Sunday, August 21, 2016

Goodbye, Goodbye Arizona

My wife and I live in Mobile, Alabama while my immediate family live in the Phoenix, Arizona area. My wife and I visited them many times yet my family only visited us on a few occasions. We would visit them only every few years because of the long distance involved. My mom and dad are now passed away but I can still remember the last time I visited them.

My sister had called and told us my mom was dying. We arranged a trip by car to Arizona to see her. She recovered before we started our trip but we still decided to visit anyway. Mom had been on the verge of death and the doctors had considered her recovery a miracle. My mom had a stroke many years earlier and could not talk well. The lord put it on my heart to talk to her. I held a certain amount of bitterness inside for things concerning both my parents. I spent a lot of our travel time thinking about what to say to my mom. I was getting nowhere and I kept hearing God say don't worry I'll help when it is time.

When I got there I saw my mom in the hospital and she more or less seemed her old self. The next day when I visited I decided to talk to her. I was about to talk when all of a sudden a memory from years ago popped into my mind out of nowhere. It was a memory of my uncle funeral in Chicago. I had driven my mom and dad to my uncle's funeral. Afterwords my mom wanted to visit her parent's grave that was in the same graveyard. It took us a while but finally my dad found it. My mom no longer attended mass regularly and I was shocked when she knelt down and placed her hand on her daddy's grave. I heard her say two words that were clear despite her stroke. "Thank you" This blew me away. I knew at once what was happening. My mom probably had never said this to her dad while he was alive but she had wanted to. I knew now what I needed to say. God was giving me a chance to say the same thing to her while she was still alive. I looked my mom in the face and told her about this. I told her very clearly "Thank you" As I said this all the bitterness evaporated from my mind and I felt my heart lightened and at peace. I could only remember good things. Since my mom couldn't speak well I did not receive a response but I knew she heard me and would hold this in her heart.

Right before we headed back to Alabama my wife and I drove my dad back to his apartment from the hospital. When we got there I felt God telling me "OK, now your dad" My dad and I were on different pages. If he said something was white, I would say it was black. We argued a lot and he always seemed closer to my siblings than my self. I felt I could never do anything good enough for him. I told him we needed to talk so we went into his room. When we got there I knew what to say. I looked at him and I told him "Thank you" He grabbed me and put his arms around me and told me he loved me.

For the first time I felt perfect acceptance and love and was closer than I had ever been to my father. Of yes, and to my earthly father too. It was the last time I saw my mom or dad alive. The last time I saw them we were at peace. What a wonderful gift my heavenly father gave me.

Copyright 2016 Daniel Strizak

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