It may seem a strange title and possibly disrespectful for some but....
Dad has been ill for some time and died late last night but I/we had a great day.
Dad had been moved to from hospital to a hospice at the start the week, and Karen and I visited him on Tuesday. Although breathing was hard he was able to communicate with the aid of a laptop and keyboard I rigged up. His first question being "where is the red wine". No change from normal.
We got a phone call Wednesday morning to say he had taken a turn for the worse so all four of us went over. We arrived just as my mum arrived to visit him. This in itself being a big job as she is house bound. My brother Graham had arranged a disabled taxi and got her there in a wheel chair. Although by this time dad could not communicate, he opened his eyes and recognised us there, especially mum, wanting to hold her hand. He even waved to her when she had to leave. Soon after that he went into a sleep.
We (me, karen, sarah and peter, my sister val, ivor, phil and ruth) spent the next 8 hours or so switching between sitting by his bed, spending time in the glorious chapel, or walking the grounds. Graham stayed with mum until she went to bed and joined us again about 8pm. Many of the hours were spent talking about things we remembered about dad.
No one wanted to leave, thinking we were in for a long night we settled into the relatives room, with an ajoining room with a couple of beds. Just as karen and sarah were settling down to get a short sleep Ruth ran down the corridor to tell us his breathing had stopped. We all ran back to his room and were gathered round his bed as he took his last couple of breaths.
Yes there were tears, both than and earlier in the day, but he got time with mum, mum had a chance to say good-bye. We all had a great time laughing about things we remembered. The place was glorious, not just the building but the wonderful grounds and views (top of a hill looking in a direction without towns/factories etc.). He was peacefull throughout, not in any discomfort or stress. We could not have asked for a better way for him to go. We have a loving God who understands exactly what we all need.
That's what I mean when I say great day. We used to say it wasn't a good party unless he went to sleep, and that is what he did at the end.