I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.—JEREMIAH 31:3 [NLT]
Radiation hadn’t helped. Before the surgeon removed the cancer in Dad’s throat, the family stood by his bedside. Dad said he loved us, his voice scratchy, the last time he’d ever speak those words. Earlier that week, he’d sung “Happy Birthday” to his granddaughter, the last song he’d ever sing in his smooth baritone.
An hour later, a Johnny Cash song played on the radio as the surgeon told us he’d removed Dad’s larynx . . . his voice. I cried then and every time afterward when I heard the country music he loved.
Each time I went to help my mom with his care, Dad would write notes to us about his needs or wants. I read them, but I just wanted to hear him talk and sing again.
Several weeks after surgery, a therapist brought a gadget Dad could hold to his throat and “talk” using vibrations. She showed him how firmly to push it against his skin. At first, he made only garbled sounds.
Eventually, she helped him form words. That day, she asked him, “What do you want to say to your daughter?” I was heading out the door for home, but stopped and waited. Dad put the gadget to his neck and a computerized voice said, “I love you.” Joy filled my spirit! My dad had said, “I love you,” words I’d never thought I’d heard from him again.