GUEST POST Written by Kim Doucette
My dad and I were always very close. Even as a teen, we would sit up late into the night talking about the wonders of science and the nature of reality. Seeking the hand of God. He was a very curious man. I grew up and moved out, married, had a child, but returned home to mom and dad when she was just a babe. So I’ve lived with my Dad most of my life.
We lost my Mom to cancer in 1989. I promised her on her death bed that I would take care of him. A promise I kept willingly, even when it was hard. For twenty-four years we were a team and my Dad saw me through a lot of tough life.
When his health started to fail I took over his chores, taking care of more and more of his needs, until he was unable to leave the house and the last two years of his life our home became his nursing home. I was so grateful that I had been laid off and forced to start my own business which allowed me to be there for him. Only one of the hundreds of ‘right timing’ things that God had done for us in our lives together.
Through the years I had three requests of God that I prayed often: that Dad would not die alone, that he wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home, that he wouldn’t have a long hospital stay. I had no idea how God would do this, but it’s not my place to tell Him how to do His job so I just left it with Him.
The most dramatic of those ‘right timing’ things was the day Dad died.
Before going to see my daughter that day I checked in with him as I always did (every morning I would wait to hear sounds from his room so I would know that he was still with me…..). On that morning he had had a very rough night with angina. Not unusual but troubling just the same. When I got to my daughter’s house I called the pharmacist to see if there was anything we could do to make him more comfortable. Our pharmacist was one of the huge blessings God had given us, part of a wonderful medical team that was right around the corner from our house and that worked with me to take care of him.
She said all we might try was a puffer to get more oxygen into his blood. I was on my way to do groceries but called Dad to let him know I would pick up the puffer on my way back. I wanted to ease his mind that help was on the way. Turns out I never did my groceries. Dad was in very bad shape (but didn’t call to let me know, men!) so I picked up the puffer and went right home. I was so glad I had checked in with him!
The rest of that day was extraordinary, if difficult. He was unable to get out of his chair but wouldn’t let me call an ambulance. I kept him comfortable while praying for wisdom and googling to see if there was anything else I could do for him. At one point I told him ‘You know, you’re having a heart attack honey’. He said ‘Yes, I know’, very calmly, and continued watching his TV. I was at his side all day, touching him. I told him I loved him. It was all so peaceful. I contacted my brothers to alert them of the situation, but by dinner time the angina had passed and I started to think he was out of danger.
Then everything changed.
Suddenly he had severe pain in his stomach and extreme shortness of breath. Alarmed I stood and raised my arms to heaven and prayed ‘God, come into this room! We need You!’ And come He did, with a powerful wave of His presence. He told me it was time to call the ambulance, so I convinced Dad that they would come and give him oxygen and that would make him feel better. He was still refusing to go to the hospital but agreed that I could call them.
They arrived swiftly and as they worked on him I let them know he didn’t want to go to the hospital. I knew that wouldn’t stop them but felt I needed to express his wishes out of respect for him since he was unable to speak for himself by this point. The paramedic just gave me a look and carried on with her work. They loaded him into the ambulance and I followed, climbing into the front seat. I called back to him ‘I’m here Dad’. Then I felt a huge burden lift from my shoulders. The medic in the front started asking me questions. We weren’t moving. I found out later that Dad’s heart stopped beating in the ambulance right in front of our house. He died there. They kept starting his heart and doing their medical things, but I know that was the point when he left.
We got to the hospital and they sent me to a new waiting room they had just redone. It was lovely and peaceful. I was alone and could pray. And the presence of God was so strong. I felt complete peace. It wasn’t long until they came to report. They could start him up but as soon as they stopped intervening his blood pressure would drop. I told them to let him go. The doctor also told me later that since Dad had died while under the care of professionals there would be no need for a coroner and everything would be very simple.
When I look back on that day I can see that God answered every one of my prayers: that Dad would not die alone, that he wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home, that he wouldn’t have a long hospital stay. God’s split second timing allowed me to spend as much time as possible with my Dad. He only really suffered intensely for a very short while, then he was free. When I got home later that night I could see him in my spirit, doing what I had asked him to do when he got to heaven, jumping up and clicking his heals.
God showed us His great love and His awesome power that day. I know I am loved.
How has God revealed His love to you? Share your story here.
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2 thoughts on “GUEST POST: The Day My Daddy Died”
I am very much in a care givers role for my Dad now and I am so grateful for the time we have together every day. God is the giver of time and the taker of time so who am I to argue that power that is so perfect.
What a great perspective Paul. Thanks for sharing!