More “Patches”–a father’s decline into desperation

It was the night before my daughter’s funeral and thunder rolled off in the distance. I was trying to pick out Patty’s burial dress, an event no father should ever have to do. With tears welling up in my eyes, I took from the closet what had been Patches’ favorite dress for anythin’ resemblin’ a formal occasion. The top was red cotton covered in black lace and the actual skirt portion of the dress was black lace on top of black cotton and came to just above her knees. Even though it was going to be a closed casket, I wanted my baby to be buried in something beautiful.

A caught the flash of lightning reflecting off the window to my right out of the corner of my eye and I fell to my knees, heart-broken at the fact my daughter would never see light again. She was gonna be buried in the cold dark ground and the thought of it sent chills down my spine. Patches had been ‘fraid of the dark for as long as I could remember, and now I was sendin’ her to the very thing she feared the most. God damn it. It just wasn’t right.

I laid the black and red dress on the bed carefully. I would be taking it to the funeral director early in the morning. I kissed my fingers and pressed them against the dress’ neckline, imagining my sweet daughter could feel my caress. Oh how I would have given anything to hold her just one more time.

I staggered to my room like a drunkard after a bender. Personally, I never touched the stuff, but after the last few days a trip up to Peffer’s moonshine still was startin’ to sound mighty temptin’. I needed somethin’ to take the weight of this burden off of my shoulders. I had lost my wife two years ago and now this. There’s only so much a man can bare and I was bein’ pressed far beyond my limits.

I opened the drawer on my nightstand lookin’ for a match and that’s when I saw my old Bible. I truthfully hadn’t picked the thing up in years. I still attended church, mind you, but actually picking the book up and reading it I hadn’t done in ages. Perhaps out of desperation, or simply the necessity to think of something other than my daughter’s funeral, I picked the book up and flipped through the pages. When I stopped flipping, I discovered I was at the passage where Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. I had an idea, and I know it was foolish, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I got down on my knees at the side of my bed and began praying, “Dear heavenly Father, whose son Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins, I know that it says if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed that you can move mountains. Well, here is my mountain to move: it says all things are possible through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I ask you, no, I beg you, father, bring my baby back to life. Breathe the life back into her and let her get up out of that coffin tomorrow and come running up to me so I can wrap my arms around her one more time. Please, God, she is all I have, and my soul will slowly rot and fester without her. I know you can make this happen and I believe you will. I turn over all my heart and all my faith to you. I will serve you until my dying die, just please, give my daughter back to me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

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