Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Promise....

This post was hard for me to write. But I made a promise that I will share this journey with all of you in the hopes that by revealing the story of one family, it may bring hope and peace to those on similar journeys.

 The day was similar to the last few days. I had no way of knowing that on this day, I would see my dad for the last time. I did not realize that I would be holding his hand, stroking his face, telling him that I loved him for one last day.  

I look back on the last few months since Hospice was called in. We brought my dad home from the hospital with the intention of caring for him at home, piece of cake, we could do this.  It didn’t take but four weeks to prove that theory wrong. We then moved him to a beautiful Hospice facility, Trillium Wood’s, where he was very well taken care of. All the while, I’m thinking that I am going to give my dad a beautiful death. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, especially since I’d never witnessed someone slowly leaving this world, in preparation for the next.

Dad always had a room full of people. So many friends and family members would stop by and visit with him, visit with us. His family most of all. His wife, his children, and his grandchildren. I can honestly say there was never a day he was without someone in the room with him, loving him up.

As the weeks, and days moved forward, dad got weaker and weaker. He stopped eating as much, he became less responsive, he slept more. But every day, I could always rouse him.  Rarely was he in a deep sleep. He would open his eyes, smile, and squeeze my hand. I told him I loved him, and he would whisper those words back to me.

One afternoon, while family members were at his bedside holding his hand, my mom and I sat on the couch quietly chatting. I looked at my dad, turned to my mom and said ,"There is nothing beautiful about this. Sorry. There just isn't". At least then there wasn’t.

Saturday when I came to see him he was agitated. As I sat on his right side holding his hand, he would grab my other hand and try pull himself up. Surprisingly, when he would do this, he was very strong. The nurse would come in and give him something to relax, but I could tell he was still restless.

Sunday morning I left for church before heading  back to Trillium Woods. On my drive to church, I always pray and ask God to clear my head of all the tangled, muddled thoughts I have swimming around. I pray for Him to open my heart so I can hear what He may be trying to tell me. I don’t always like going to church these days because it’s hard for me to get through the church service without crying. It’s the music that does it for me. I don’t like shaking the person’s hand in front of me, or behind me with tears streaming down my face. I can’t help it. I just leak. 

This Sunday however, the service didn’t have the same effect on me as usual. We had substitute pastor, and it just wasn’t clicking with me. That’s okay though, because it allowed me to be open for other thoughts. My mind is wondering, Bible open to ACTS...and out of the blue comes this thought:

Ask your dad when you see him to watch for Jillian once he gets to Heaven.

Whaaaaa???? Weird, but OK. 

I've been reading a short booklet called Out of My Sight. Its written by a Hospice nurse on the last stages of death, and what to expect. One of the things that is mentioned is each person faces death differently, depending on the person. If they have unfinished business, they fight death. If they have fear, they fight. If they don't want to leave their loved ones or family, they fight it. Bingo. That is my dad. He does not want to leave us.

Once I get to Trillium after church that Sunday, I tell my dad over and over how much I love him, I tell him we will all be ok. I tell him mom will be well taken care of. I told him how on Saturday, my kids came to their house and made sure the pool was taken care before winter. Jonathan looked at their sprinkler system, and how to winterize it. I reassured him that we will handle all of those details for mom. He hears me, and smiles. Then he leans towards me with both hands, takes my hands into his own, and asks me to get the car and take him home. He wants to go home NOW. He has such strength, and is SO frustrated that he can't get out of that bed. I talk with him, and sooth him as best I can. All this time, I'm not leaking, my mom is, but I'm fine.

And then I remember those words spoken to me in church. As I'm sitting on the bed next to him, still holding both his hands, I ask him if he will do me a favor. He looks up at me and nods his head yes. With my voice cracking, tears streaming unchecked down my face, I speak. "Dad, when you get to Heaven, will you wait for Jillian and be there for her when she gets to Heaven too? Will you give her a big hug from her mama? I want to be able to tell her that you and I spoke about it, and that you will be waiting for her". He looks at me. I wasn't sure if I had said the right thing, or if he even understood what I was saying. But then he nodded his head, and said yes.I kissed his forehead and thanked him.

After that, he seemed a lot less agitated. He even fell into a deep sleep. Something that I haven't seen in a while. I wondered if he felt needed, and that he has one last job to do for me. I don’t know.....but I felt good about it.

My dad never really woke up from that deep sleep. While Jillian and I, my mom, and so many other family members and friends visited him that next day, we weren’t sure if he knew we were there. I tend to think he did. And I will always, always remember the last word’s he spoke to me. “I love you”.

Leverne G. Visch, aged 83, went to be with his Lord that night, September 17, 2012, while his grandson Joshua, my son, held his hand. He leaves us with a promise, and a legacy of love.

Now THAT is indeed, a beautiful thing.



  1. Oh, Sue...I am leaking, too. Beautifully spoken words of a loving, caring daughter. I know he will be missed by everyone who knew him. I am thankful for the short time he was part of my life. I am so very glad I was able to visit with him one last time, sit on the bed beside him, and hold hands with him while we talked of family. He was very dear to me.

    Take heart that he is with many other good people, and that he will be there to welcome Jillian with open arms and the same strength that carried him proudly through life.

    I love you, my dear friend.


    1. Thank you Barbara. He leaves a huge hole in all of our lives. He was truly loved.

  2. Dear dear Sue...your gift never fails and neither does our Lord and Savior in whose arms your Father has been welcomed home.
    I pray that the words God has planted on your heart bring sustenance and peace.
    With much admiration and affection, and with deepest sympathy,

  3. Valerie,
    Thank you for your kind words. Just so you know...tethered tightly. :)

    Hugs and love to you,

    1. Hello Sue,
      Just dropping in to send an angel hug.And to let you know that candles are burning in church for all those that have left us for awhile and for those in need of prayers for cures..Jillian and your Dad especially.
      I have no doubt that you are tethered tightly 24/7 except maybe for a few seconds here and there when even God understands and accepts our human doubts and fears..
      Much love-you are always on my mind and heart.

  4. Vern was a Great Man, and truly amazing even in the end.
    He was watching out when he was here on earth and will continue to watch over.
    (marlene and verns neighbor)