The last 24 hours have been a blur. But here is the focus. 24 hours ago we were in Mussoorie. Now we are reunited as a family here in Lalitpur. Dad, Mum, Vicky and I are here with Sheba and Enoch.
The beauty of it all. These are days of miracle and wonder...
We have received grace upon grace.
Start with 3 days ago when we made the prayerful choice to come here to continue Dad's palliation at Lalitpur. With Dad in such pain and discomfort, just moving from bed to chair being so difficult, a trip down to the doctor in Dehra Dun a basic impossibility... the idea of all of us doing the multiple legs of the journey to here seemed absurd. And yet we had' prayed and had been given an inner peace and common focus that we needed to make this decision in this way.
Just to see Dad dressed and ready to go was amazing.
And so swelled by a huge cloud of witnesses, we left the clouds for the plains.
Of the many prayer requests that were granted, the first one was this: It had rained almost non-stop in Mussoorie for days. The thought of carrying Dad up in a stretcher to Sisters Bazaar was daunting.
And lo and behold - yesterday afternoon the rain stopped. And it did not rain in Mussoorie until after we had transported Dad up using our stretcher at 8 PM.
There was plenty of mist around, but not a drop. As the twilight settled in, I could not resist taking a last shot of the Shanti Kunj gate.
Dad had to do some last minute sorting out - and what a joy to see him at his old desk, getting some of his important files.
One of Dad's life-long habits is his organisation. All the documents so neatly put away. A place for everything and everything in its place. It is times like this when the hard work and diligence he put in pays off big-time. All he needed was a few minutes at the desk and we were ready to go.
When will he sit at that desk again? Hard questions to answer of course. But we know that from here he touched the world through his emails of encouragement - and the prayers that he poured out for the many.
And so into the darkness of the night. We had 15 people materialise at the appointed hour. Most not directly invited, but there because they heard about Dad's big shift and their love for him and Mum. A quick prayer and the stretcher (first time in use) carrying Dad was borne up to Sister's bazaar by willing hands.
Another prayer at the top and we were moving down in the darkness through the twisty streets driven with extra loving care and caution by our dear Bhagat. The twistyness gave Dad nausea and after a massive bout of vomitting, I was wondering whether we could go ahead with the journey. But we prayed and carried on. Dad was fine all the way down to Dehra Dun.
On the way another party met us. Dear pastors who love Dad and Mum so much. And at the Dehra Dun railway station another group of loved ones. The train was a bit late so we stayed in Bhagat's vehicle till it arrived - and then wheeled Dad using a wheel-chair the railway provided over to the berths we had reserved.
What a miracle to be in that train and see Dad getting almost 6 hours of sleep. And that too on a noisy train - when in the thick silence of Mussoorie the slightest sound would have him clutch his chest. We are so grateful for the pain medication that morphine brings. It is not complete at this point - as Dad's pain levels seem to be spiralling up - but we are thankful for the help it gives Dad.
When the train pulled into New Delhi station - we had another set of blessings. Ram Surat, David adn Stephanie, and Raaj were there. Dad was wheeled over to the correct platform for the next train and we sat drinking coffee and talking - glad that Dad had done so well so far. Then Mum swooned. The tiredness of the past few months plain to see.
We had her lie on the bench and talk to Stephanie.
How much we felt the swell of prayer all the way through. Dad experienced pain - but this was largely controlled by the medication. He was tired - but was able to sleep. He revived and spoke to his fellow passengers much like he always does on train rides. It was almost as if we were on one of the many many trips of yore... Indian Railways has had loyal customers in the Eichers of the years.
But here it was - the seemingly impossible - Dad who was in such pain and discomfort 5 days ago - now travelling across the country - switching trains... Amazing grace!
All through the day grace was tangible. We could feel people praying for us - and are so grateful for all who did.
And so we arrived at Lalitpur station 1.5 hours late - but so full of thankfulness.
And once again we saw love in action. The HBM hospital welcoming team had 5 strong men ready to assist Dad with a wheel chair and stretcher - and they brought both the jeep and the ambulance... just in case Dad was unable to sit in the jeep. Dr. Tony Bishwas was on hand to give any immediate care needed - and Enoch was their as the family rep.
When we drove into the HBM Hospital campus it was really a sense of coming home. And there was my beautiful Sheba at the door of Bethel Villa - and with her... another amazing set of people - the HBM hospital community - with the palliative care team all ready to pitch in to help. We had returned to so much love.
Its very late at night, but we are so glad for every person who prayed for us. It is a miracle to have dad here with us in Lalitpur. We have started a new chapter in our lives together - and are so grateful to the peace of heart that God gave us to make this big step - and the fulfillment of grace through bringing Dad here with so much strength and such a wonderful sense of his old spark - given the way the cancer continues to eat away at his 'outer man.'
At the end of the day (and that is what it is now) we have had an extraordinary trip. One more twist in the long winding road of our grace-filled lives together.
Thanks for coming along on this journey with us!