Written June 8, 2012
I can’t seem to uncover the adequate vocabulary to entirely convey my feelings about this day. Ten years ago at about 6:20 a.m. I was abruptly awoken by a family friend who had been staying with us. She came in and said “You need to come be with your dad.” I had never before nor since have snapped out of sleep so quickly. Within a micro second I was by my dad’s side. He was taking his last few breaths like a worn out machine. The life jerking out of him as if it was being ripped from the deepest sinews of his body….then there was nothing. His shimmering pupils dulled gray. I pulled my hand away from his and sat back on the stool by his bed. One of our yorkies came and climbed on my lap surrendering his offering of comfort. It was simple and precious and I will never forget it. I couldn’t cry because there was too much to be done, too many people to call, too many adult responsibilities for my teenage self to complete.
My dad had been sick for nine months. Cancer. Initially found in the esophagus, toward the end it had spread everywhere. You could literally feel and see small tumors just under his scalp at the end. That was more than ten years ago.
Although there is much heartache to remember, there is also my share of joy to savor. First off there is my hope that I will see him again. I do not believe that life ends when you die. I do believe in eternal life, and my personal belief is that is achieved through believing in Jesus and what was accomplished through his death and resurrection. My dad had shared with me in confidence that he was not sure about his beliefs. This troubled me because I could tell that it troubled him greatly. I prayed and prayed only loud enough that God could hear. No one knew my heart but Him. I needed to know that my father’s salvation was secure. Two days before my daddy died, I was able to be there as he prayed to receive salvation. That is worth more than the most expensive items the world can offer, and the world cannot take away that peace.
The story of course does not end there. It has been a decade since all of this has happened. I did not realize how swiftly time travels until this moment. I have lived so much life since that moment. My world was torn to bits when my dad was taken from me, but so much has been given to me. So much intoxicating beauty. I know that I will experience more losses, because there has been much that has been lost besides my dad these last ten years, but I am honestly to a point where the good memories outweigh the bad. I want to choose to always let the good outweigh the bad.
I never fully finished mourning the loss of my father. I pushed my grief aside for fear of appearing weak. But grief is a necessary part of growing, and the Lord has led me to a place where I can let my heart heal. For the first time I am at a place where I can allow myself to choose to forgive my father for all the hurt that he caused me, for the many negative ways he impacted me, for dying so young, and for all of the general muck that I have associated with him throughout my life. I release that power that has lorded over me and choose to remember the beauty that my father gave to my life. He was my first piano teacher, the best art teacher, my fashion advisor, a bedtime story book reader, a tuck -me-in-at-night every night kind of dad, a bring-me-breakfast-in-bed kind of dad, my biggest sports fan, a let me stay at home even when I’m faking sick because he had it tough in middle school too kind of dad, the one who taught me how to bake gourmet cakes and how to use a kitchen, bring me cough syrup during 3am coughing fit kind of dad, the kind of dad to hug me daily and never let me leave the house without hearing “I love you.” My dad did a lot of wrong, but the right seems to matter so much more. So daddy, I miss you so much more now than I have prior, you are never far from my thoughts and I look so forward to seeing you again one day.