My Daddy was a hunter. Every year, on opening weekend of bow season, you could find him in a tree, in his camo at sunrise.
As the years went by, he traded his gun for a camera and instead taught his kids and grandkids how to enjoy the hobby he loved.
Last week, two days before he died, Daddy met his buck. It was gorgeous, a 10 point with six spikes on one side and four on the other. He came to the window where daddy was sitting in his favorite chair and looked in, right at him. A few minutes later he was on the porch, literally nudging the handle to try and get in.
Daddy stood up, in a rare surge of energy for those final days, opened the door and held his hand out. And that deer, which he’d never seen before…
relaxed under his hand and let my Daddy pet him. A wild animal who, for just a few minutes, was as tame as a dog raised from a puppy.
My daddy looked at him, and he looked at Daddy and Daddy simply said “I’m ready.” After eight years of fighting a disease that wouldn’t leave him alone, he was ready. After watching 3 kids and 9 grandkids come into this world, he was ready. After coming face to face with an animal he had waited on, for years, he was ready.
Daddy sat back down in his chair as me and my brother and sister went outside to see the Buck. He nuzzled each one of us, putting his head on our shoulder and licking our faces. The whole time, he never startled or jerked. When we came inside daddy said
“You don’t understand. That was my Daddy, come to take me home. He just wanted some time to see his grandkids after 30 years.”
My daddy was more peaceful in those next few hours than I’d seem him in weeks, maybe months. And before the Deer ran away across the field my daddy brought back to life, he said “He’ll be back, one more time.”
Daddy died two days later holding the hands of his children and loving companion Nancy. When the hospice nurse came, he mentioned how many deer we had in the area. I got out the pictures of “Daddy’s buck” to show him our incredible encounter. And he looked at the first picture and said “I just saw that same Buck walking a circle around this house.”
He had come, one more time, to take Daddy home. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to witness a miracle. But seeing my Daddy, free from fear, in the days where we said goodbye is something I’ll always be grateful for.
Here’s to those sweet dreams of long-awaited reunions, peaceful road trips, endless energy and that smile that none of us will ever forget. I love you Daddy
~ The author is Latricia Thomas. She commented: “Thank you so much for all of the kind words and support after we lost my Daddy. I wanted to share with you the story that I wrote about his final days which was read at his funeral.” ~