On the wall she has a poem by Owen Darnell that she reads each day. The last four lines reach into her heart, and stir her unshakeable love for her husband—my father. “Just remember that I need you,” the poem reads, “that the best of me is gone. Please don’t fail to stand beside me. Love me ’til my life is done.” And without hesitation she lives her love for him over and over again. Through long days and endless seasons, Daddy lives at Autumn Cove—dementia claiming this man we all love. Jeanie, his wife of almost three years, stands beside him. She is the reason he has fought to live this long, and she is God’s gift to a man who unselfishly lived for his first wife through her years of illness.
God did not send just anyone to my father. He sent an angel who had taken care of her first husband for over twenty years of illness. He sent an angel who brightens Daddy’s day like no one else can—who touches a place in his heart that is for her alone. He calls her “My Jeanie”. I think of this verse from Psalm because the Lord has remembered my father, and shown favor to him by sending Jeanie. She rescues his fearful heart with her gentle and strong spirit. She draws him, from long ago places which have claimed his mind, back to the present. She has been his anchor in a sea that is slowly drowning him. Each day that sea takes him a little further away from his Jeanie—from all of us. And that sea will one day close over his mind, and he will no longer remember any of us.
We will always remember him. He is husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grandfather. He is Bud Hampton, who stood strong and tall—whose committed heart always loved—whose inquiring mind constantly searched—who took joy in what others often passed by. He is Bud Hampton. There is no other like him, and will never be.
Love us while we lose him, because we will not always be strong. Forgive us when we fail, because we shall make many mistakes in this journey—not only with each other, but with everyone else. Walk the journey with us when we need your hand, and understand when we don’t. There is no script to read and live that can make this road easy. But there is a love that exists beyond blood. There is God’s love that knows no boundaries. And He can send an angel, not just to Daddy, but to us.
© 2017 Lynn Lacherwww.lynnlacher.com