31 Years Ago Today (April 18)

I was worshiping when you slipped into eternity.
We never got a chance to say goodbye
because I missed your call.
Hours later, I listened to your shaky voice
asking me to call,
but I was too late.
Instead, my sister answered and said,
“I’m so glad you finally called. Dad died.”

Friends moved their baby into the other room
as I shrieked and sobbed.
News like this is incomprehensible,
even as grief pours out in a torrent of tears.
Superman, even when he’s old beyond his years and ravaged by disease,
is not allowed to die.
But you lay stiff and lifeless on your bed,
having cleaned your apartment, set things in order,
and then …

I don’t know what happened next.
They say it was a heart attack.
Were you afraid? Did it hurt?
Did you call to tell me you finally believed,
or to ask for help?
I couldn’t even lift the sheet to see,
afraid of replacing cherished images of you
with something grey and cold and gone.

I know God is more merciful than I can fathom
and I know He wants everyone to be saved.
People came out of nowhere to tell me stories
of witnessing to you in those last few weeks—
a neighbor, a friend, a stranger.
You were pursued at every turn
and it made you wonder why.

And so I hope … oh, how I hope
that in those last few moments of your life
you called to say
“I understand. I believe. I love you. And I will see you again.”

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