Note: Written 3-18-1997 7:34 P.M. San Antonio, TX
I just got off the phone with my twin brother Donnie. Dads' lung doctor was just in, he said that Dads' heart is too weak to handle any treatments for his lung cancer. He says Dads' heart is only pumping about 15% of its volume and that dad is not getting stronger, he's getting weaker. Its just a matter of time until his heart gives out. The heart doctor is do to come in tomorrow. I talked to Dad tonight over the phone, and he said, Well son, it looks like it (life) is over, I love you." He could not talk very long because of his weakened condition. We decided I would wait to hear what the heart doctor had to say tomorrow before I made the trip up to Little Rock, AR to help Betty care for him. I looked in the refridgerator for some wine in the hope that it might dull the pain, but we didn't have any. I find it hard for my mind to accept the realities of this day. Life; is this all there is? If so, as the song goes, "then lets keep dancing, and dancing, lets have a ball."
I so wish that Bety and Dad would have - could have had more years together. Unless the Lord interceeds, it looks like that is not to be. Dad missed Mom so after she died, I quess they will reunit again. Well....who said life is fair? " Death where is your sting?", it feels more like a numbness. Maybe it's the numbness that softens the sting?
Lord we sure could use a healing mircle here, you know what I mean?
Written 8-4-1997 11:32 P.M. San Antonio, TX
Dad died on April 21, 1997 at 10:40 P.M. at Memorial Hospital in North Little Rock, AR. Betty and I (Ron) were with him, Dads breathing became very shallow. I called Betty over, a preacher she knew had just stopped by. I was standing beside Dad patting his arm. Most of the time he just wanted to feel that someone was with him, he didn't want "to die alone". His breathing continued to get weaker and lighter, and then he just didn't take another breath. I took that big deep missing breath for him, like trying to help him catch his breath. I felt for a pulse on his neck, but there was no pulse, his body was quiet and still. His jaw relaxed open; and that bothered me, so I reached up to close it, and it fell open again. I didn't try to close it again as it was meant to be. I knew that a person's hearing is the last sense to die. Betty and I had talked about reading the 23rd Psalm to him when the time came. Betty reminded me about reading it to him. I had a small copy of the passage, and started to read it to him. It was hard to get the words passed what seemed like a stone, a hard lump in my throat. I knew it could be the last thing he would remember to carry into eternity. I didn't want him to detect the pain, the sorrow in my voice or the short heavy breaths I was taking. The fourth verse conforted my soul, as I read, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL: for Thou art with me: Thy rod and Thy staff they COMFORT me." The last verse I tried to say with all the belief, all the faith, I could muster up, "and I will dwell in the house of the lord FOREVER!." Betty and I were holding each other. We had been through and shared a lot together those last several weeks of Dad's journey through the end of his life. Dad and Betty would have been married one year if Dad had lived until June of 1997. I think the Lord guided them to each other, not only to give both of them a companion, but to give Dad's remaining children a Mother's love, and his grandchildren a Grandmother's love again. It's funny how God restores things. He gave Betty to us, so we could help watch over and love her, so she would not be so alone without Dad. It is amazing; a thing meant to be bad, like death, God has made into a good thing. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Then Betty and I, on behalf of our families, delivered his spirit into the hands of God. Amen
Ronald Eugene Johnson