Monday, January 12, 2015


This week I will mark the one-year anniversary of my father's passing.

What a year.

It's interesting to me how God works.  How sometimes He prepares your heart for something in such a tangible way.  Sometime during 2012, I had a strong sense that Dad's days were numbered.

In some ways, it wasn't a huge revelation.  Dad was completely bent over, so thin and feeble.  And his mind was rapidly receding into a faraway place.  He'd had a couple of mini-strokes in the previous years, and his diabetes was taking its toll.

But still...

He was DAD.

He'd always been a large figure in my life.  Literally, at 6'3" and around 230 lbs., he was a LARGE figure!  I can remember how some of my friends were intimidated by him.

One funny story?

My dad's mother and father loved to travel.  And they brought home gifts. One year, they gave my dad a black silk robe.

Flash forward to one night when a couple of guys thought it would be "great fun" to drive up our steep driveway, ring our doorbell, and peal out.  Well, they drove up our driveway, skidded into a planter, and tore up quite a few plants that You-Know-Who had planted (Dad!)

The car's tires got stuck in the mud – spinning out of control with no traction.

Suddenly, Mr. Martial Arts himself flung open the front door!

At the same time, the car found ground, and backed up at 1,000 mph, sped down the driveway, and drag-raced down the street and out of sight.

Dad stormed out the front door and waved his fist at the departing hooligans.

Dad asked, but I never 'fessed up to who they were.

A few days later, one of the guys, a good friend, told me how very, very scared they had been!  I think they thought that Dad had earned his black belt!!  

I digress.

But this is just one of many stories when Dad's literal physical presence was such a comfort to me, such a steady source of security.  And it serves to convey how very difficult it was to see this Ivy League college graduate (who exempted all his finals), successful small business owner, one-time elder in the church, all-around BIG guy deteriorate.

And yet, as I look back, I think God was doing a merciful preparation in my heart.  I knew Dad was going…and soon.

A year ago, my dad took a terrible tumble out of bed.  

I was down visiting my parents, but somewhere else at the time.  And this day, my youngest son *just happened* to be working downstairs on a project in my dad's workshop.

I got a call from him.

"Mom, you'd better come here.  Papa fell out of bed and he's hurt really bad."

Well, yes.  He was.  Very bad.

I remember calling 911.  I remember the wailing sound of the ambulance in the distance.  I remember the unsettling and rather creepy feeling of knowing that it was coming for us.  I remember riding over to the hospital in the front seat of the ambulance.  I remember hearing Dad crying out in pain in the back.

I spent every day with him during his week in the hospital.

I went and saw him at the nursing/rehab place he was transferred to.

I got called late one night to come over.  My dad was thrashing and yelling and trying to get out of bed.  They thought that I might be able to console him.

I dashed over, settled him down, and rubbed his forehead and eyebrows until he went back to sleep.

Little did I know that these would be my last moments with him.

I was awakened at around 3:45 AM just a day and a half later, with these words:

"Is this Sharon, Mr. N's daughter?"


"I'm sorry, but he passed away."

The rest of the words are blurry.

I remember calling everyone in the family, waiting as everyone arrived at my parents' house.  Talking as we waited for my mother to wake up to break the news to her.  Her surprise at seeing all of us.  Me walking her back into her room to change out of her nightgown.

Watching her face begin to sense the truth.  

Hearing her words:

"Everyone's here.  That's nice.  Wait, did something happen to Dad?  Did he die?"

"Yes, Mom, he did.  It's going to be OK."

I held her.

These are just snippets from that time.  A time that came as a shock, but not a surprise.  You see, I feel that God had prepared me.  And when the moment finally arrived, I was upheld with a strength that could only have come from Him.

This week will mark the one-year anniversary of the day that my dad died. And yet, it really marks the day when he entered the presence of our Lord.

One year later, that makes all the difference!

I miss you, Dad, and I always will, until we meet again.

My poem for you, today.


Through life and death, I have seen it all
From the joy of celebration to the gray of death's pall,
And when the time came to say goodbye
There were moments when I wished that I could die.

For pain wounded sharp, with slashing blows
Bringing times when my hope was dashed so low,
Moments when the ache in my heart burned deep
Moments when the grief kept me from sleep.

But now a year later, I pause to recall
That your death wasn't death, not really at all,
For on that day when you left us behind
In truth our dear Lord was just being kind.

