The man who drove overland in a pasted-together-from-the-scrap-heap truck. The man who sat in a small town on the border of Iran and Pakistan with some 10 dollars in his pocket and no real hope of making it to India. The man who took me and Stefan and Premi on countless journeys, fueled by faith that God would provide (and our Lord Jesus so graciously did - over and over again). The man, who even just a few years ago showed up at Frankfurt airport at the beginning of a European tour with our dear aging mother - with the same princely sum of 50 Euros in his pocket... This intrepid wanderer now moves gingerly, managing the various pains that the cancer lump in him has spawned. His journeys are geographically very limited.
Dad's main travel these days is between his bed and the chair next to it. He prefers sitting because it is easier to manage the pain sitting. He is on morphine - which helps. But we are not talking about a medicine that allows him to run around and play basketball. This med helps - somewhat - in controlling what would otherwise have him screaming. A blessing it is. A happy-happy-no-problems-at-all-wonder-tonic it is not.
These last 48 hours have been grim. Dad vomitted copiously yesterday. He falls asleep when doing simple tasks. He is not able to keep the meticulous records of his pills and when he took them as before. Last night was very rough. Dad kept having to change positions. Sometimes lying down. Sometimes propped up seated. Drifting in and out. The odd phrase coming out showing the confusion in his mind. We were wary of giving him too many drugs as he had vomitted so violently earlier in the day. Many prayers were said at various hours. Darkness was long.
But daybreak did come. Dad was able to keep down his morning doses. In the afternoon he had a long-overdue bowel movement in response to a small intervention on our side. He listened attentively to me reading a biography of DL Moody to him.
It has been raining copiously in Lalitpur (tender mercies after 2 years of drought and many prayers), but in the late morning the clouds cleared for a bit and we got some sunshine.
Dad is determined to walk. Each day he asks to be taken out. When I saw the sun I suggested we seize the opportunity. He readily agreed.
The spirit is willing, but the legs are weak. We made it out the door. Slowly shuffling. We got near the small gate in our garden of Bethel Villa. Then Dad said softly that we should probably head back.
Dad is not passively waiting for the end to come. But he is not raging against the onset of his final days either. It is a privilege for Sheba and me to provide some care for Dad on this part of his journey - and we do so very much on behalf of Stefan and Premi and their families too. We are also blessed with helpful and supportive colleagues here at HBM Hospital in Lalitpur for which we are very grateful - and Dad and Mum have a huge cloud of dear ones praying for them - the winds of intercession are blowing towards Lalitpur city for sure.
In the very limited space in which Dad lives right now, I wonder at way that he and Mum are working through the frustrations of the limitations their lives now have. It is not easy to be dependent and we keep praying and reassuring about how much a privilege it is to walk with him these steps.
We know that our Lord has already walked before Dad and knows the number of his days. Our good shepherd is carrying his little lamb Raymond through the dark valley. And will take him safely home.