He looks smaller somehow, sitting in the wheelchair that is now his home, replacing legs that once chased life with vigor. He looks pale today too, I notice, more so than when I saw him last week.
He looks at me with confusion, as I bend to adjust the nasal cannula that delivers his needed oxygen. “Hey Daddy” I say softly, managing a smile while hoping he remembers me this time. His eyes search my face, he tilts his head a bit and I can see him trying. “It’s Karon, Daddy.” And he smiles.
There you are, my sweet Daddy. Then he closes his eyes and sleeps.
I wonder if he hears the song more clearly when he sleeps.
Two weeks earlier, I welcomed my first grandchild into the world, my daughter gifting us all with 9 lbs of perfect baby boy. He looks like her, she looks like me, I look like my father, and my father looks like his. Post family genes must be hardy ones, running deep in our generations.
When his beaming father places him in my arms, his blue eyes search my face the way my father’s do. I see him trying to focus, not with confusion though, but with wonder.
There you are little one. We’ve been waiting for you. While my father is forgetting who I am, my grandson is learning who I am. Then he closes his eyes and sleeps.
As he smiles in his sleep, I wonder if he hears the song.
My sister was the first to say the word. We’d all been thinking it, knowing it was soon, but I had a hard time saying it out loud. It might become real if I do. I know it’s irrational, my childish attempt to deny the inevitable. But at 89, my father is ready to go. He told us so. I don’t know how many days we have with him here, until he leaves us to sing the new song, the song of the Lamb, but we will make him comfortable and be with him as he enters the glory of our Savior.
Are my arms strong enough to hold new life and fading life at the same time?
How do I manage this upside down sense of rejoicing and mourning?
I don’t know.
But I can remember the song.
My pastor, George Robertson reminded us yesterday that God himself has been singing the song in all of eternity. It is his very nature, this song of redemption, of mercy, of a love so great that it echoes in all of creation. It is the song of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb.”
“And I heard a sound from heaven… like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne…” (Rev 14:2-3)
His arms are strong enough. The same God who ushered my grandson into this world will be there to usher my Daddy into the next.
Worthy is the Lamb.