The Face of Cassia

Good, Goodbyes.

By Josh Cleveland, Social Media Recruiter at Cassia

My dad was always really good at “good-byes”. Whether it was a hug after a visit, a final message after a youth camp session, or an accidental kiss on the lips as you were headed out the door. He was a master at saying “good-bye.” Let me dig into his goodbyes for you, just in case you are wondering what a great good-bye really entails.

The Goodbye Hug

If hugs had a championship, my dad might have won each time. He had this way of putting his hand on the base of your head that could make you feel supported, loved, and safe. I sometimes called it the “Go with God Hug.” Only because I‘ve always felt that after that embrace I would be walking with God’s presence lingering around me. It would stick with me for a long time.

The Goodbye Message

I grew up going to a youth bible camp in central Wisconsin and my dad directed those sessions on a regular basis. When we arrived at the last day of a two week session, my dad would usually pose the question to campers “Now what?” He would challenge us to not be stuck in the memories of the past two weeks, but be inspired to make them mean something for our present and future. It was empowering.

The Oopsie Daisy

My dad would regularly kiss my brothers and me on the cheek or forehead. This carried over to our wives and kids as well, and it was very endearing. However, when my dad first met Katie, the woman who became my wife, things were still endearing, but a tad awkward. I’m not sure how it happened. Perhaps an over-zealous lean, or turning of the head, but somehow my dad got a little side lip, as my wife calls it. It made for a good laugh and an embarrassed Pops. Thus, the Oopsie Daisy was born.

The Greatest Goodbye

My dad had cancer and had been fighting it for three years. However, in the end, my dad’s body couldn’t quite win, but his spirit sure did. For the last 3 weeks of my dad’s life he began his greatest goodbye. In that time, he officiated at my wedding, he wrote letters to all of us kids, our wives, our kids, and his wife.

He was a pastor at the same church for my entire life and he had said a beautiful goodbye sermon to his congregation. In turn, the congregation came out a few days before my dad died and said their good-bye through hymns and prayer. It was a lovely farwell that none that were present will forget.  

When my dad passed away, sure there was grief, but there was also an enveloping peace. My dad was able to say these great good-byes and my family and I were unbelievably grateful. However, these good-byes would not have been possible without amazing home health care nurses, or as I call them, saints.

My dad had the potential for a lot of pain, discomfort and distraction, but the home care nurses that came to our house all but took those away. Through their care and attention, my dad was able to be present all the way up to his last breaths. Each time a nurse would enter our home, there was a calm and I dare say, a sacredness that came in with them.

In honor of Home Health Care Month and the unbelievable skilled nurses who bring such care and love to homes across the country, I want to say thank you. Thank you for walking into each situation with compassion and humility. Thank you for the dignity you give to your patients and their families. Thank you for allowing my dad to give those last hugs that have brought an everlasting lingering of God’s presence to my family and me.

Thank you.

Josh Cleveland is in his first year as Social Media Recruiter with Cassia. He spends much of his time refining effective ways to find quality job candidates through various social media outlets.