April 28, 2015 — Family Sadness

It’s been a challenging and unexpected month. My last post was on April 6 from College Park, Maryland where I had gone to visit Chris Garriott and his interns at the University of Maryland. We had a pleasant dinner, during which Ruth called to say that her father, Douglas Feaver, had died.

I canceled the rest of my meetings for that week and headed home first thing in the morning. Ruth’s brother John and his wife came from New Jersey on Wednesday, and her brother Peter and his family came from North Carolina on Friday. We all pitched in with funeral arrangements and all that goes along with such a time as this. I went to Philadelphia to pick up our son Peter on Thursday, and Christopher arrived that night. On Friday all the cousins arrived so that almost all the Feaver children, in-laws, and grandchildren were present for the weekend. The only exception was Stephen Green who had just arrived at his army post in Korea and could not get away.

I was asked to conduct a graveside service on Saturday morning. The funeral followed, conducted by their pastor at First Presbyterian Church. There was a reception afterward in which we were able to meet many wonderful friends. It was a sorrowful, but joyful occasion. Ruth’s father was a good man, a talented scholar, and a strong Christian. He never recovered from the stroke the previous weekend, but he died peacefully in Ruth’s presence. We will miss him greatly, but we are glad that he is with the Lord.

After the reception my family drove to Maryland to see my father who had been deteriorating. He was on Hospice care, and Hospice provides a Last Wish for their patients. Daddy asked to go to his church one more time, and the date was Sunday, April 12. When we arrived on Saturday Daddy was barely responsive. His Last Wish trip to church was canceled, so on Sunday morning we sang a couple of hymns, read scripture, and prayed as a family. Benjamin had an engagement in the evening so we left at 3:00 PM. Once before we left he appeared conscious of us. At 4:00 we got a call that he had died.

I canceled that week’s meetings also, and headed back to Maryland on Tuesday. I gave modest assistance to my brothers in preparing for the funeral on Thursday. Near the end Daddy had asked that I conduct his funeral, so I spent Wednesday preparing the sermon.

Peter had to return to Alaska on Tuesday, but Christopher was able to extend his stay a week longer. We held the funeral in Daddy’s home church and buried him in the family plot in the cemetery across the road. I made it through the funeral, although it was a difficult experience. Hundreds of friends came to the viewing and the funeral. Daddy had been a farmer and a preacher all his life, and was much loved by the whole community. He also will be greatly missed, but we rejoice that he is with the Lord.

Final thoughts: Death is always sorrowful, but there is true joy in knowing the hope of the resurrection. Both fathers were good men. Neither suffered greatly at the end. Both had their families with them at death. Both are with the Lord. For all these things we are truly grateful.