Dad’s death was both a sad and joyful occasion. For me, the saddest part was leaving him in the hospital room, and knowing I’d never see him in the flesh again. As I stroked his hair, I was amazed to realize that he had very little grey hair! His hair was still quite prolific and soft. His skin, too, was smooth and soft. There was a strange feeling that kept passing over me that he would wake up at any moment. Maryanne, Stephen and I sat for three and a half hours, just looking at him and talking, almost as though he was still there with us.
On the way to Mum’s afterwards, I thought I’d just torture myself a little more by parking outside our old home in Chelmer, and contemplating Dad’s life there and in New Guinea. Man, that was hard on the system!! At mum’s place later, Mum, Maryanne and I went through lots of old photos. Wow! What a good thing that was to do! We looked at photos of Dad when he was young, and in cadets, and when he and Mum were married, the various baptisms, Port Moresby Yacht Club days, the freedom and spontaneity of life in general in Port Moresby, and the many happy times we had at Chelmer and at our house at Moffat Beach in Caloundra. They were real, and they were good. The memories of them are our’s. Looking through the photos, I realized we five had a lot of fun, and Dad was in it all. As kids, we had the VERY BEST upbringing in PNG – those days were magnificent.
Dad’s death, though VERY sad, was at precisely the right time. God was merciful. Had the time been any shorter and less painful for Dad, Dad would not have made peace with God, because he still would’ve been SELF-sufficient. Had the time been longer and more painful …. well, we know how horrible that would’ve been for Dad. But, Dad had turned his heart to God within the last two weeks of his life, and he knew that things had been made right between God and him. Dad also came to know that his life was not in his own control, but in God’s. The Word of God says in Psalm 139,
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence? …
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
ALL THE DAYS ORDAINED FOR ME WERE WRITTEN IN YOUR BOOK BEFORE ONE OF THEM CAME TO BE.”
Truly, there WAS real sadness looking at Dad’s lifeless form in the hospital bed, but for me there was also deep joy – joy in knowing that he was at peace and looking into the loving and gentle face of His Saviour in Heaven because he had surrendered his life to Him. His body lay in the bed, but his spirit was with the Father.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus comforted His disciples, and so comforts us, with these words:-
“ ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas (one of the disciples of Jesus) said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ “
Our 8 year old daughter, Joanna, read part of a hymn to me yesterday from a book she’s reading, which happened to be absolutely perfect for this time in Dad’s life ….
Till we meet in the morning,
Far above this fleeting shore;
To endless joy in a moment awaking,
There we’ll sleep no more.
I have no doubt at all that Dad is now having the time of his life; no more tears, no more pain.
—- Jacinta Mott