Today, we’re re-sharing a beautiful testimony that Sister Paula Hemmings wrote back in 2014. May it comfort those whose hearts are heavy.
When my father was first diagnosed with cancer, our family felt very optimistic that he would take his treatments and become cancer-free. We remained that way through two years of surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatments. You see, his cancer wasn’t supposed to be the type that kills you. It should’ve remained topical, so we thought, “Dad can do this.” However, as we entered into the third year of battling this dreadful disease, real concerns arose.
I won’t get into the gruesomeness of the cancer, but eventually, the doctors told my siblings and me that there was no more to be done. All treatments stopped, and they were giving him enough painkillers to make him comfortable.
Due to the “He can beat this” attitude from early on, talking to Dad about death became taboo. This bothered me as the months wore on. I needed to know what Dad wanted for his funeral.
One day, as I was driving to work, I was praying to God, asking how I should handle this situation. I had a vision, and in that vision, I saw a likeness of a man, and he told me that he was waiting for my father to stop holding on to life and that he would then “journey” with my father to paradise. I then saw a group of people, some I recognized, rejoicing that a new one was coming home. This gave me such comfort and peace. I then asked God to help me talk to Dad when the time was right.
A few weeks later, I was with Dad, grooming him. He wasn’t often “awake” but seemed to be less restless when I did this. As I was leaning over his bed, he opened his eyes, and, for the first time that day, really seemed to be aware. I knew in that moment that now was the time to talk to him.
I shared my experience, telling him of those whom I recognized, rejoicing that he’d soon be with them. I then looked into his eyes and said those very painful words, “Dad, it’s OK to let go. You don’t have to fight anymore. Your fight is over.” To those of you who have said those words to someone you love, you know how much they hurt.
He looked at me, nodded his head, and closed his eyes. Dad passed away a few days later.
Now, this isn’t the end of the miracle story. I have spent much time thinking since then, and a thought kept coming back to me that seemed very odd but that I couldn’t let go of until I spoke with a sister at a GMBA Campout. We both lost our fathers, and as we sat visiting, I shared my thought with her, and she began to do that laugh/cry thing. She had the same thought.
This is the thought that we both had: Death is as beautiful as birth. Now, I’m sure she and I aren’t the originators of this thought, but for those of you who think this is just wrong, let me explain. We all get excited when we hear of a mother giving birth. Some of us take a moment to feel sorry for the mother who had to go through the labor process. It’s painful! However, the end result is a beautiful baby that everyone gets all mushy over. Death, like labor and birth, can be painful. We seem to stop the comparison there, but there is so much more!
Death holds the reward that we have been working toward all our lives, living in Paradise with our Father! There’s a song titled “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die.” That is so true!
These days, I think of my Dad and many others who I love who are in Paradise, and I smile and, yes, I get a little mushy. God shows us how much He loves us every day, and I do my best to remain faithful so that I, too, can make my journey to Paradise.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.