June and July are the months when I remember and grieve the loss of my mother (2001), my brother (2006), and my father (2019). Even though they died years apart, the anniversaries of their passings fall into these two summer months. My three siblings and I often text pictures or memories of our parents and brother, and express our love and support to each other.
I am so very thankful that my parents taught me about faithfully following Jesus in both word and deed. Both of them were able to able to express their faith up until the last few weeks of their earthly journey; my mother through singing hymns (even when she could no longer speak), and my father through stories. My oldest brother and I helped our stepmother care for dad during his last month. I kept a daily journal and recorded our conversations, of which I will share two.
Dad woke up one morning all excited to tell us about his dream.
“I was in heaven with Jesus,” he said with a huge grin.
“Was there anyone there you recognized, dad?” asked my brother.
“Well,” he said, “your mother and brother, my parents, and Jesus.”
“Who else was there?” I wondered.
Dad turned his head to look me straight in the eyes, and like a father talking to a child asking silly questions, firmly replied, “ME!”
Several times while he was talking to me, his eyes would drift over my shoulder to look out the window. I would ask him what he saw, and he would reply, “Jesus.” Once he looked back at me and quietly said, “I have never done this before and I don’t know how to do it.”
I replied, “Jesus will help you, dad.”
“Yes,” he whispered. “Jesus will help me.”
And Jesus did help him; dad died very peacefully July 15, with his wife, children and grandchildren surrounding his bed. I had a lovely image in my brain of him excitedly embracing his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is a song by Casting Crowns called, Only Jesus, about a man who doesn’t want his own name to be remembered, but only the name of Jesus. This is the chorus:
"And I, I don't want to leave a legacy
I don't care if they remember me
And I, I've only got one life to live
I'll let every second point to Him
I am so thankful that this was the legacy left by both of my parents.
In this past Sunday’s sermon, I asked, “By what Christ-like characteristic do you want to be known for? When people think of you, how do you want to be remembered?”
May we all be known as people who have been with Jesus Acts 4:13.