“We’re on our own now,” said my older brother a few days after our father, William A. (“Bill”) Krusen passed away in April 2012. The words of an older brother carry weight, almost as much as those of a parent, and I found myself reflecting quite a bit on what my brother had said. “On my own…” Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. Then again, was I really on my own? On one level, yes, but on another…
Of Dad’s four children, I was the one at his bedside when he passed. The night before, lying in his hospital bed and dying of congestive heart failure, he had stared up at the ceiling, raising his hand feebly and pointing. “Be careful,” he cried.
“What’s the matter, Dad?” I asked leaning over him. “What’s wrong?”
It turned out Dad was “seeing” long-dead relatives—his grandfather and grandmother among them—standing at the edge of a great cliff looking down at him. He told me they were calling his name, and he was afraid that they would fall over the edge. I squeezed Dad’s hand. “Can I say a prayer for you, Dad?”
He squeezed my hand and said softly, “Yes. Pray for me.”
During those last days, I prayed often for Dad. He also invited me to sing for him, which I did. They were simple songs… choruses I had learned at church… and they brought him comfort. On his own, he began singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and we made a duet of it. One of the last things Dad said was, “All things come to an end. I’m not sad; I’m not frustrated. I’ve left a mark. My family is my mark.”
A time to say goodbye comes for all of us, of course. Inevitably, we will leave loved ones behind. Just the thought of doing so makes me sad as I would not willingly abandon anyone who loves me or is counting on me to keep kicking. But I am human, and this earth is not my final home.
Jesus must have felt something similar when he told his disciples, “You are going to be sad for a time because I am going to leave you. But it won’t be a permanent separation. We’ll meet again. And in the meantime, I’m going to send you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, and he will be with you forever.”
Such wonderful news! We are never alone in Christ. He will always find a way to be at our side—be it now through the Spirit, or later in Person. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God. Indeed, we cannot even die anymore! Whereas once death held sway, even death has been banished by the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25,26).
Connecting these words to my father’s passing I am reminded of Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”
On the human level, my older brother had it right. We were on our own in the sense we no longer had an earthly father. But we were also not on our own. Holding my dad’s hand as he passed into eternity has caused me to wonder what it will be like when my day comes. Will I see departed ones on a distant shore beckoning me?
Whatever awaits, I will not face it alone. Nor shall you if you have faith in Christ.
I will close with this. We are well into the post-production of Let Me Have My Son. Our award-winning composer, John Sponsler, is creating unforgettable music for the film, while another award-winning member of our team, Tom Hambleton, crafts a rich tapestry in the sound design department. Jared Neher has done an outstanding job completing the picture edit and is standing by to do the color grading. This coming week, we will be filming the last bit—an epilogue in which I will be interacting with my son, Daniel, at the psychiatric hospital where he is currently a patient. In some ways, this may well be the most important—and moving—part of the film.
We are not abandoned. Not ever.
Be well, dear friends.
–Cristóbal (Cris) Krusen
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever…