My Dad January 9, 2021January 9, 2021 Linny Saunders6 Comments A few hours ago my dad slipped from this earth into the waiting arms of Jesus. My dad had been hit by a car when he was 11 years old and suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. The surgeon who came to the hospital when he was brought in commented, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for his life.” Meaning he didn’t think he would ever live, let alone be able to do anything. But we serve a powerful God who specializes in healing and doing the miraculous. Over the next few years my dad would learn to talk, care for himself and walk again, although paralyzed on the left side. The accident also left him with epilepsy as well as being blind on the left side of both eyes. He graduated from high school and became a tool and dye draftsman. He was a very diligent worker. He eventually married my mom and they had myself and my brother Neil. When I was a little girl he asked Jesus to come into his heart and I’m so very comforted that he did. About four-and-a-half years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and he has been living in a Memory Care Unit in Buffalo since.Yesterday I was able to Facetime with him. I sang many verses of old familiar hymns, prayed with him, asking the Lord to send ministering angels to comfort him. I reminded him that when he met Jesus face-to-face he would no longer limp (he hated his limp), have epilepsy, headaches, or a TBI. Alzheimer’s would no longer be plaguing him and he would have his full sight in both eyes. My dad had been an excellent athlete prior to the car accident and I also reminded him how he would soon be able to run freely. I told my dad how thankful I was that he was my dad and I meant it with my entire being. I truly loved my dad. Although growing up in his home was very painful and difficult, he did some very extraordinary things over the years, including buying a “double” home (when they had zero money) to allow Dw and I to have somewhere safe to rent when we were first married. He didn’t have to do that, but it was his idea. My dad had an extra special connection with Ruby. Maybe because of her TBI, I dunno. But he loved her very much and when she was first home he made up a sweet song that he sang many times over the years whenever I called him or we saw him, “Hey Ruby, Hey Ruby, how are you today? Hey Ruby, Hey Ruby, Do you have something to say? I love you, You love me, together let’s go play under the apple tree….” My eyes well with tears. Ruby adored her grandpa and would grin and squeal when he would sing it to her. I’m so very grateful that a few years back I was able to capture a video of him singing it to her. For those who have been hanging around a long time you know that I have eluded to struggles and heartache growing up with my dad. So I just have to make this perfectly clear: Looking back over my life I recognize two very pivotal moments or decisions where I was at a fork in the road, per se. One “fork” for me was in June 1978 when I made the decision to ask my dad to forgive me for anything I had ever done. The conversation didn’t go like I thought it would but regardless, by an act of my will, I chose at that moment to intentionally forgive my dad for all the ‘stuff’. By far, forgiving my dad was the most powerful thing I have ever personally done, besides asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior (which was the other “fork in the road”). Forgiving my dad set the healing, restoration and complete reconciliation in motion. And having healing, restoration and relationship with my dad was key to being set free myself. Set free from bitterness, anger, resentment and hate. Don’t get me wrong, it was a process, but looking back, I am forever grateful for God’s help to do what I did that day. Why did I forgive him? Because friends, I have done some lousy, sinful things in my life. Personally I don’t deserve God’s free gift of forgiveness or salvation. Yet when I asked Jesus to forgive me, He did. How could I withhold forgiveness from anyone? I have been forgiven of so much. That choice at the fork in the road that day opened the door for my heart to truly love my dad and have relationship with him. And although he hasn’t known me in years because of the Alzheimer’s, I loved calling and talking to him – telling him “thank you” for things he’d done over my life, sharing memories and for helping to mold me into who I am today and always telling him over and over how much I loved him. My dad was an overcomer and his life is a testimony to God’s healing in so many ways. I love my dad and I’m so grateful my dad is with Jesus, forever healed – but oh-the-very-real-ache that floods my soul. And dad, I’m going to really miss you, I’m so thankful you were my dad and always remember your favorite daughter loved you (okay, so I was also your only daughter). PS Dad, I’m soooo jealous that you get to see mom!