When the Caregiving is Over – my dad

Today my daddy went to sleep in Jesus.

My dad as a young man

My dad as a young man

An example of steady and firm faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, he has always been a person of wise advice, sure guidance and steadfast love. Dad grew up on the streets of Boston but thanks to the kindness of a church and the love of Jesus, the course of his life changed. Dad became a civil engineer who contributed to our community by any means he could, often in the area of civil engineering, but in other areas as well.  He was a volunteer fire chief, a Walla Walla Port Commisioner, and worked on Washington State Good Roads Association.  He worked with Navy Admirals, state representatives and governors and senators, pastors and professors and ANY ONE that needed help with ANYTHING.

Frederick R Bennett, my dad

Frederick R Bennett, my dad

These last few years have seen many changes because of Alzheimer’s Disease.

See story 1.

See Story 2.

See Story 3.

On Friday, dad, in the middle of Alzheimer’s produced anxiety, said straight out and clearly, “My body is not for this earth.  It needs to be put in a wagon and carted away.”

My brother asked, “What wagon, dad?”

“Why a little red wagon, of course!”  His body wasn’t needed any longer, and he knew it.  It was time to rest.

My dad has always held to the faith that Jesus is coming soon and we have the privilege, through Christ, to live with Him for eternity.  He referred to that often, in the last few days.

At 2:01 a.m. dad quietly stopped breathing.  Mom, dad’s life partner, cheerleader, supporter, assistant and primary caregiver suddenly has nothing to do.  The house is still and quiet.

How do we find a blessing when our caregiving comes to an abrupt stop? Tweet this!

The blessing is in the life he led.  In the faith he lived. In the songs he sang. In the advice he gave.  In the hand he lent to countless who needed it.  The blessing comes stealing into our souls when four of us kids sit with mom in the living room (some in person, some on skype) and talk for several hours about how to honor my dad, remembering funny things and all the gifts he gave us.  The blessing comes because we each want the best for each other in every moment.   The blessing comes because we have been taught love.  Our parents love us, we love each other and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves us.

My dad’s pain is done.  He sleeps in the arms of Jesus, waiting for His soon return and the eternity of love that awaits us.

We are blessed.


Read more in the series 31 Days of Unexpected Blessings from Caregiving

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  • Best writing ever! Such a sweet story. He looks like a man I would have liked to know. Thanks so much for sharing from your heart. I really enjoyed spending time “with” you today.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss! What a wonderful legacy your father left, and how amazing to know beyond a shadow of a doubt you will see him again!
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  • Carol, you & your family members are in my heart & prayers. It is indeed bittersweet to say goodbye to those we love so dearly. Praise God that He gives us peace in the midst of anguish. Our reunions with those who’ve gone before us will be so sweet! Thank you for sharing!!!
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  • A beautiful tribute to honor your dad. 1 Corinthians 15.19 ♥♥♥
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  • Tara

    Beautiful Carol! Sending hugs and prayers your way. “If we live, we live to the Lord. And if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords.”

  • Carol, I’m so sorry for your loss, but rejoicing with you that one day again, you will see your Father in Glory. Oh what a wonderful day that will be!

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful legacy left by your Dad and reminding us that when the caregiving stops, the blessings continue as we remember our loved ones.

  • What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful father! Praying for sweet comfort and blessings for your entire family during this time.

  • “The songs he Sang” What a Beautiful memory, God Bless Carol x
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  • So beautiful, Carol! He was a handsome young man, and a very elegantly handsome man in his senior years…thank you for sharing his story; your story!

    I do love how you found the blessing when the caregiving comes to an end; and the blessing of the life he lived and the life you had with him.

    Prayers of comfort for you and your family as you move on to other areas of your life.
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  • I am so sorry for your lost, but rejoice that your father is in heaven – and remembers – everything! What a wonderful father you had – what a gift from God – these fathers who live for Christ. Praying you feel God’s comfort wrap around you!

  • carol, i’m sad to hear of your loss. i know that eventually, you will find joy to think of your dad being in heaven. it may even be the case now since he hasn’t been himself for so long. but on another level, i know you wish you had him in person to be her and healthy. that’s how so many of us tend to feel…especially when we lose our dads.
    you have our prayers for your loss.
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  • Bill Baer

    It is with sorry that I post this note. Your family has ment a great deal through the years. Your Dad was one of the head deacons when I attended the “College” Church. He really had a nack to make one feel welcome. He so loved you kids. I remember him bringing you guys out to the WWC Dairy Farm on Sabbath Afternoons. He made the remark that our cows were the nearest thing to a Zoo around here! It was fun to have you guys help feed the baby calves. I so remember you Carol in Primary Sabbath School. You loved to hear the lesson with the “sand box”. I was blessed to be your teacher! Your Grandma was over at Egale Meadows. I took some blueberries one day. (she so enjoyed them) The next visit over there your Mom was pushing her in a wheel chair. Her eyes brightened and she exclaimed, “There is my Blueberry Man!”
    Your Dad will be greatly missed, but we look forward to Jesus’ return, and we can again be reunited with him! Blessings.

  • Carol S.

    Our hearts are aching with you, Carol. Even when going to sleep for a while is a blessing, even when you know that the waking will be ever so much better than this life was at the end, it is still a goodbye. So we’re praying for blessings for you through the tears.

  • Nicole Heisler

    I am so grieved to hear the news. Dr. Bennett was my professor in many structural engineering classes. I guess I’m glad the last thing I remember of him is the sparkle in his eye when he smiled and his tough love in class. Looking forward to meeting him again someday!

    • Nicole – thank you for the memories. Yes, that sparkle. I didn’t follow his lead into engineering, but I heard about his tough love in class. His eyes would light up just telling about students and sharing how someone connected with God was his favorite.
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  • Elizabeth Brandt

    It is with sadness that I read of your dad’s death today. What a beautiful tribute you have written. I don’t know you personally, but I have known your parents for many years and have admired them greatly. I have more recently become acquainted with your brother and his wife. Please give your mother my most sincere thoughts and prayers and a hug. May our loving Heavenly Father wrap his arms of comfort around all of you at this time of loss.

  • I’m sorry to hear this, but I know you already know what a true gift it is to have a man of integrity as the head of your home and a close knit family that can come together in the midst of grief like you have. What a blessing. What a legacy. I pray you will continue to be covered with peace and wonderful memories throughout this season.
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  • Beautiful words. It is good that you are focusing on the blessing he was to you and the comfort of knowing he is asleep in Jesus.
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  • Beautiful words for your dad. He sounds like an amazing man. Praying you know God’s deep comfort.
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  • It’s hard when a loved one dies, but you have faith that you’ll live with your Dad forever. That’s beautiful! I love how you described your Da’d scontribution to his community and his devotion to Christ.
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  • Carol, may God wrap Himself around you and give you HIs supernatural comfort and courage in the days ahead. Much love