Waiting for someone you love to die is a paradoxical experience. There’s a sense of great portent, because you know that for the rest of your life you will be looking back and remembering these days. These are the hours you will describe to friends and loved ones, these are the events you will be reviewing in your mind again and again, running your emotions over them like your tongue runs over a sore tooth in your mouth. But in the middle of all of the heavy-with-meaning moments, there is also the mundane. Food has to be shopped for and cooked. Laundry has to be done. Plans and schedules have to be tentatively arranged, though everyone is well aware that all of it could change in a heartbeat– literally. Phone calls are made, checking in on the details of ‘real’ life back home, making sure homework is completed and the fish are fed. Everything feels normal and nothing feels normal.

In Mom and Daddy’s bedroom, time is suspended. The hospital bed juts out into the room, sitting where the desk should be. It feels like a blessing rather than an imposition, because it makes caring for Daddy so much easier. We keep an eye on the bedroom clock so we can be sure to adjust his position every two or three hours. We quietly enter and check on him, staying there if he’s awake and silently gliding out if he’s not. The rocking chair is still in its familiar spot, though we often move it closer to the bed so Mom can sit right next to Daddy. She watches him, dozing sometimes, but mostly just watching him sleep. And every time their eyes meet, he smiles. Every time.

43 Responses

  1. phwd737

    Such a difficult time, but I pray God will overshadow you all with His sweet comfort, love & Presence…
    ~Tricia Appler

  2. jonny

    You all are sooo blessed !

  3. Phyllis R


  4. meb

    Prayers and hugs for all.

  5. bettyrwoodward

    Praying for you all at this difficult time.

  6. VA-Cathy

    So hard – but so precious. I’m glad you are aware that this too will be a memory and you are doing all you can to make as good a memory as you can. Much love to you and your family!

  7. grfdave

    I have been being my stalker self recently and have watched as your family has lived with, laughed with(at) and loved your parents as they have grown older. My parents are both on the other side and we had dad at home until he passed away. It was one of the most rewarding times we had with him as we were on hand to simply serve him and provide for him and he ACTUALLY LET US! There were no arguments that he could do it himself, no complaining that we were getting in the way or anything of the like. He just let us love on him. We took turns sitting with dad 24 hours a day and simply holding his hand as we waited. My prayers are with you. You have been gracious enough to open a window on your life and I just wanted to throw a bucket of peace and love in that open window. May God bless you all.

  8. auburn60

    Wish I could be there to help with the ‘mundane’.

    I know this is hard.

  9. jonny

    @ grfdave: “Like”

  10. swerchon

    Such a hard and tough time for you and your sweet family.

    Cheerish every moment, they are so special. Praying for your Mother, how is your Mom holding up? This must be extremely difficult for her.

    (((((( HUGS )))))) and prayers continually coming your way – be strong !!

  11. Jan

    Wow Tori, that takes me back a few years when my dear mother died, my sister and I spent five days in that room, feeling every emotion imaginable….when looking back on those days now, I feel as though I were standing on holy ground….I was, as you are now….you are birthing your dad into Heaven….my prayers are very much with you during this exquisitely emotional, painful time….the angels are in that room with you.

    Love and Prayers,


  12. LindaB

    I remember a song I heard once (sung by The Weatherford Quartet) when I was a young girl that I loved and have searched for since and can’t find it. I loved the words. The first line went, “Sitting on the steps to Heaven….waiting the call to go.” I thought of that song again when I read your post this morning. In a way, we are waiting there with you and your Dad and those that love him….sitting on the steps to Heaven waiting for God to open the door. If we lived near enough, we’d bring over casseroles and desserts (in the appropriate Tupperware container, of course) to show our love. But as it is, we are praying and thinking of you and yours today. And thanks so much for keeping us informed of how things are going. We appreciate and love you so much.

  13. belinda

    I know this is hard and you know we are praying and are here for you and every member of your family. Wish I was closer to help out with some of the other stuff so you guys would not have to worry about it.

  14. belinda

    I pray that those smiles will help your Mom make it one day at a time. The love they have is unconditional. Oh how so many could learn a lot from them.

  15. jonny

    Too true, belinda !

  16. LindaB

    Yes, it is, jonny.

    We are hearing so much about the Royal Wedding and the love story of William and Kate’s. But the REAL love story is in Little Rock today.

