Turn for the Worst
Just three days later on September 11th, Hospice had went from giving him "a few months" to now what they assess is just simply "weeks."
But even with that news, and during a bad spell Dad was having, he told Mom that they will continue to "find joy in the sorrow," and that he embraces his suffering, because he is sharing in the sufferings of Jesus for him on the cross. He said that day that he will "continue to suffer with Jesus until he takes his first breath in heaven."
Mom asked Dad if he had anything to add for this update, and he said, "I'm feeling more and more at peace. When I talk about holding hands with Jesus I can actually see Him."
He had also texted one of his cousins who he's been very close with and shared a lifetime of memories with, and he told him, "This isn't hard at all. I received Jesus and I know that He loves me and I was baptized on September 5th by Jobey and I'm as clean as snow. And the day I take my last breath, I won't mind because I take it with Jesus and the suffering He went through for me, and the next breath will be with Jesus in Heaven. So don't worry about me ONE BIT! I love you!"
It's just been unreal. I don’t even know who this man is, and I couldn't be more amazed and thankful. My Dad had become a brand new man. I have always loved the man that he has been, but this new man was just absolutely incredible, and I just love the man that my Dad continued to become. He had become such an example and encouragement and inspiration not to just to me, but to so many. I still can't believe that I get to have this as part of my family's legacy. What is fitting for us, too, is that I asked Mom to remind Dad that "McGinty" actually means "Son of Pure Snow" in Irish, which Dad is now completely experiencing in his life knowing he is "clean as snow," even now as he faces sickness and death.
By September 16th, Dad had continued to decline, and a few days before that, though he had been comfortable and without pain, he had been speaking less and less without having really any conversations, and he had been sleeping more and more. He'd also been having some hallucinations and talking in his sleep, which is a part of what is called "terminal restlessness," a common sign that someone is at the end of life. As the Hospice nurse assessed him that day, she has said that he will most likely be unresponsive by Saturday. After that, it really is just a waiting game.
I still can't believe the incredible timing and gift we got just two Sundays before this, on September 5th. That burst of energy and liveliness that he hadn't had before that or since then, reserved just for that very special, powerful day that we will never forget was a gift that I will cherish forever. But now, knowing that the end is very near, I had wished that I could have one more meaningful conversation with him...and even as I typed out that sentence for a Caring Bridge update, the reality hit me and my eyes burned with tears in that moment knowing that I probably won't ever talk to my Dad in this life ever again.
And as much as I can tell myself "one more" conversation would be enough, I know that "one more" will never be enough. How can it be? Instead, I knew that I had to choose to be thankful and amazed at what I've had, and content with having exactly what the Lord has given me. And, I can honestly say, I am grateful, though I admit I have some work to do with the "content" part. I still want more of my Dad.
That said, I can also say that I know how excited Dad had been to meet his Savior the previous 6 weeks, and as a son, I was so overjoyed that Dad would soon be entering in to the presence of the joy of his Lord. He had been giddy as a kid waiting to see his first big league baseball stadium or his first visit to Disneyland, but even far beyond that. The last couple visits I had with him we were able to discuss some of the great trips we'd taken together the previous 4 years, and Dad would continually go back to our trip to Israel in 2019 together. He said, "I can't believe how much that trip paid for itself." Then he would begin to weep, saying, "I got to walk in Nazareth where Jesus walked as a little boy." But then, it would hit him, and in his tears he would say, "and I get to meet Him soon!"
Mom and Dad in Israel, 2019: North shore of the Sea of Galilee, top left; on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, bottom left; Southern Steps of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, right.
"One more" conversation with him in this life will never be enough for me. But I look forward to an eternity of conversations with him when I see him again, and that will be enough.
Part 11: Better Than I Deserve