The wings of promise is what I'm calling this white dove. It was a gift to me from the owner of a florist shop in town. Back story...
My Daddy had been sick for a long time, diabetic, heart patient, kidney dialysis just to name a few. I had prayed many times that he would not pass from this earth to eternity without accepting Christ. When he passed I was on my way to him, going 80 mph down the highway with my mother sick in the passenger seat. When the phone rang I slowed and felt sick. I knew before I answered. He was gone. DAMN IT I was almost there, only 8 more miles to go, I glanced over at my mom. She was clueless, so I drove to the house. On the way I called my mom's youngest sister and told her, asked her to please meet me at the house. When I got there, I almost had to carry her in she was so sick. My aunt arrived, I filled her in and I was off. Not sure why I was in such a big hurry, he was already gone, but I felt the need to be there.
I arrived to find my Daddy still, cold, gray and lifeless. He looked peaceful. The room was eerily still. There sat two of his sisters and a brother. Going through old photos and chatting like it was tea time. I froze. I just stood there, not sure what to do, wanting to run away, to hide, to scream, but...I had to be an adult and take care of business. My Aunt Juliette took my hand and led me to the bed. She said we cleaned him up, he didn't suffer, he was sleeping and we were all standing around, he took one long deep breath and that was it. She smiled at me like that was suppose to make it all better somehow, it didn't. I stood at the end of the bed trying desperately not to look at him but unable too. I stood for what seemed liked hours but only minutes and then I walked over to a chair and sat.
After a few minutes I walked to the nurses station and told the nurse who I was, she gave me a sad smile and said I'm sorry. I asked her what I needed to do. She gave me a list of things, papers to fill out, things to sign and asked me what funeral home to contact.
Once this was all done I trudged back to the room. There they all still sat. I guess the look on my face told them this was not the time for a family reunion. My uncle left. My two aunts stayed. I went through the closet and dresser to gather my Daddy's things. I went through it all like a robot, not feeling, not seeing, just doing, it was the only way I could.
I then sat with my Daddy for 3 hours, it took the funeral home that long to arrive. It was a Sunday afternoon and the "pick up" guy was out of town. Those 3 hours had to be the longest of my life. I took his watch and put it on, I wrapped his Mac Tool coat around my shoulders and tried not to look at him.
As the hours ticked away ever so slowly, one by one nurses, aides and orderlys came in, none knowing he had passed, each one shocked, sorry and quietly slipping out of the room, much like his soul did.
When they finally took him away, I stood and watched them leave, not wanting to stay and not wanting to leave. Finally I climbed in the truck to head back home, my parents home, my mom's now. It was all so surreal. I sat there for what seemed like only a moment but was almost 30 minutes. Finally I started the engine and headed home.
The next several days were a whirl wind of activity, calls to be made, arrangements set, photos to gather, it was never ending.
When I made it to the florist the choice was easy, a casket spray with red flowers, his favorite color and carnations because they were readily available and he would have been upset if I had of spent more on flowers that would die anyway. He was practical and I wanted to honor him in all the decisions. My mother was no help, she was still in shock and had had a heat stroke, so she was literally out of commission. I believe God allowed this in order to protect her. She has been strong but this was all too much. So she shut down. To this day she remembers nothing.
The florist was very helpful and upon leaving the shop she caught me on the sidewalk. She held a beautiful white dove in her hand. She said "Do you mind if I add this to the spray, no cost, I just feel very heavily pressed to do this, it may mean something to you it may not" she looked a little worried. I almost lost it. In a weak voice I said "yes, please do, I have been praying for a sign that all is well, that Daddy is "home" and that I will see him again in glory. I believe this is the sign" She smiled, gave me a hug and said "I did not know him, but I feel confident that this dove was to bring you peace". I thanked her again and left.
The next day Bob from the funeral home called and said for me to stop by the funeral home to see if everything looked to suit me, HOW is it suppose to look to suit me? My Daddy is gone?!?! NO it does not suit me...this was in my head. But I went, viewed the body (because he is gone it is just a shell) he looked good, I sort of laughed, the guy must have thought I was loosing it. He asked if I was okay. I said, no this is my Daddy of course I'm not okay, but yes I am. He was even more confused. The look on Daddy's face...it was peaceful but mischievous. He had a slight smile, looked like he would sit up any moment and laugh. I saw the beautiful flowers and the dove perched on top. I smiled. He was smiling, but from heaven and I knew it would be okay. No, it would not be easy, I missed him so much it hurt but I would make it and he would always be with me.
At the funeral I gave my Daddy's eulogy. Most definitely the hardest thing I've ever done. But I wanted to honor him, to make folks at ease, to laugh, to share memories and to be honest, be in control. See, if I had to speak it would be through grace and mercy with love and if I sat and listened to a sermon I would lose my mind, fall apart and bawl my eyes out. THIS would not make my Daddy happy, so I sucked it up. Took a deep breath and spoke of his favorite foods, cartoons, his long ago temper and the things that endeared him to all of us.
We laid Daddy to rest that afternoon but in my heart he walks me with everyday and one day I will see him again, face to face in glory.
That dove sits on a shelf in my bedroom and when I look at it, I smile because Daddy is okay. No sickness, no more pain, fishing on the golden shores all the day long. The dove represents peace and a promise "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Thank you Jesus