what happened to our christmas miracle?

so the last time i wrote, i shared the idea that we were all waiting for the best christmas present ever: a brand spankin’ new liver for my dad. well, clearly, we did not get that. and it definitely pisses me off sometimes. but then i remember all that stuff about god’s plan being better than ours, etc. sometimes that seems like a load of crap and just a line people use to make themselves feel better. but then i remember…god is good, all the time. he is sovereign and he has a plan. and its true, his plan is better than mine, whether i like it or not.

so we left boston on a saturday. dad was still in the ICU. but he was stable and doing much better after his near death experience. the doctors were amazed. we were told to hope for a christmas miracle. we left feeling encouraged. although we knew dad was in bad shape overall, we felt like a liver was coming. we were hopeful.

then tuesday came.

mom got a call from mass. general saying that dad had taken another bad turn and we should come to boston asap. so mom and i took off. we called meg, who had just gotten to texas for thanksgiving break, and she found a flight home. mom and i made it to boston in record time and hurried to see dad. he looked ok. his kidneys had failed and he was on dialysis. his blood pressure was low so he was on meds for that as well as six antibiotics for the infections that had gotten worse. several doctors visited with mom and i that day and things were not looking good. mom and i cried…a lot. more than we had cried before. things seemed serious.

dad was so sweet that tuesday. when we first saw him, we could see he was excited for us to be there. mom put her cheek against his forehead and he said, “that feels so good.” he needed us. he needed love and human touch. he kept wanting to hug and kiss us and he told me numerous times that i was “awesome”. i remember saying “you’re not too bad yourself.” and he said “i don’t know about that!” i think i said “i love you” about two hundred times that day. i could barely look at him without crying. he looked scared. he was more serious than he had been lately, and it scared me too.

brian got to boston around seven. dad was glad to see him. although brian and dad are completely opposite in almost every way, they had a special bond. dad kept winking at him and stretching to be able to see him. dad loved being with us. he didn’t want us to leave and he refused to sleep. i wonder if he knew what was coming.

megan got in to boston around eleven. after brian left to meet her at the airport dad said “i need megan”. he wanted us to be together. megan and brian soon arrived and we spent more time sitting. we all stayed in the hospital that night. dad didn’t sleep a wink.

wednesday was a great day and a horrible day. we spent hours together, just the five of us. we talked, laughed, and cried. dad sang to us. “oh how i love jesus! oh how i love jesus! oh how i love jesus, because he first loved me.” he also sang, “i sing because i’m happy. i sing because i’m free!” i can’t describe how telling those moments were. that was totally dad. thinking positively and focusing on christ, even while facing death.

mom, meg, brian and i went to get some lunch. we came back to dad’s room and something was different. he was confused. he had a terrified look in his eyes. his belly, where the infected fluid had been building up, looked even bigger. and it went downhill from there.

we met with the doctors. they shared with us that there wasn’t much else they could do. dad’s body was filled with infections that were growing by the second. he was on oxygen because breathing was a bit more difficult. this was it.

we went back into dad’s room. with the exception of dad, we were all a mess. tears streaming down our faces, we all gathered around his bed. we spent the next hour or two talking and reminiscing. we shared our favorite memories. we talked about being excited for dad to come home after work every day. we laughed remembering the dance we made up to the song “kokomo”. we told dad how much we loved him. we said that we wanted to raise our kids just like he raised us. we told him he was brave. we told him he was the best. we grasped his hand while we laughed and cried. he recited perfectly philippians 4:6 & 7. “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of  God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

these were the most precious moments of my life.

we shared our last words and dad fell asleep, never to wake up again. i can’t quite explain how i felt during this time. i don’t think i even know. i just wanted what was best for him. i knew he was suffering and heaven was waiting for him. that’s what got us through it. he would receive a new body with a perfect liver, and we knew that’s what he wanted.

so i guess we didn’t get our christmas miracle. but we did get a thanksgiving miracle. dad died a few minutes before thanksgiving day. as much as i hate this scenario, and its not what i wanted, its what god wanted. the greatest miracle of all is eternal life through jesus christ, and that is what dad received. the ultimate miracle.


2 thoughts on “what happened to our christmas miracle?

  1. Dale says:

    Dear Gretchen, You, Megan, and your mom are true examples of faith. Thank you so much for sharing that faith with us.Dale Kneeland

  2. Heather says:

    Beautiful Gretty. Love you.

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