When daddy went homeward

I thought I would share with folks an old story that happened to me that confirmed for me that MAYBE the world tends toward the good no matter how thing appear at the moment. 

TRIGGER WARNING: sleep paralysis, coma, death in the following story. 

I’ve always had an issue with sleep paralysis. I wake up and cannot move. Often, it feels like there is someone else in the room. The phenomenon is often called “dark man in the bedroom” syndrome. 

This is something that happened when my dad passed away from life and went homeward into the Encompassing.

When my father was hospitalized for the last time in April 2002, I went through a great deal trying to get from Denton to Abilene. I borrowed my mentor’s car but the hood flew up and shattered the windshield when I was about twenty miles away from my home. So I slowly drove back to Denton.

Then I borrowed a car from my best friend, Eric, which overheated before I could get out of Denton.

Finally, a great pal from the UNT English Dept, Kate, heard I was in need of getting out there before something happened to daddy. So she loaded me up in her van with her two pupperz and took me all the way to Abilene. She dropped me off in front of the hospital and turned around to go right back to Denton. (That is a 5 hour round trip to make sure I was there.)

When I got upstairs, it was around 11:30pm. My brother was there with my mom. Dad lay in the bed almost like he was sleeping, hooked up to all the wires. But not sleeping. My mom and brother were so very exhausted from all that dad had been through that day. He was not really responsive to anything. The last time he had spoken to them was around 6pm when my brother got there from Waxahachie. Daddy just seemingly nodded off and would not wake up.  

I told my brother to take momma home and get some rest. I could stay there at the hospital. They left after momma held daddy for a few minutes. I hugged them goodbye and promised to call ASAP if anything happened. 

Then I sat down next to the bed, took his hands in mine, had a good cry, and prayed a bit that maybe he might wake up and say something to me. You know, to let me know he knew I was there. After about an hour, the nurse came in and asked if I would like a roll-away bed. I took the offer because it was nearly 1am by then and I was about to nod off in the chair. 

I lay down on the mattress as soon as they got it set up. I put the bed right next to his.

When I was a toddler, I slept in a bed like that right next to daddy’s side of the bed. He would sometimes wake up in the night to stop me from scratching myself. I was born with an extremely bad case of atopic dermatitis, and It has lways affected me most in my sleep, making me scratch uncontrollably. 

As I drifted off, looking at him there so fragile, I really hoped when I woke up that he would be awake too. 

Well, it happened that I had a sleep paralysis incident. But it was unlike any other that ever occurred before.

I woke up unable to move, in complete darkness. But as I got more oriented, I realized I was not able to move because someone was holding me tight. That was blocking my view. The light began to flow in as my father, who had been holding me, sat back on the cot then moved away to the bed. But I still could not move. 

The room became especially bright. 

He lay back on the bed; it was like he was laughing as he watched me attempting to get up. I still could not really move except to turn my head to look up at him. He looked totally healthy. Daddy had false teeth which were not in his mouth when I got to the hospital. Yet now, he seemed so happy with that big smile, all teeth–like everything was a-okay. 

And I fell back into sleep like I did as a child because I knew he was there to protect me.

I am not sure that it was more than a few minutes… there was a long steady beep that got louder and louder. It woke me up just as the nurses and doctors came running into the room. They asked me to get out of the way; an orderly actually moved the roll-away while I was in it so the team could get to daddy. 

The doctor asked if they should or should not try to revive him. I was like, “Revive? No, no… he was just sitting there awake and looked so healthy.” 

The doctor asked me again, “Mr. Brown, should we do this or let him go?”

I snapped fully awake, standing up, fearing that something might happen before my mom and brother could get back, “Yeah… keep him alive. I give you permission to do whatever you need to do…”

So they did. He survived… but in a coma.  

About 36 hours later, they finally removed him from life support. I was actually back at their place resting after a twenty hour stint at the hospital. 

But I never thought he died when they pulled the plug. I thought he transitioned into the Encompassing after he showed me he was okay: Sitting-up in his bed smiling at me. 

It was sleep paralysis but not a bad one like most: it was a profound spiritual experience. It doesn’t matter to me whether it was imagined, a dream, or “actual.” It was an experience of saying goodbye to someone who had protected me and cared for me. It was real to me, and it is one of my most cherished memories.

And it is the kind of thing that gives me the strength to leap-upward through faith, with hope, in love.

I am sharing this since I know a great deal is going on around all of us. It is almost like all the great things, all the wonderous possibilities we come so near to actualizing are about to cease, to vanish from out of existence.

But there is more going on all around us that lifts us, protects us, and reminds us…

Be not afraid! The Encompassing Good is always already with you. Keep on this Way: In loving struggle toward liberation, and know that no darkness can prevail against the Light.

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