Our Last Goodbye
We missionaries know…..we understand full well that when we say goodbye, after furlough, that it might be the last goodbye. It makes those goodbye’s even harder to utter, then one could anticipate. We have reacted differently, at times. Sometimes falling into a sad tearful, do we really have to part? Goodbye. To the opposite of a, tough….we can do this, let’s just get on with the journey, Goodbye. And everything in between. Regardless of the attitude and the knowledge……there is also this underlying thought that surely this won’t be the last goodbye????!!!
Picture: all of Grandpa’s grandchildren at Grandpa’s farm (except Carissa)
And that is how it was when we pulled away from the Cookeville farm this past July. Waving goodbye to Darron’s parents and brother, Mike. We knew then that Darron’s Daddy’s health was failing and yet he seemed to be doing well and rallying. At this point in our journey, I was so emotionally spent from saying goodbye to my own parents, packing and anxious to get back to our home and our routine……that I was somewhat numb. I do remember us all kneeling for prayer and Daddy as always praying a blessing on our journey and our work and his earnest plea…..that we will all be ready for Christ’s soon coming. We hugged. Climbed in the van. Piped our horn as we drove down the hill. Waved goodbye out the window as they grew smaller. Then we dipped down into the valley and they were gone……
Photo: our last family photo with Dad in it.
When I think of Aubrey Boyd (Darron’s father) I think of a man who: knew his Bible and passages of scripture with an amazing recall. His passion was that people were ready for Jesus’ return. Many, many hours of his retirement he spent at the jail giving Bible studies. Sometimes he would even miss parts of family visit’s to do this. We would shake our heads at times……and yet what a beautiful legacy. He knew the A and P of the human body as well as he knew the scriptures. Those muscles that I had long forgotten after cramming for A and P exams were all as clear as test day in Aubrey’s mind. He was a faithful provider. He loved Mama, Loretta, beautifully. No job was too big and that is lived out now in my husband. Determined. Focused. A survivor. One of my first memories of meeting Darron’s family is all of them sitting around the living room giving or getting massages. Yes, Dad loved his massages. : )
To get an email stating that Daddy had died in his sleep was surreal and shocking. We knew his time was close, but surely not that close. To call my husband at 10:00 p.m. at night while he was away and break this news to him…..was far from anything I ever want to do again. To hear my husband groan for 5 minutes…… what loss. To spend three days waiting for Darron’s return home, legal papers to be put in order, and purchasing tickets while mourning was painful. To send Darron off and not follow….has pushed us all to a new level of, “oh, this is what missionary life is about.”
The beautiful part to this story, this mussing, ……is that yes, we have said our last Goodbye to Daddy. No more goodbyes and his suffering is over. The next time we will see him, it will be a wonderful, delightful “hello”, and we will not say goodbye, ever, ever again. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.