The second floor of the hospital was designed for surgical patients and for patients who had heart conditions that required careful monitoring.
“Excuse me. Can you direct me to the Cardiac Care Unit?” the young lady asked the receptionist at the front information desk.
“Upstairs on the second floor, down the hall and go through the double doors. That’s the cardiac wing and your father should be in one of those rooms,” was the reply.
“Thank you so much,” replied the daughter of one of the patients. She looked calm on the outside but the look in those hazel eyes showed concern and uncertainty over exactly what she would discover once she found her father. He had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and over the past two years he had been in and out of the hospital. This time his condition was diagnosed as critical and it was time to accept the fact that his time on earth was nearing to an end.
Walking up the stairs and winding around the corridors to the Cardiac Care Unit seemed to be the longest possible trip she had made. At the end, the handle of the double doors seemed to stare back, daring her to take the final step of the journey and enter. The door opened and just off the hall in the first room to the right was the patient. On an initial glance it appeared that the gentleman was someone else, but on further examination she knew that the patient truly was her father. His light gray hair had turned snowy white and his skin was pale. Breathing tubes, heart monitors and blood pressure machines were keeping a constant hum. An IV was inserted into his arm and his veins were bruised where the needle had been inserted. His eyes looked like tiny slits and were almost closed. His entire face was swollen and he didn’t look much like the father she had once so easily recognized. As he looked up she saw the smile cross his face and it was no time until she was by his side giving him a kiss and hug.
He looked tired in spite of all the medical care but the conversation flowed easily. They talked about what had been going on in the town where she grew up. She heard the recent news about her aunts, uncles, and cousins. She listened just to hear him talk and hear some of the stories that he used to tell at home. The phone conversations had been a way to keep in touch but there was nothing compared to sitting down and having a face-to-face chat.
Life had taken both of them on a different pathway. Her father had lived in the same area for over forty years and worked as a tool and die maker. She had never met his parents but he had helped piece together information on his family so she would not forget. He had served in WW II as Army Air Force mechanic in the states. His life had seemed rather uncomplicated. She had moved away shortly after she college graduation and life afterwards had been a series of moves. Busy didn’t begin to describe the reality of rearing four boys. Her family was scattered throughout the country and her life seemed very complicated compared to his. But the bond was still there; father and daughter sharing some precious moments together.
This was to be the last time that she would see him. His body was tired and he had been fighting medical problems for over two years. Shortly after she returned to her home, she received the phone call. He had passed. One last trek home for the funeral and then she would have to wait till a greater homecoming to see him again.
The strains of the song “In the Garden” could be heard over the compact disc player. She never knew that her favorite song had been his favorite. The song took on a new meaning and peace came over her as she realized that he was in the most beautiful garden of all. This garden was one where flowers bloomed in a variety of shapes and colors. The beautiful assortment had begun as seedlings on earth and now blossomed in the light of His love. It is the place where the master gardener comes to select the most beautiful bouquet of all. Here in the garden of His care are the precious souls who served faithfully on earth. This is the place where everyone who believed can grow and bask in the light of the Son.
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