Coming Home!

henri pote
Papa as a young soldier in WWII
Henri Pote (October 15, 1924 – November 2, 2013)

Yesterday evening, my father, Henri Pote, went home to be with Jesus.  His last hours in this life were spent peacefully, at home with Mama, speaking often of God’s wondrous grace.

It feels strange to speak of Papa’s life in past tense.  Strange, because I’m not accustomed to it…more strange because I know his life has not ended, but has really just begun.

It feels strange to speak of Papa’s peacefulness and heart of gratitude during his final hours in this life…strange because it wasn’t just his final hours…that was Papa’s life!

All my life, Papa has always been eager to talk about Jesus.  A man of many interests and knowledgable on a broad range of topics, Papa was always most passionate about teaching God’s word and speaking of God’s goodness.

The last few years, as his health has declined and dementia has taken its toll, Papa has struggled to keep up with conversation, but he’s never forgotten his love for his family or his love for Jesus.  When he couldn’t recall my name, he’d just call me “my son.”  When he lost track of the conversation, he’d say, “Praise the Lord!  God is so good!”…a phrase he knew was appropriate no matter the topic of conversation.

Yesterday wasn’t just Papa’s last day on this earth.  It was the day he has been planning for and looking forward to, all of his life!  Papa could never speak of Heaven without getting choked up.  The thought of meeting Jesus face-to-face was his greatest joy…overshadowing even his joy at the thought of seeing loved ones from years past.

This morning, I sit here filled with emotion, tears running down my face.  It’s partly sorrow…knowing life will never be the same and knowing how much I’ll miss my Papa.  It’s partly joy, knowing that Papa is finally in the arms of our Lord, whom he loves so much.  It’s partly thankfulness for the tremendous impact Papa has had in shaping my life and my character.

But, as I sit here sorting out the emotions, I realize that what I’m feeling now is exactly what Papa always felt when he got choked up while speaking of Heaven…and of looking forward to that glorious day when we’ll see Jesus face-to-face!

How could I not weep at this moment, with such an overwhelming sense of Heaven’s nearness?


[Linked to Graceful, Wellspring ]


32 thoughts on “Coming Home!

  1. We are accustomed to thinking of heroism as brash, so it’s hard to grasp how heroic your quiet, gentle Papa was, truly steadfast for God.

  2. What a wonderful Father you must have! I never had the blessing of knowing my Father, as he died shortly after I was born.

    My Mother passed away not too long ago, and so I could relate to what you wrote.

    You mentioned how strange it is to talk of your Father in the past tense. I decided not to speak of my Mother in the past tense when talking to family (I do with strangers who wouldn’t understand). When I talk to my daughter about Grandma, I don’t say “She loved you a lot,” but “She loves you a lot.” I tell her that her Grandma IS praying for her – NOW. I think that helps us a lot in our grief – It took me a while to grieve when my Mother passed – just about a year – but now I have great peace & joy when I think of her.

    May God comfort you in your loss, and bring you His Peace.

  3. I love this, Anna! To continue speaking of Papa in the present tense, knowing that he is very much alive, just not present!

    Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Dear Joe
    Oh, I think this is the greatest legacy your father could have left you, before going to join our Pappa for all eternity! Your sorrow is also filled with so much hope for you know you will be reünited once again!
    Blessings XX

    • “…I think this is the greatest legacy your father could have left you…”

      Yes, I believe so, too, Mia! We miss him now, but it is with the realization that the separation is only temporary.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. You will be thought of in my prayers for healing and strength. I know God will comfort you, He promised He would.
    We are so very blessed to have been brought up in Christian homes. I thank God every day for my Christian parents. I really enjoy your posts, Joe. You are a very gifted writer for God whom I believe speaks the truth of God’s word and I also believe He looks down on you and smiles. A LOT. God bless you Joe.

    • Thank you, Monica! I appreciate that!

      And, yes, we are so very blessed to have been raised in Christian homes!

      Blessings to you, my dear friend!

  6. Oh, I’m so sorry to read this, Joe. It’s never easy losing a parent, even when we know it’s in their best interest to go. My dad died in 2010, then 7 months later my mom died. She’d had dementia for awhile, and hadn’t called me by name in quite awhile either. But she was still such a sweet mama.

    So thankful we know God takes good care of those we love until we can rejoin them.

    Praying for your comfort. So glad you shared the picture–it’s wonderful!

    • Thank you, Lisa!

      I was so blessed by your post at growingupcofc, this morning! I loved the memories you shared of worshipping at home, singing hymns.

      Thank you, so much!

  7. Oh, Joseph, I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a beloved Papa! May God continue to comfort you in your grief and let you see your Papa home, at last, in heaven. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

    • Thank you, so much, Nancy!

      Yes, it is very hard…but also very good…not unlike attending my children’s graduations from high school…but much more intense…

  8. I’m praying for you, Joe, in this tremendous loss! I can relate because my dad was a man who loved God deeply and his life was taken through a swift and aggressive cancer about six years ago. But even in his painful last days, he was still praising God, much like your father. What a blessing we’ve had to have such godly men for fathers–inspiring us and mentoring us in our faith! You’ve reminded me today of that huge blessing, Joe!

    • “What a blessing we’ve had to have such godly men for fathers–inspiring us and mentoring us in our faith!”

      Yes, such a blessing! Thank you, Beth!

  9. Joe. Blessings in great measure to you in your grief. Thank you for sharing your nice Dad with us. I look forward to meeting him if it isn’t too confusing with so many there in heaven. He seems like a wonderful man…and as odd as it is, I find that so much of a person shows through the words we share as bloggers…it seems there is a lot of him in you. I am praying for you who are still here, and happy for your dad. God bless you, friend! Diane

    • You know, I really cannot write or speak of Papa without also feeling acutely aware of how similar I am to him…and feeling incredibly thankful for the impact he has had on my life.

      Thank you, Diane!

  10. Joe, your words of love, loss, and longing touched my heart deeply. What a remarkable man your Papa was; and what a remarkable post this is.
    I am grateful you’ve shared this with us.

    • Yes, Papa is a remarkable man and has been such a positive inlfuence in my life, in so many ways.

      Today, we had the honor of joining Heaven’s celebration of the fulfilment of Papa’s deepest longing and the completion of his greatest joy!

      Thank you, Denise, for joining that celebration, here in the blogosphere!

  11. Blessings to you and your family. God blessed you with a good man — and I was equally fortunate. When I feel that pain, I breath a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the years I had with and then try to live out his legacy.

    • Thank you, David! The funeral was today, and it was truly a celebratory worship service.

      Worshipping with my family, celebrating Papa’s entry to Heaven, felt like we had a little glimpse of Heaven, right here on Earth!

  12. You were – and are – blessed to have had the dad you had, and the time you had with him. Loved your post – and the other commenters thoughts are tribute to what God did with him and through him. Thanks for sharing him with us, Joe!

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