My dad told me he was going to die, I asked him how he knew, “Because I heard God say ‘Thursday,’” he answered. It sent a chill up my spine; it was not something I wanted to hear. That was on Tuesday April 30 and I knew that Thursday was just one day away. He was not well on Wednesday, his legs had swollen and that was not typical for him, his legs were more like a racehorse than a lamppost. He had become very down on himself for not being able to walk, to do things that he had always been able to do but God gave me a scripture for him, Psalm 147:10 “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man” When I gave that to him I think it made him feel a little better! Sorry, I digressed, the swollen legs indicated to me that it could be his heart and I was frightened. At 5PM on Wednesday May 1, my sister and I took hands and asked God for “just one more week”, he gave that to us because daddy went into his Bible study and taught with clarity and power, we were happy and thankful for that. Thursday dawned and he was very weak, there were several times that we thought he was actually going to die. He prayed for himself and said “Jesus, you’re not going to let me die today are you?” Then he began to prophesy and spoke these words, “I am not going to take you today, there is something for you to do, and I will take you another glorious day!” Needless to say my sister and I were very happy to hear those words! He rallied and told me that he was hungry, I fed him! He ate a Chick Fil A sandwich, then a piece of pizza and finally a Tamale that his grandson had brought him the night before. We slept peaceful that night. On Saturday he began to fade again and his body had not made any urine in almost twelve hours although he had been drinking a lot of water. By 5:45 in the evening we made the hard decision to take him to the hospital, upon being asked if he realized that he needed help he said that he did know that and if we didn’t “they might call the police”, guessing by that he knew he was going to die and didn’t want us to be blamed for not getting help for him. To make a long story a little shorter on Monday night we called the family in as the doctor told us he was going. He told us that his father was standing in the room dressed in a black suit. I asked if my grandfather had come to take him and he answered, “Yes”, “Do you want to go?”, “No”. But as we stood there he began to see things, there were people afar off on a city street but they were too far away for him to recognize. I was standing there and he said, “I saw my soul, it came out and I saw it!” I asked him, stupidly, “What did it look like?” He looked a little incredulous and answered “Like ME, it looked like ME it IS me!” He continued, “It’s so simple, so simple, you just go out and come back and you never feel a thing! If people only knew how simple it was!” As we all stood around and prayed and softly sang he became weaker but opened his eyes and knew it was time for everyone to go home, he asked where my brother-in-law was, he wanted me to take mother home to rest. By Wednesday the doctor was telling us to consider hospice care, which I knew was not something he would want and neither did I. She thought he might have six months but didn’t believe he would make it that long. They sent the hospice people to see me and I signed all the papers hoping to take him home even if he had to have the hospice care and walked back into the room. He was speaking softly and walked closer, “Membrane, membrane, there’s only a membrane separating us from them.” I said “Daddy what does it look like?” I was going to continue and ask if it looked like Saran Wrap when he spoke again, “Like thin plastic.” I spoke quickly, “Daddy we aren’t going to let yours get torn for a long time!” He rolled his eyes to find my face and said “Ohhh but it’s already done.” That was about the last thing he said that we could really understand. No one was there at that point except my siblings my mother and my brother’s wife. We were talking quietly and as if someone signaled to us we all three got up and walked to the bed where my sister placed both of her hands on daddy’s head, I went and had my hands on his feet and my brother was standing at his right hand. As we stood there I began to softly sing “It Is Well With My Soul” my sister and brother joined in, his breathing became more shallow, he yawned and my sister called out “DADDY”, he opened his eyes wide and looked at her, when he closed them his head dropped and he slipped into eternity as we stood with our hands on him and prayed.
I always believed that we have a cloud of witnesses around us, I always knew that the spirit of the departed could come to comfort you, that your soul could come and go and that until the “silver cord” is broken you will not die but seeing it up close and personal gives you a whole new faith in what happens in the after life. He had died on the “glorious” occasion of the 51st anniversary of the day we first walked into 2800 Piedmont Road, 5-8-1962 to 5-8-2013, and he was able to pastor his own congregation, one that he would never have to walk away from. We love you daddy and we will see you soon!