Gone home….


(a table in my son’s home—his tribute to his grandfather)

Dad passed away last night—it was 11:42 when I was called.
We’d spent the day with him and my son was with him last around 9:30 PM
His earthly journey complete…his pain and suffering no more.
As I drove back over for the second time that day, just past midnight,
I was swept over by a sense of calm knowing Dad was finally
with Mother.

I had written the following post after sitting with him yesterday.
I think it still important to share…
But just know that death has once again been overcome by
Life!

Edward Dale Nichols
March 10, 1928—March 19, 2017

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support….

it’s never like the movies

“The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until
the party is over,
and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind,
which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things”

Lemony Snicket

Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back for its ability to create
iconic and memorable snippets of life…
With some of the most captivating moments being those dramatic scenes of both death and dying.

A quick little Google search of iconic death scenes and you get anything from Alien
to Bambi, while my generation most likely thinks Love Story…
with it’s now immortalized tag line,
“love is never having to say your sorry….”

But anyone who has ever been involved in any sort of real life relationship knows that that
particular little Hollywood dribble is just a bunch of crap…
but of course, I digress….

No matter what overtly dramatized film moment you may happen to recall when thinking
classic death / dying scene…
be it an endearing tearjerker like in Titanic or a graphically
gory melee of any epic war picture,
nothing quite compares to the real life drama found in the balance between
true living and dying

Take the above image of the coffee filter filled with fresh dark roasted coffee beans…

Your brain registers that you’re looking at a coffee filter filled with coffee beans…
and because of what you know about coffee beans,
you’re pretty safe assuming that there is a strong aroma associated with the beans…
However you can’t actually smell them.

Captured images just don’t processes a smell-o-rama capability.

You see the beans….
you know they have a very strong enticing smell…
but….
because they’re sitting on a screen, you only experience them with just one sense…
that of sight.

Now Hollywood works hard on a viewer’s senses of both sight and sound in order to
coax out a physical reaction…they’ll happily surmise that they’ve been succeessful if
they think that they’ve made a viewer “feel”…
be it a physical reaction from laughing to crying to even nausea….

Yet for all their special effects, they lack the sense of smell.
And the truth be told, they lack reality.

Because whereas art tries to imitate life, it will always fall short.

Now you know with your eyes and brain that the two images here of,
first the coffee beans and now a fresh bouquet of flowers,
each have a distinct aroma or smell….
but…
you can’t actually smell them by looking at them on your screen.

You can’t touch them or hear them or smell them.

You’re just working off your previous associations…

Nothing can prepare you for reality…but reality.
The nitty gritty touch, taste, hearing, seeing, smell, feel of raw reality.

Dad’s room is now filled with coffee filters filled with coffee beans.
Not because he ever greatly appreciated coffee…
but because the Hospice nurse told us it would help with the smell.

The overwhelming smell of decay because oddly the body will fall apart quite frankly
before we’re exactly finished using it.
As in the body will begin to simply erode, decay and die while we’re still hanging on…
with the end result not being a pretty picture.

Dying is so much worse then what we see in the movies.

For there is much more to it then a Hollywood script…
For it has graphic sights as well as unpleasant sounds and sickening scents…
things that never should be imitated because the reality it simply too overwhelming.

Yet in all of this….
what I know to be true is that our bodies are merely borrowed earthly vessels in which
our souls reside before we are freed from them in order to go home as it were.

Yes I believe this.

It is nearly impossible to watch and be a part of…this eroding, this wasting…
what with the sounds, sights and smells….
because our human brains and emotions are so limited…

This body is all we have known….it is what we have seen age over the years.
It is has come to represent what and who we love, who we cherish, who we hold on to,
who we cling to…who we associate our very beings with….

It is the tangible while our God is not tangible.
It only makes sense that we anguish over its demise.

And yet, in the graphic sights, sounds and smells there remains something far greater
then the decay of age or disease..

For there once was a body that had been so grossly damaged, so horrifically abused as
it had died a slow and agonizing death.
Later it was to be washed and cleaned…
anointed with sweet oils, aloes and spices before being
wrapped in freshly woven flaxen linens.

Yet following three days, more spices were brought to be added to the tomb—
a tomb that was by now assumed to be filled with the overwhelming
stench of human decay and rot…

However, that was not the case….

For within that dark enclosure—a seismic shift of time occurred…
where once life had simply slipped away and become death….
here in this dark enclosure, death had become life…

And so now we wait amongst the coffee beans…for death, to become, life….

“No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of
Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem.
Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship.
Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb
proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes.
Death is not a wall, but a door.”

Peter Marshall

58 comments on “Gone home….

  1. David says:

    Sad for your loss Julie but relieved for you too. And these words of yours – what can I say. Continuing to remember you and your family in prayer. You are very much in my thoughts. David

    • Thank you dear David—my faithful family here has been a tremendous support and comfort…you, along with the others have listened (read) while always offering love, prayers and the support found in the family of Believers…

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    My dear friend, my heart aches along with you at your loss, but I also rejoice with you, knowing the battle is over and the victory won for your dad. May He give you the strength to get through the next steps of your grieving and to spend a little time on yourself now. For the Christian, death is merely a step into heavenly bliss. My prayers are with you.

  3. Sharing your sense of comfort knowing Dad no longer suffers, also sharing the feelings of loss with you and yours. May Our Lord Jesus Christ continue to work thru you during times like these, your loved and cared for Julie!!

  4. Julie, David & Kathy said all I had intended to say, but…

    When I read about the coffee beans, I was raising my third cup of fresh brewed coffee to my lips and experienced the aroma of Dark Italian Roast as I read. My prayer is that provides a chuckle for you today.