For He released you from the shell of decay
He brought you to Him on your homecoming day,
And though I will miss you every day that I live
I know there is a future that God has to give.

We will see each other once again I know
When in the Light of Heaven our faces glow,
And I will have joy, just as you do now
No more furrows will wrinkle my brow.

Freed by grace, enwrapped in love
One day I will join you in the sky above,
And then all my sorrow will fade and cease
For I will experience the depth of God's peace.

So until that day, Dad, I will hold you dear
And fight the battle against the power of fear,
For I know that there is something more to death
Than just the mere ending of earthly breath.

There is wonder when we reach Heaven's door
A beginning, a new start, and oh so much more,
For reality begins when we leave this land
Reality begins when God takes our hand.

Through life and death, I have seen it all
From the joy of celebration to the gray of death's pall,
But even though I've had to say goodbye
I know that truly, we will never die!

© Sharon Kirby
December 31, 2014

Do not grieve,
my dearest daughter.
We will meet

"My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God's Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion." (1 John 5:13, The Message)

" fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.  He is the first of a great harvest of all who have the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man...everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life." (1 Corinthians 15:20, 21, 22, NLT)

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, NLT)

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'  And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'" (Revelation 21:3-5, ESV)

Here's the Truth that serves as the beginning and the end, the *bookends* of our HOPE:

"Jesus said, 'It is finished.'" (John 19:30, NIV)

"'It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.'" (Revelation 21:6)

How does the hope of Heaven bring peace to you today?

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Sharon...what a beautiful poem and tribute to your father's memory. I wonder what it will be like to be reunited with my mom and dad when either I pass away or the Lord returns...which ever comes first. How exciting to be able to look forward to this! God Bless you as you reflect, especially during this anniversary week.

  2. Your father looked like a gentle man, despite his height! Cute story from younger years you shared here, Sharon :) What a sweet poem you wrote for him, it is so true how God released him from the decay and how free he is now, rejoicing in his Savior's presence :) It is always hard for us that are left behind when our loved ones pass before us, but always so comforting we know we will see them again and then there will be no further separation and no more tears.


  3. oh Sharon .... only God's Grace! Thank you for sharing your father, your beautifully worded poem and post as well as your grief of the loss of this precious saint from his earthly home to his heavenly rest. When I came here in the early hours of my day or insominia, I felt I had no adequate words or an answer to your final question but it did cause me to ponder more about Hope, Peace and Heaven; those gone before us ... and what could I say to bring comfort or encouragement after this long year of missing your dad and tenderly caring for your mom as you took on added weights and carried extra burdens that now the Lord has given you the word "healing" ... for you, for mom, for your family, for others ... for this is your season, your due season (I might add). I've shared my sincerest condolences and sympathy with you, Sharon over this year but time does not mark nor can my words like your wonderful tribute to your dad heal. For as you know, my hope helps me hold on and cope with my losses but for me, my grief comes and goes like the waves dancing on the shoreline and my healing or grieving has not ended (part of my problem and letting go). Clearly I have "miles and miles to go". But even more clear, from your very own words, this is where the healing begins and your dear dad filled his "Dash" well as you now can recall fondly memories with joy and sadness. His photo expresses the warmth of a smile of a dad loved, reflected in his daughter's sweet smile and the twinkle of an eye. May the joyful memories erase the sad ones so that you can Hold On Pursuing Eternity (HOPE) and find the healing of comfort, strength, love, gentle, kindness and encouragement to inspire you to press on and move forward with Yahweh Ropheka, who loves you so much as I do. (((hugs))) blessings and prayers to carry you through this week, Sharon. I love you.~Peggy

    1. P.S. I recently acquired a book in my many Kindle ones where for once the author (Kate M.) understands grief like I seem to experience it and as individual as it is, for me it is not a process (of stages) but a "cyclical journey". Yep, that was perfect for me and enough to get a copy of "Letters to Grief" and follow along on her blog. I'm not far into it ... but it speaks to me in many ways. "Finding Hope in Times of Grief" and "Grieving God's Way" were good but these letters strike me in a different way. I could hardly see myself as writing letters TO grief ... but what these letters share are so very true in my experience so far and with the losses forthcoming, I know that God has a way of preparing us and our hearts (much like you started this blog post with)... especially for ones like us, with our emotions and such ... just saying and thinking aloud <3 Peggy

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. It is hard when we miss loved ones that aren't with us anymore. I always try to remember that they are well. The pain stays here with us, but they are in eternal happiness without any sorrow.