  17. jonny

    Amen, LB ! And a true Royal Marriage will soon take place from there as well.

  18. LindaB

    AMEN AGAIN!!! And with even more grandeur and preparation than London and Buckingham Palace ever dreamed of! AND, it won’t be paid for with tax dollars….or silver or gold, but bought and paid for by the Son of God on Calvary. I’m feeling a little Pentecostal now!

    Tori, has any preachers been over to bring comfort to the family? And have there been any incidences you could tell us about involving your Mom? LOL I just love her!!!! And love your stories about her!

  19. Vicki

    Sending prayers and love.

  20. Gramma Jac

    Jan, you said something that hit home with me. People have never understood why or how I have two careers. I am a geriatric speech/language pathologist, often involved at the “end” because the swallow goes. I also am a Childbirth Educator and birth Doula. While the story is long, the quick and easy explanation is that both ends of life are sacred and I have the honor and privilege of helping families at the edge of the eternal! And the experience is so similar,…waiting, wiping a brow, holding a hand, and love, love, love!

    Tori, as your friend Mark would say, soon he’ll be “kicking up gold dust!” and how wonderful for him. And tho’ sad for everyone else, how do people do it who don’t have the comfort that you will all be reunited?!?

    We love you and continue to hold you all up in prayer! (I also feel honored to be a part of BloomrNation!) Feel our hugs but also those of Jesus!


  21. jonny

    “And tho ’ sad for everyone else, how do people do it who don ’ t have the comfort that you will all be reunited?!?”

    I’ve been having similar thoughts today. Thinking about those special in my life, not in the faith, who’ve had to say good-bye to a mother or father, or someone dear to them, also not of the faith.

  22. jd2008

    God bless you ALL. We are all praying!!!

    Remember- Death ends a life. NOT a relationship!!

    If there is ANYTHING the Darnells can do, PLEASE let us know.

    hugs. prayers. smiles.

  23. JanetB

    To answer the question of how people without faith cope with the death of a loved one? They don’t.
    My husband’s parents were not Christians…I remember my MIL on her 65th birthday saying that one day, when she was “old,” she might start going to church. She didn’t live to see 70.
    In 1998, she was dying of cancer…I refer to that year as the year from…well, you can guess. To watch that family fracture & disintegrate from the front row is not something I’d wish upon anyone.
    She lost her sight, her voice, her mobility…her ability to communicate. A few weeks before her death, I was sitting with her…I prayed for her…and that made her cry. I’d like to think that she answered the Savior’s knock at the door that she had ignored for so long…that she found some peace in the end…

    Thank you, Lord, that my parents are safely Home…that You are preparing a special place right now for Tori’s daddy…as well as for the rest of us who have been redeemed by Your Blood.

  24. Cynthia

    Love, prayers; and acceptance of what’s to come for your Mom. You’re blessed to be able to share this precious time together w/ your family.

    God is good and gracious, he’ll see you through it all.


  25. delightedabroad

    The others have said it so well already. You and your family are bathed in love and prayers!

  26. MostlySunny

    The sweetness and the sadness hand in hand…

  27. LindaB

    Wondering how Sarah is doing. Give your sister Liz a hug from us. She’s been through the wringer lately and we’re praying for her too… well as Sarah that she will continue to heal and grow stronger, and that the tumor will never return.

  28. Phyllis S

    Tori, Many prayers of ease and comfort coming your way. That your Dad will pass the Winter of his life with ease, comfort for you and your family as you see the last leaf fall to the ground. Neither words are small, but quite BIG, esp. when it pertains to us, but with our Faith and Love of God and Family, it will be so much easier.

    Many wonderful words of life and death have been written here, expressions of Praise and Wonderment. What a Very Special Group you have assembled in this prayer group.

  29. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Like Phyllis, I am moved by the beautiful words here expressing love and faith as well as joy and sadness. This is only possible by a body of believers who are reaching out to a fellow believer whose precious dad is preparing to go Home. I remember when my dad went Home, saying to myself that I couldn’t bear it if I didn’t know where he had gone. Even so, my heart felt as if it were breaking. Behind me at the casket I heard a man sobbing. I turned to see it was the pastor….my dad’s old fishing buddy. We were crying for ourselves…but in time that pain would ease…because of God’s promise that He and my dad would be waiting for me to come to the Party one day in Heaven. As the song goes, what a glorious day that will be. I’ve had to say good-bye too many times now….so that promise gets sweeter and sweeter.