    Don

  5. Lynda says:

    Prayers for you and your dad who fought a valiant fight! May he rest in peace and may you be at peace knowing that you did more than was humanly possible. I have been waiting for this news for quite some time and feel privileged to have been able to be there for you even remotely. Blessings.

    • Thank you Lynda—you’ve been a part of this little journey for the duration of this blog—I can’t thank you enough for your steadfast support and constant life saving ring of prayer!!

  6. Tricia says:

    Oh Julie, I so know what you are going through and while the sadness can be unbearable, I’m hoping the comfort in knowing your dad is no longer suffering and is now spending eternity with your mom helps make it bearable.

    And oh that wonderful coffee bean aroma, what a great analogy! Art can never truly imitate life and death is real, gritty and raw; nothing like the movies as you say. There is much beauty to be found too though in the expressed love of a daughter caring for her dad in his final days. May God bless and send comfort to you and your family Julie in this difficult time.

    • Tricia your words mean so much—I thank you. It is sad and also a time of great satisfaction—it is the job well done for Dad….and the joy in knowing he is home and is no longer hurting—
      Please know that I greatly appreciate your words, thoughts and prayers—how blessed I am here to have this family of Believers a part of my life!!

  7. ColorStorm says:

    So sorry hearing about your loss jewels, but happy to hear of the promotion, even though its difficult to see through the mist.. Heartfelt post in every way.

    Can I offer a suggestion?

    Have someone read this (your essay) as a eulogy, in its entirety. It would be perfectly fine for another loved one to do it, as long as it was read slowly. It would no doubt be perfect.

    • thank you CS—your words are always a rock of unwavering strength—if you were here, I’d have you read it—as I think you could deliver the message better than I could!
      As always Colorstorm—thank you

      • ColorStorm says:

        Fellowship is such a sweet word regardless of the miles. God bless you and yours throught this time of grief knowing that our God does all things well.

        To everything there is a season………and a purpose………………..
        Knowing its coming never makes it easier. But your cataloging of your life and times with pop was awesome.

      • thank God for the fellowship!!!

  8. Sarah says:

    May he rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon him. A new beginning for you both. I will be keeping you both in my prayers.

  9. Oh Julie. It has been a tough Lent. But now your dad is at peace. As my mother-in-law said to me about her husband: he’s gone home and I’ll see him when I go home.
    We shall keep his soul and it’s journey home in our prayers. Big hugs.

  10. Julie, I praise Him that you were able to share what our Lord went through ~ death to life ~ to bring us to eternal life with Him. My prayers were especially with you yesterday, since you did not post and the possibility of it being your dad’s last day of suffering. I weep with you, but i rejoice with your dad that He has gone home to be with the Lord. I pray refreshing and blessings in this new week. :)~ Fran

  11. Melissa Presser, Lover of Jesus says:

    Praying for you Julie. For those of us following your journey, it has been a great blessing and privilege that you let us in.

  12. I know there is great sadness in this passage of your life, but I know also that it has got to be a relief to know that your dad is not suffering anymore. I pray now from comfort and rest for you and your entire family. Well done, good and faithrul servant. Tis now that you can move on with your life, remembering all the while with love, those who have gone on to be with the Lord. You stand on their shoulders and honor them well with your strength and your gifts and your faith. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

  13. SLIMJIM says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a powerful post on the the reality of death…and how raw it is. That point about the coffee beans really struck home.
    I’m praying for you and your family in light of the passing of your father.

  14. Wally Fry says:

    Hey Julie. Sorry, am a whole day behind in my reading. I’m really sorry to hear this, but yet sort of not I suppose. As Colorstorm said, happy on the promotion for him.

    • thank you Wally—the whole promotion thing is really great isn’t it?!

      • Wally Fry says:

        Well, I am certainly not in a hurry, but on the other hand it’s certainly a thing to look forward to. How are you doing? I’m still behind, so if you have already said I probably haven’t seen it yet.

      • No the last post was the one from Monday about dad’s death. We had the funeral yesterday and this is my fist day home as we stayed in a hotel in Atlanta since Monday– the 7 days a week driving back and forth for over the past month plus is going to tapper off considerably — I’ve yet had the real luxury of truly mourning as life is still so very busy but that time will come as I will miss him so…

      • Wally Fry says:

        Yes you will. Oddly ehough, this will leave more than just the hole created by the loss itself, going from being a caretaker to…not…can be hard on people as they suddenly feel without a purpose anymore.

      • so true Wally—it will take me awhile to situate his house, Gloria and my own world which had been put on a lengthy hold….

      • Wally Fry says:

        Yep…but you have lots of people pulling for you.

      • and that Wally, means the world to me

  15. Blessings Julie, so sorry for your loss. I am praying for you and your family. May the our God manifest His presence as He carries, comforts, and strengthens you through this season. I pray that just the thought of your dad beholding Jesus face to face still bring you comfort! Hugs, love, and prayers!

  16. lljostes says:

    Sending you a big hug and sharing in your sighs of thankfulness, relief, sadness and loss. Thank you for your faithful witness to God’s presence with you and your dad during his difficult homegoing journey. Praying that God will continue to give you strength to meet the challenges of the upcoming hours and days. In Jesus, our peace and comfort~ Laura

  17. Jenna Dee says:

    Love to you and your family Julie. Now it’s your time to rest and heal ❤ Love Jenna

  18. Citizen Tom says:

    God bless you and your family.

  19. Karen says:

    Remembering you and your family during this time of loss. Your father put up a gallant fight to spend his last days with you but suffered in doing so. He has now been freed from his pain and is surrounded by the love of God. Peace be with you all.

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