These are days in which Dad is fading.
Over the last week, each day he is less able to do the things he always has done. His detailed medicine lists - where he made small diagrammes of each pill he took, and what dose, and when... that little notebook has not had any entries by him since August 3rd. The last day he wrote, the marks are squiggly.
Dad has been reading less.
Previously, he would pore over his Bible. Making small notes. Praying. These days we read to him. He sits with eyes closed. Hearing some. Dozing off for other parts.
The paper used to be a small highlight - with him asking several times in the morning whether it has come. Today it went unread.
He knows he is super drowsy and does not like it.
When he talks with people, he slips off to a kind of sleep. The portion of the day in which Dad's eyes are closed is ever greater.
Earlier he would force himself to go out for a small walk each day. The last 3 days have been walkless days. The short shuffle to the toilet takes enormous energy and concentration.
So many dear ones want to come and meet Dad. The love that the army of people around the world have for Mum and Dad is just amazing. We see the many, many who have been touched in various ways across the decades. People who are who they are today because of Dad and Mum's kindnesses to them at crucial times in their lives.
We are suggesting to most that their coming will be too painful - especially those who plan to travel large distances and have not seen him for many years. Dad just is not in a position to meet people anymore. That portion of his life seems to be swinging shut now. But we have so much hope, since we do believe in the resurrection life - a life beyond the limits of the here and now. A time when we will know and be fully known.
And so we are left with the remains of the day. The opportunities that we have had over these last weeks and months to share this life with Dad. The times of prayer and farewell.
It struck me two nights ago: Dad's tongue is now being stilled.
What he has spoken in his life has now largely been said. He will not greet people on the streets of Landour as he has always done. He will not give people small portions of Scripture in their native tongue in the trains. He will not insist on meeting the beggar and slipping him a note along with a word of encouragement and honour - and a short prayer. He will not tap away at his computer - sending some advice to a person in a distant land, ending it with sooooooooooooooooooo much love!
Those times are largely over. Dad's fund of words has been largely said. And he can rest knowing that he has said what he needs to say, and said it well.
Mum continues to love her dear husband in word and deed.
We are grateful that Narendra is with us at this time - his gentle actions and loving words are a great help as Dad slips into increasing silence.
Mum continues to sing to Dad and read from the Book of books.
They started their lives together with scripture: "will you magnify the Lord with me, and shall we exalt His name together?" and have held true to their vows across these 49 years.
They continue to speak to each other - with Mum being the more vocal one now.
It is hard to communicate when the one you love does not reply much. But love overcomes the silence and fills it with acceptance.
How much does Dad understand? How much is his pain under control? It is hard to say since he communicates so much less.
Mum has been so strong in so many ways.
We would love to see Dad 'healed' but it looks increasingly certain that his healing will take place when our Lord returns and everything is renewed. This is no cop-out. It is the very hope of glory. Resurrection.
I am so grateful for Sheba's quiet and sensible love. It is hard to be supervising your father-in-law's palliation, but the deep core of kindness in Sheba continues to play itself out in our lives.
We are thankful that we do have these days with Dad - as painful as the gradual slipping away is.
At least we are together.
At least we do have these times.
There are a host of 'what-ifs' that swarm around, but we need to hold on to the Lord and not look back.
A bitter-sweet experience for me took place the day before yesterday.
It was the Lord's day - and the family was worshipping at the RE Mission church on the HBM Campus. I was alone with Dad at home.
Dad and I remembered our Lord's suffering and triumph together.
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever to drink it, in remembrance of me," our Lord said when He passed the cup around at the end of that meal. We here in Lalitpur, the two of us also took part, and joined all those in the church 50 meters from us, and all those around the world who were joined in communion too.
Am I ever glad that Dad and I shared that meal of remembrance of the Lord's resurrection on Sunday.
I don't know if we will do so again in this age.
God be with you till we meet again;