In 2012, I left work and school for a while so I could be with my father in the final weeks of his life. It was a difficult time of anxious, exhausted waiting — even with the blessing of a wonderful hospice team. My family and I patiently attended to my father’s needs, being as fully present for him as possible, our one wish being that his final passage be as peaceful and loving as possible. Making it more bearable were small moments of gifted grace — a random smile from my dad, a comment or mannerism that would usher in good memories, or just the touch of his hand.
Not long after my father died, I returned to the life I had left, relying on God’s love and compassion to help me through the painful grieving. On one occasion I found myself asking God for just one more chance to hold my father’s hand, just once more. I remember feeling a little guilty for asking the impossible, but it also felt right and honest — it just happened to be exactly what my heart most needed to ask.