Chelsea Eischeid Preister

 

“Chelsea, Daddy is barely talking. If you want to tell him anything, now is the time. Time is getting short.” Mom whispered. I sat on the living room couch, working on homework. I looked up at her. My heart ached at her words, but I needed to do this. Without needing to think about it, I instantly knew what I would say.

Seven months had passed since we found out about Dad’s cancer. It had hit us like a wall. Dad had been cancer free for seven years, but then our lives were turned upside down once again. Except this time, the cancer wasn’t going to go without a victim. My dad transformed drastically over the months. His black hair and auburn beard changed into a dull gray. The cancer stripped his masculine physique. He no longer looked like the man I called, “Daddy.”

Mom slid the parlor doors open. The shades were lowered to keep the bright lights out of Dad’s eyes. To me, it was just another sign that death was imminent. Dad lay in the hospital bed. He was completely still except for his stomach slightly rising and falling with each breath. All sorts of medicines and syringes lined the old buffet next to him. On his right was the couch where my brothers, mom, and I spent Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, and an hour or two every night. The only sound was the oxygen tank creating a sucking noise every few seconds.

“Paul, Chelsea wants to say something to you.” Mom softly explained. I stood next to my dad and grabbed his left hand. I noticed how soft and fragile it was cupped between mine. It was so warm. I could not help but imagine how it would be a few days: lifeless.

Dad mustered up enough energy to turn his head an inch towards me. His eyes were closed, but I knew he was listening intently.

“Daddy,” tears formed in my eyes, but I couldn’t let my voice crack. “Will you be there when I go to heaven?”

Without flinching, my dad used all of his energy to whisper, “Yes, Chels.”

Immediately, I pictured myself after I died. My daddy stood right next to Jesus, with his right hand and said, “Come join us, Chels.”

I was brought back to reality as Mom said that we should let him sleep. We slid the doors behind us, and I noticed Mom’s eyes were red. “Chelsea, he promised you! He will be there! That was a great thing to ask!”

I have realized since then that two promises were made that night. Not only is my daddy going to be there for me when I die, but I promised to make it to heaven. That means I must strive to live and keep up my end of the deal. It has pushed me to be the girl that I am today. I look forward to the day when I see both Fathers face-to-face.


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chelsea eischeid preister