Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God)( 04/10/08)
Eight Hundred Miles Away
By Mariane Holbrook
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“Your daddy’s now with Jesus,” sobbed my mother on the phone.
I felt it was the saddest day that I had ever known.
Dad had succumbed to cancer, fought the battle ‘til the end;
It seemed surreal, unthinkable, too much to comprehend.
We’d just returned from seeing him, to say our last goodbye.
The trip back South was long and hard and all I did was cry.
“When God decides to take your dad, we can’t go back,” John said.
“You know our funds are limited so we’ll send flowers instead.”
Our friends all called and most stopped by to show how much they cared.
Some brought bouquets of flowers, some brought meals that they’d prepared.
Each wished that they could help us out, but they had families, too.
And just like us, they all had bills that long were overdue.
Eight hundred miles away from home, it seemed too hard to bear.
I knew they’d all be gathering and wish that I were there.
“The service would be Sunday, held at two o’clock,” they said;
They’d celebrate my daddy’s life, and tributes would be read.
At two o’clock we dressed for church and sat in the first pew.
We’d have a service for my dad, with no one but us two.
We shared a hymn book as we stood to sing Dad’s favorite song;
“All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name;” we sang it loud and strong.
I stood there by the altar as I read Psalm Ninety-One.
My father read it often when our family prayers were done.
I talked about my father, what a godly man was he.
He’d told me Jesus loved me when he held me on his knee.
I told of all the sacrifices Daddy made for us;
He worked there on the railroad, had no car but rode the bus.
His seven children loved him for the standard that he set;
There’s nothing I can think of that he ever would regret.
John gave a lovely eulogy about my precious dad.
He told me of the times they’d prayed and of the talks they’d had.
When John discussed his plans to ask me if I’d be his wife,
Dad teased about a dowry; Daddy was so full of life.
We sang another hymn about the Savior Dad adored,
Then kneeling at the altar, gave my dad back to the Lord.
And as we left the church still weeping, John would hear me say,
“A service will be ending soon, eight hundred miles away.”
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