.

13 comments:

lmerie said...

There are no words to help with a sudden loss of a loved one, but I will keep your family in my prayers.

Hayley said...

So sorry for your loss....it's so sad to hear stories like this at any time of the year, but around the Holidays, it's especially heartbreaking. May God comfort you and yours and give you strength each and every day to get through this time.

Melissa said...

I want to hug all of you. Your strong faith will help you get through this time. Your family has an amazing strength, you are all in my prayers.

heather said...

A hug to you and your family. My prayers are with you all.

ThereO said...

My heart breaks for you. The pain of losing a father-in-law is made doubly difficult because of the pain you feel for your husband's loss. My father-in-law moved on to heaven just 2 and a half years ago and it continues to be a big hole in our lives. May I recommend a beautiful book for your children (and yourself) called "Tear Soup." It really helped my children experience their loss and in a healthy way and it also helped me to help them.

I will be praying for your sweet family!

Jen said...

My thoughts & prayers are with you all. This is such a hard passage. I like what you said about his life "beginning in a place we all long to go one day." So true.

Linda said...

Tara, I pray that your strong faith will hold and comfort you through such a difficult time. I rejoice that your father-in-law is now with Jesus. But I ache for the pain you and your family is going through. If you feel comfortable telling me your in-law's, husband's and kids' names, please email me, and I will pray for them by name. God will know regardless though and I will continue to pray for all of you.

Peggy said...

Oh Tara, what sad news. I will pray for your family.

Denise said...

As tears are rolling down my face Tara, I wish I could be there to give you a long hug right now! I ache for Shawn too. Im so happy that you have such a strong faith because though at times like these its okay to be sad you and your family have a comforting understanding that there is some place greater than this that your father in law is able to watch over all of you...

KO said...

This brings back so many feelings from the past year and I truly understand and can feel your pain. Our family is in prayer with yours right now and will be for as long you need. As you go through the next couple months, please, please keep in thought and prayer...it truly is the only way to bring healing. If Shawn or you need anything while on this side of the planet, DO NOT EVEN HESITATE TO CALL!!

Always all our love,
Matt and KO

Lisa said...

This brings back memories of loosing my dad 16 yrs. ago. I was only 29 at the time and it was sudden and unexpected. The grieve was indescribable.
I am so sorry.

Lisa Q

Margaret said...

We feel your pain .... we also had a family loss two nights ago and we can't go home to be there with anyone to mourn. It really sucks and what's worse is that I don't think it's hit my husband yet and I fear the day it does ....

Chelle said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.