This is the P.S. to the prior post, Neil Y. Fugal's testimony (turn off playlist and hear Norma's Tribute below).
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!' Robert Browning
Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December; But the days grow short when you reach September. When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame; One hasn't got time for the waiting game. Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few – September, November – And these few precious days I'll spend with you.
I well remember Daddy singing this song to Norma that last week of his life. And reciting Psalm of Life. And many more. (And by the way, it’s the Bing Crosby version he’d have listened to, as I still have it, but memorized possibly after Frank Sinatra's version. Which reminds me of the time I said I really liked “My Way,” and he pointed out that I wasn’t here on this earth to do things “My Way.” Occasionally it is picked for a funeral number which, since his comment, makes me wince.)
September 26, 1986. The day my Dad died. It breaks my heart, even now, but underneath I do acknowledge it is intertwined with memories I’d never want to forget.
I place the experience of witnessing the last weeks of his earthy presence at the top of my treasured memories, along with the spring I was truly converted to the gospel, and the summer I studied the church's 12 steps manual.
You might think that odd, but he showed exactly what he was made of in his dying – no need to go home to set a few things straight, no lamenting, no fear. He bore his testimony both in how he lived and in how he died.
I asked him if he would give me a blessing as he never had, and then immediately felt guilty for asking. He couldn’t kneel nor even sit up, but he put his hands on my head while I knelt and among many other things asked me to strive to obtain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought he should know I already had one, but the summer of the 12 steps manual proved me wrong.
He was larger than life. And how does one get “there”? Honor. Valor. Dedication. Respect. Patience. Geniality.