I can't do this. I'm not ready for this. I don't know how to walk this path. God, I just can't do this.
Those were all of the thoughts running through my head as I sat at my dad's bedside after being diagnosed with renal failure and was contemplating his next steps of dealing with this new disease.
It was April 15, 2019 and I had taken my mom up to see him. While he said he wasn't going to do dialysis, my mom had other plans for him and she was on a mission to make sure he followed her plan. I stood by and watched as she worked her influence over her husband of 62 years. When he said no, she said yes and his reply was, okay. And I breathed a sigh of relief.
I wasn't ready to watch him die. I couldn't do that. I never spoke my concern out loud because I wanted to be the voice of confidence. The voice of fearlessness. The voice of possible while looking in the face of impossible. So I kept my fears to myself and spoke life and possibility over a man who did not believe he needed Jesus as his Savior.
While my mom's mission was to keep him around as long as she could, my mission was to keep him around until he accepted Jesus, then when I knew we would meet again in heaven and I could handle his death.
Over the next few months, he went on dialysis. It was a life saver and changed my perspective of dialysis. This is a miracle of modern medicine that isn't necessarily a death sentence but something that gave us life.
When I took him to sort through the paperwork at one of his first appointments, they presented him with a Do Not Resuscitate form. As he put his pen to the paper to sign it, he looked at me and said, "Is this okay with you?" This was my first glimpse at a soft spot in my dad when it came to death. The first chink in his armor that he had kept polished and puncture-free for years.
You see, I had shared the Gospel with him before. He took us to church when we were kids, his mother raised him in church, this was not a strange concept for him at all. But he had never taken that next step to give his life to Jesus. He said he didn't need to, he knew the Ten Commandments and lived by the Golden Rule. He said he was a pretty good person. Without a doubt my dad was a great man and no one would question that, but being a great man is not a ticket to heaven.
My sister and I had been burdened for his salvation for years and now our days were numbered and our prayer was fervent.
Ready to sign his name to the DNR, I said, "That is totally up to you, but I would rather you know you were going to heaven before you sign it." He put his pen to the paper and signed it. This was the first of many exchanges we had about death and eternity.