  30. jonny


  31. meb

    “Like” too.

  32. jonny

    Well, should we start listing who we’re looking forward to meeting up with on the other side; other than possibly the obvious ?? I have two kids that never came to term I would love to meet someday, as well as one grandmother I still dearly miss.

  33. JanetB

    My parents; my brother & his widow; my brother-in-law (sister’s husband); aunts, uncles, & cousins; my grandmother, who died before I was born; my son that was never born; and my cats – Tommy, Simon, & Kaycee Doodle. (Most of my family is already there…and it really bugs me that they’re having such a great time without me…)

    I was talking with my sister not too long ago…I mentioned that someday, when we’re all in Heaven together, it would be lovely to have a picnic with all of us – just like we used to. She said, “Don’t forget – Jesus will be at our picnic, too!” Well, of course. He’s the reason that we’d all be there in the first place. It would just be rude not to invite Him. :)

    I just came by to check for updates…still praying without ceasing…

  34. kidpyramid

    These words of encouragement are so beautiful and your recent journey has filled me with emotions over my own mom’s passing. It was mercifully quick and she got to do what she wanted to before it was time to go home.

    She knew what was coming and assured us she was ready and not afraid although she was worried about how we would deal with our grief without mom there to comfort us.

    When my children and I arrived the week before she died my youngest daughter, who was 7 at the time, sat at Mom’s bedside and prayed for her. Then she told Grandma it would be okay because she could take care of Caleb, her baby brother who had died the year before, and that she would get to celebrate Christmas with Jesus. Mary told Mom that there was a party waiting for her when she got to heaven.

    Mom held on a few days longer than it seemed she would but as soon as her last child had visited and her last sibling had called, then she was ready to go home.

    As hard as it was to let her go we all rejoice that Mom is finally made perfect in Him and nobody can take that away from her.

    Thank you for sharing your family with us and know that we are all throwing our prayer requests your way.

  35. MeaganW

    I understand well. I’ve been there with my Mom. If I can give you any advice, journal a lot. Although you may not be sure what to feel now, get your thoughts, prayers, and emotions down on paper. It will be comforting to you when you look back and try to make peace with the situation. My heart goes out to you and your sweet family, Tori, and my thoughts and prayers are with you!

  36. jonny

    From Tori’s facebook page…

    “Home for 2 days then heading back to Ark. Don’t know if Dad will still be with us, he is just slowly slipping away. Impossible to know when.”

  37. bettyrwoodward

    From Tori’s facebook ‘Haven’t laughed this hard in weeks– God knows I needed this. Glad your break back at home and with Homecoming Radio has given you a chance to unwind and laugh. Still praying.

  38. LindaB

    To everyone in this Bloomr Nation—–as Tori continues her vigil by her father’s side, and we celebrate Easter Sunday tomorrow and remember that day on Calvary’s Hill when God’s Only Son, by His death and resurrection, took away the sting of death and gave that blessed hope of eternal life to all who believe, I will think of you all and thank God for you! I hope your day is filled with thanksgiving and praise, family and friends, good food and rest. And we all will continue to pray for Tori and family.

    Linda B.

  39. jonny

    Thanks, LB ! It’s already Easter over here, just waitin’ for the rest of you to catch up = ) And, yes, Tori and her family have been on my heart and mind all weekend ! For some reason I really miss Tori right now. I truly hope only the best for her and her’s in all that’s going on right now. My heart is so full of love for them at this time ! Not really sure what to do with all of it except keep on hoping, and trusting in The Best for them !

  40. blondie

    Happy Easter to all of you.

    Every time I attempt to comment, I find that words are failing me. Just know that we are praying with you for our dear ones.

  41. bettyrwoodward

    Happy Easter to you all. Remember He is Risen and that is at the centre of everything

  42. Chick Voice

    As we celebrate the Savior’s ressurection, we rest sure that as his eye is on the sparrow, his eye is on Tori and her family. Blessings on you.

  43. Gramma Jac

    I’m singing,…”We serve a risen Savior,…”

    Happy Easter to you all!

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