- Tim Robinson
Honor Your Father and Mother
Updated: Oct 3, 2022
Thursdays with Herb and Betty: Cherish your time with Dad and Mom
As adults we can be overwhelmed by the demands on that scarce commodity: Time. We have deadlines at work, responsibilities at home, and commitments to maintain relationships with friends. As a consequence, our relationship with parents can be overlooked and sometimes taken for granted. As our parents age they can become more reclusive and lonelier, although they may not admit it. It is more important than ever to maintain an active role in their lives at this time.
As Christians we should all take to heart the passage in Ephesians 6: 2-3 NKJV:
“Honor your father and mother, “ this is the first commandment with a promise, “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
I had two loving parents who sacrificed for me and provided a safe and secure home for my two brothers and I. My father’s health declined rapidly when he was in his early 80’s. My Mom was his 24-hour caregiver. As a cancer survivor herself, it was difficult for her to provide around the clock care for Dad. For some reason, Mom would accept little help in caring for Dad. My wife and I came up with an idea that would help both of my parents without infringing on Mom’s need to be Dad’s caretaker. Every Thursday I would spend the day with Dad taking him on a car ride around Northeast Ohio. These “Thursday trips” accomplished a number of things. First, my Mom now had a day off each week so she could relax and recharge. Second, Dad now had a “day out on the town.” Finally, I had the chance to really get to know my father.
Dad and I talked for hours about his life growing up in Tennessee. He regaled me with stories of his dad, the town Sheriff, busting up moonshine stills while he would watch from behind a tree or log. He told me about the time he found the remains of an old Civil War musket in the mountains only to accidentally drop it off a bridge into the river by his house. He shared with me about the first time he met Mom. He was so smitten with her that he rented a room in the house next to her on Clinton Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. We talked about faith and our relationship with Christ. He told me about when he was baptized near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. My Dad was a very private person and never discussed his feelings. I was so glad he opened up about his walk with Christ. On the culinary side, I can’t tell you how many burgers were consumed at “greasy spoons” all over Northeast Ohio. Each week he would tell me “Timmy, that was the best hamburger I ever ate.” On one trip we ate breakfast and talked so much that before we knew it, lunch hour had arrived. So, to the astonishment of our waiter, Dad and I ordered lunch, hamburgers, and milkshakes all around. He made me promise not to tell mom that we ate breakfast and lunch at the same restaurant. I agreed and asked him to return the favor with my wife Maggie. My “Thursday’s with Herb” lasted for a couple of years until my Dad’s health deteriorated to the point he was bed ridden at a local nursing home. In 2014, surrounded by family and friends Herb Robinson went home to be with the Lord.
At Dad’s passing my Mom was devastated but emotionally torn. She was glad Herb, no longer in pain, was in Heaven. At the same time, she was extremely melancholy with an aching sense of loneliness without him. After the whirlwind chaos of the funeral, Mom would walk around the big old house she had shared with Dad over 50 years and be overwhelmed by an intense feeling of loss and for the first time she felt tired to the bone. My Mom had always been so strong, I overlooked her need for companionship at this time. Once I realized this, I began the same Thursday road trips with her. We travelled the backroads of Cuyahoga, Medina, and Summit Counties each Thursday and always found an interesting place to eat. Our conversations would often times turn to a story or two about Dad, and her childhood exploring the hills and hollers of Bull Creek West Virginia. The uncontrolled laughter that ensued was the best medicine for healing a devastated heart. As with my Dad, our relationship deepened and became stronger than ever. On morning, when I arrived to pick her up she looked over tired and her skin color was off. She was also having trouble breathing. I wouldn’t take no for an answer and rushed her immediately to the hospital. After a few tests she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After she was stabilized, she was admitted to the hospital and remained there until she was able to be discharged. As we waited for a bed to open up at a local long-term care facility, she moved in with my brother and his wife. In her weakened state she contracted Covid by the time she could be moved to the facility. A few weeks later, my Mom passed away surrounded by her loving family.
The time I spent with my parents during the last few years of their lives was more valuable to me than fine silver or gold. I was blessed to be able to take off from work each Thursday and spend time with the two people who had given me so much. No one knows how much time we have on this earth, but I hope in knowing that Dad, Mom, and I will be reunited in Heaven. This is the promise of Salvation in Christ.
English Standard Version
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
English Standard Version
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”