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?