Pirkko Rytkonen

My Dad’s Last Day On Earth

There is a time for everything: time for birth and time for death. So often we think we will have time to get our affairs in order when the time comes to leave this earth. My dad had never indicated how he would like his funeral conducted or what kind of casket he would like, but he had one desire. He wanted to leave from God’s house. Spiritually he was ready to go and encouraged others to be ready at any time since no one knows the moment when we breathe our last breath and slip into eternity. Those were his last thoughts as he gave a word of testimony during a senior’s Christmas service. To everyone’s surprise that was to be the time for death of my dad’s physical body. A heart attack took his earthly life, but his spirit moved to Heaven right from the church pew. He had finished the race and kept the faith!

Ecclesiastes 3:2-3 (ESV) Reminds us that there is a season for everything; a time for everything……

A time to weep for loved ones.

December 13, 1923 was the time to be born for my dad. December 13, 1990 was the time to dance into Heaven. Today he would have celebrated his 90th birthday on earth.

No Ordinary Thursday

It was Thursday morning 12 days before Christmas. After his morning coffee and porridge dad had seemed in a hurry to get out.

Photo by Apolinia from www.freedigiltalphotos.net

Photo by Apolinia from www.freedigiltalphotos.net

“Where are you going?” mom asked.

“I have to go Bay Street to buy the newspaper.” So with that he was off. Mom didn’t have time to think if there was something else she needed from the store. He had made up his mind to go at that moment. No stopping a man on a mission.

It wasn’t long before mom heard the truck door slam. “Who was coming for a visit in the morning?” mom talked to herself.

The Christmas Birthday Card

She was working in the kitchen when dad walked in with the newspaper and a thin brown package. The package contained the largest Christmas themed card mom had ever seen. “I bought a birthday card for Pirkko.”

Why he bought it that day? He must have had a knowing. He remembered my birthday was coming up on Christmas Day.

Mom probably thought, “But it’s your birthday.” Dad thought of others more than himself. With a twinkle in his eye and childlike exuberance he opened the card to show mom the inside. Mom stepped back as beautiful music jingled from the card. Dad smiled from ear to ear. He loved the song, “Happy Birthday to You.” I imagine he sang it with the card with his gruff voice and off key! It was a time to laugh!

Courtesy of Kittisak via www.freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of Kittisak via www.freedigitalphotos.net

Mom had wondered why he would buy this card so early? Lots of time left. Her husband usually made this one purchase the day before Christmas. She watched as dad sat in his favourite chair in the kitchen. He opened his newspaper and slurped on another cup of coffee.

By one o’clock, dad had rested and finished the reading of his newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. He studied the scriptures and loved to preach God’s Word. Suddenly he looked at the clock. “It’s time for the senior’s Christmas service at Saalem Church. Do you want to come?” he asked mom. Mom could not go this time because she had to babysit at a friend’s house.

Dad never returned to his earthly home. Mom would not believe at first that her husband was gone. After the initial shock wore off, that day was the beginning of time to mourn. Time has now healed everything: a time to heal.

Christmas Tradition

Dad no longer reads the Christmas story from the Bible at our family Christmas Eve celebration. The mantle fell on me so I now read the Christmas story, and my son reads it to his daughter. A Christmas tradition from great grandparents.

Christmas Story

Christmas Story via www.dreamtime.com

Lord, I want to be faithful in keeping the Scriptures alive so people know Jesus is the reason the world celebrates Christmas.

John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”Eino Birthday

What is your Christmas tradition that changed? Or what Christmas tradition would you like to let go? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

 

6 thoughts on “My Dad’s Last Day On Earth

  1. Simo Paananen

    I also had an unusual thursday morning then. I was working in Hurket that day in the forest. I worked with father many years and had some good and bad times. He was not always easy to get along with. Any way he was my father and we must respect our parents right?
    Any way that morning I was cutting and pulling trees from the forest, for some reason I felt that God was close, I arrived at the roadside with a load of logs. For some reason the winch wouldn,t release the load. I then decided to take an extra circle with the load and then try to release the load, then the load released normaly. I realised that the extra circle was in hounor of father. Soon the phone rang to announce the passing.

    1. Pirkko Rytkonen Post author

      Simo, thank you for sharing your experience that day. We never forget. That’s what we did the first Christmas after his passing…we shared stories with each other. Somehow it felt so good, and still does. You were closest to him because you worked with him so long. You probably have all kinds of stories that we have never heard. Maybe one day we can all be together for Christmas to share the stories. We are blessed as we honour our parents.

  2. Kassandra Lamb

    My thoughts are with you on the anniversary of your father’s death. They may move on to a better place, but we still miss them. So sweet that he bought your birthday card on his birthday.

    Take care!!

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