  5. ditto to every word you said. It could have been me saying it about my own dad, but you say it better, and it speaks for me too. :)

    What a day that will be!

  6. Hi Sharon! I am so sorry that you are reliving all the events before your father's death. What a dramatic time for you and your family. We all know that our loved ones (and us) are going to back to Our Father, but it doesn't make it any easier to face.
    You were such a generous, loving daughter. You really were in charge back then, and as always, God knows what he's doing. He knew that you would be the best person to soothe your father, help your mother, and notify your family. You are a special daughter indeed.
    May God send his healing grace to you so that your heart will be gladdened in the knowledge that your father is closer to you now than when he was living on this earth. May his prayers bring you peace.

  7. Oh, my friend, your words took me back ten years to my mother's hospital room and the peace and preparation the Lord gave me through that time. He is a good God. Your tribute to your larger than life father is so touching. I understand why you are able to know Father God as the intimate little girl whose voice I often hear in the way you write. Bless you as your remember . . . and heal in your loss.

  8. having good memories is essential to dealing with the hurt and pain Sharon. I have good memories of my mom. Not so much of my dad. My mom is with Jesus. My dad still lives, although in another state and out of touch. I'm glad you have those memories to share and remember.

  9. You are in my thoughts and prayers today, Sharon. A difficult time, but like you said so well, you will see him again. We grieve with that hope. That is what comforts me too when I think about loved ones that have gone before us. Thank you for your honest share and lovely poem.

  10. Sharon, I'm so, so glad that, through Bill's site, I realized you also blogged and I decided to check it out. Oh, my, but God is so good! I lost my father last March. As I read your words here, the tears flowed again, but so did the peace of knowing I will see him again one day, and that he is at peace with the Lord.
    I'm going to follow you on the Google Friend Connect, and look forward to sharing in your journey.
    Love and blessings!

  11. What a wonderful tribute to your father. I think I remember when this happened. I know it still hurts. I know he is in Heaven looking down at you! And one day we will all be there together.

  12. Sweet dads. One year is still so fresh, too.


  13. Dads have a special place in their girls hearts - little and big girls. So glad you have the hope of seeing him again one day. It truly makes a difference.

  14. Oh, dear friend! I wept as I read your precious words! I SO understand completely how you feel. Dad has been gone for almost 15 years, and no matter how much time passes, the pain remains. There is no one like a Daddy, no matter how old we become. God bless your dear, hurting heart. May He hold you close, as He reveals to you that He is your Father...the Father Who will never die, never leave you, and never forsake you. I think when we lose our earthly fathers, our Heavenly Father becomes even more precious and dear and close to our hearts. Please know that I am here for you, always...should you need to talk or pour out your heart. You have my number, and you can call me, or you can email me anytime you need to. I am praying for you often and sending you big hugs and lots of love across the many miles!!!

  15. Hi Sharon, my dad also passed away in January, of 2012. He had is failings, he would still be here today if he had looked after himself but he was my dad and I loved him. I flew down to be with him and just missed saying good-bye. I was heart-broken. But as time goes by I remember more of the good times and funny things. I'm sad that I don't know if he reached out to the Lord or not in his last moments, but I know I tried. I also know I could have tried harder. Loved reading about your dad. Thinking of you today as you remember him.
    God bless

  16. Even when we are prepared, we are still shocked when a loved one passes on to Glory. My mother was with us three years before we found it necessary to bring her to an assisted living home specializing in dementia. The owner was so kind to alert me with soft words "You need to come visit your mother because she is soon to 'cross over the river.' " She lingered on a couple more days, and he called again, "come because it will be soon." Even then it is difficult to let go. The one assurance we have is that this is not the final good bye, only a farewell until we meet again. Thanks for sharing with us here at "tell me a True Story."

  17. I loved getting to "know" your dad through your words.

  18. What a beautiful poem written from the love of your father and the love of God, the father. Truly beyond words I could write here. I absolutely love it, because it shares the pain of loss but not a loss that is gone forever just their missing presence on the face of this time on Earth.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  19. So glad you joined us today! So thankful that we have this hope as anchor!


  20. Your post brought back similar memories when you shared that he was thrashing and yelling just one night before he died. I experienced the same in my mom and she also died in January. Your post really spoke to me!

