River of Peace

Dad died yesterday. 

I have had months to think of some fancy way to say it, but that’s all I have.  He died.  He chose the day, and his lungs gave out.  He fought for 14 months with no pain, outside of the ache in his heart at leaving all of us.  I can’t imagine the strength he carried through every day, knowing that yesterday he would have to look us all straight in the eye and say “I’m ready”.

So please join with me in saying a prayer – to God, to the skies, to the universe.  In recent days, Dad had talked to us about how he felt that regardless of what the next adventure was, that he really felt that life here was heaven on earth.  He knew each day was a bonus.  And really, all things considered, the last year has been a gift none of us would have expected last May.  We had just enough time to learn to take his life for granted again, and for that I feel indescribably blessed.

I have shed my share of tears this week, and I just think of all our tears as carrying Dad on his journey.  All the tears that fall pour down, stream down the sides of the waiting place like rain drops that fall alone, but join with other drops as they are pouring down the sides of a mountain, forming veins and swails and valleys until they create a stream, and then a river.  At the head of that river is a carved boat, intricately detailed in sandalwood, with carvings in jade and engravings in gold, pictures of the days of his life, his love, his travels.  In the boat, Dad sits, straight and still.  Peaceful.  At rest.  And whether our tears are tears of love, or grief, of fear or hope, they all fall, join with others, and come together to swell under the boat.  It shifts off the sand.  It starts to slip.  And all our tears begin to lift him up, and carry him on, and set him free to find the next adventure.  He floats away.

As I watch him go I just keep wondering how we got here, and when he got in the boat because just a minute ago, there wasn’t even a boat there.  I am sure just a moment ago he was standing here with me.  At yet, there he is.  There he goes.  It makes me profoundly sad. 

But the boat is so beautiful and the river is so blue.  So I will cry a little more and help him on his way.

Go in Peace, Dad. Go in Peace.

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9 Responses to River of Peace

  1. Pam Kight says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your dad and my uncle, our prayers are with you and your family.

  2. Charley says:

    Jenine – my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I could not have put into words the beautiful way you have described your Dad’s passing. It has been almost four years since my own father passed away and the feelings rose up in my own chest when I read your writing and thought of my own Dad’s passing. These fathers of ours were truly good, loving, caring and wonderful fathers and friends. God bless you and your family.Charley

  3. Shelee Hartvikson says:

    Jenine – I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. -Shelee

  4. jennie says:

    this is lovely, jenine.

  5. Aunt Jane says:

    You are a good daughter, Jenine. What a beautiful picture you have painted…Love to the daughters three

  6. jack sgarlata says:

    Jenine and family,What warm and wonderful words you had for your father.My eyes got blury with tears for your sadness and remembering when my father pased away 16 years ago and when Phil’s dad passed away not so long ago.It’s always tough to lose a parent.My prayers are with you and your family.Jack

  7. Jill says:

    I’m so sorry Jenine. How great that he felt that life was heaven on earth. Words to live by.

  8. Kellie says:

    God bless you Jenine. You and your family are in my prayers.

  9. Jacki says:

    I cannot imagine a better tribute than your eloquent words. My tears are joining yours and sending Jim on. Lots of love and many prayers.

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