Biting my tongue, I tried not to cry. The man on the other end of the telephone was breathing heavily and sporadically. When the seconds between each breath lasted too long, terror ran through my veins.
I needed more time. I needed him to breathe normally. I needed HIM. But the time had come. It was his time to go.
I could tell by his breathing pattern how my words were affecting him. When the breaths came rapidly, I knew he was becoming emotional. When they were slower, it meant he was calmer.
I told him how much I loved him; how much I appreciated my heritage and the morals and values he instilled in me. I thanked him for putting up with my incessant babbling when I got excited. I reminded him how he would offer me 25 cents to be quiet for five minutes when I was a little girl. I felt him smile inside.
I thanked him for the blessings he graciously bestowed on me for the decisions I made in my life. I knew this was often difficult for him to do, but he did it – in love.
I promised him I would raise my children as I was raised, with high morals, good work ethics, and a love for our Heavenly Father.
I asked forgiveness for all the times I messed up in my life and for any harsh words I might have uttered when I was angry.
I thanked him for the life lessons he instilled in me. As a girl, I did not understand how much of an impact these lessons would have on my life, but now realized they helped form who I have become.
He taught me to never put off until tomorrow what I should do today “Do it right! Do it now!”
He taught me to always be the first to forgive – in any situation, no matter who was at fault.
He taught me to feed my faith, instead of my fear, because what I fed would grow and what I starved would die.
I didn’t want to say goodbye. I knew it would be the last time I would say those words to him. But it was time. He could not utter any words, but his breathing told me how my words were affecting him.
“Goodbye, Daddy. I love you. Please tell Mommy how much I love and miss her too. I will see you again someday.”
Silence. It was over. He was gone.