  21. Praying good and strong memories for you this week, Sharon, as you remember how much you loved your dad. I know it's hard. :(

  22. Home sick from work today- what a blessing to read your post- praying for you and thanking God for your open heart and Spriit! <3

  23. Your poem, Sharon . . . simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing such personal memories of your father with us and how you and your family supported one another in his final days. I truly was moved by this post. And praying for you as I am sure the loss is still very fresh. Much love. xoxo

  24. What a beautiful poem in tribute to father Sharon. It's wonderful how we can look back over our lives and see how God in his kindness prepared us for the road ahead.

  25. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart and linking up with Tuesday Talk!

  26. Sharon, these are beautiful memories. I enjoyed, and was touched, by each one of them. Praying God's deep comfort for you and your family on this day. *hugs*

  27. I'm thinking about the legacies my father-in-law and grandfather-in-law left. We miss them dearly, but there is hope in knowing where they are and whose they are. Thanks for linking up this post for #ThreeWordWednesday.

  28. I read this with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face...What a blessing that you were there so much for him in his final days...and the next time you see one another it will be glorious!
    Blessings and love~ Lisa

  29. I love that you shared this here and in so doing continue to celebrate his life even if there is a gap in time before you see him again. Our losses give us compassion. Today I realized it had been 20 years since the passing of my father-in-law and I missed him. Two of my children never met him. His legacy lives on in our lives.
    By the way, my Dad is 6'6"...large presents

  30. The way of this path brings sorrow, sorrow and tears… but just for a season.

    I love the wonderful stories of the man God chose to teach you His precepts.

    Not a couple of days ago I finished a manuscript titled, "Bologna Sandwiches And Tears". It is a tribute to my dad who left to be with God on May 13th 2010… I feel your heart, sister.

  31. This made me cry! Knowing that this world can't compare to Heaven, we still miss them while we continue to live here. I will be remembering you and your family in my prayers. My dad is in poor health. He has one kidney working, and it functions only 30%. He has heart disease, an aortic aneurysm, and other health problems. I can't imagine him not being here. I can't imagine him or my mother passing away. I rather we all get called up together in the rapture. However, I know God will give me peace when I need it.
    Love never dies! How wonderful it is knowing that we will see them again, and we will forever be together.
    Love ya

  32. A very loving tribute. When we lose our parents, life takes on a whole new meaning we never could have imagined. Bless you.

  33. Loving tribute to your Father.

  34. Beautifully written Sharon, it dripped with love for your father. So glad you will see him again...what a reunion.

  35. Such a beautiful post, and marking the day one passes into the presence of the Lord, I love that. (and such a beautiful poem).

  36. I'm so sorry that you are missing him so, and I'm also thankful that he was such a great man for you!

  37. Sharon, this moves my heart in a tender place - and brings tears to the surface. I hear you, I feel your pain, in this experience. I loved this glimpse you gave us of your Dad - it made me chuckle and smile and squeezed my heart with the ache of his absence. Thank you for sharing this truly beautiful tribute to him. Peace and comfort be with you, friend.

  38. Next month will be the one year anniversary of my mother's death, so I understand all too well where you are coming from. Without Christ, it would be unbearable. With Him? Well, that makes all the difference, doesn't it?

  39. This is a wonderful tribute to your honoring! I had tears at the end too. Nice to meet you via Grace & Truth.

  40. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad.
    May you find peace in the knowledge that he is with you always

    Thank you for linking up to #SHINEblophop

  41. Thanks for sharing this beautiful, beautiful post at Good Morning Mondays. I feel truly blessed that you shared your heart with us and told us this story. What a wonderful, comforting thought that you will see him again in Heaven. Blessings

  42. Sharon, this is my second time reading your beautiful tribute to your Dad. I'm stopping by from the Grace and Truth link-up. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
    Jen :)

  43. I too have read this twice...just beautiful...

  44. Beautiful! I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my mom's passing this week and I understand every word, feeling, ache and all the love you feel. When a parent is so much a part of our lives and their legacy has made us who we are, the loss is great! Praying for you!

  45. I feel your words tonight Sharon and don't want to think of that time for my mother although she is slowly deteriorating from dementia. But I resonate with feeling being prepared. I know, even in my concern for her and my thoughts on loving her well through this season...God is preparing me. Bless you as you remember well your Dad.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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