This is the first Father’s Day without my beloved Dad. He was the greatest man I’ve ever known and loved (other than my husband). He was my protector, my hero, my confidante, my mentor, my rock. He was a constant fixture in my life for over 50 years. Being blessed with a great memory, I turned 55 a few months after he died at 90 years old, and I can remember back to when I was 4 or 5. This means that I have 50 years of memories for which I am so thankful and blessed; but it makes it all that much harder to let him go because I did have him for so long. From the time I was 17 and my only (and older) brother died at 24 years old, everyone’s mortality, including my own, has been hovering mere inches from my face for nearly four decades. I have dreaded, for what seems like my whole life, losing my Dad…I knew it would come and I believed that I’d NEVER be READY…EVER.
As I sit here, writing this, my Amazon Music is on shuffle, and Sidewalk Prophets’ “This is not goodbye” just played, followed by Chris Tomlin’s “Good, Good Father”; clearly NOT by coincidence!
I never really believed in coincidence, but after turning my life over to God, I KNEW there was no such thing. God has a plan for everyone. Always. I believe His plan for me was to turn to Jesus, ask for the forgiveness of my sins and for Him to be my Lord and Savior. Once I did so, I became filled with the most incredible joy, love and peace that I have ever known. No coincidence that He was preparing me for what was to come seven months later…my Dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing nine days after that. I was so thankful that I was with him while he transitioned…that I was with him when he took his last breath and left his physical body, no longer suffering or in pain. I had prayed for this just a week earlier; falling to my knees and pleading with God to NOT let my Dad suffer and if that meant He had to take him the following week, to please do so…and He did. Answered prayer.
So, as I sit in my Dad’s back yard this morning, on Father’s Day, wearing his robe, drinking from his “#1 Dad” coffee mug, there is a peace in the quiet stillness of this morning. He may not be here with me physically, but he is here, in his glorious spirit form. I can feel his love as though he has his loving arms wrapped around me.
Many years ago, he and I had a moment when I all-of-a-sudden became overcome with emotion, just thinking of the time when he would no longer be with me. I was sitting on the ground with my back to him, cleaning the wheels of my car. My shoulders were kind of shaking a little as I quietly snot-sobbed and he said, “Tess?” I turned to look at him with tears streaming down my face, snots and all. Without any words between us, his eyes filled up when he saw my face, and his bottom lip quivered ever-so-slightly, because this was the “connection” we had – emotionally, spiritually – and I squeaked out, “Just promise me that ‘when the time comes’, you’ll ALWAYS be with me.” As tears spilled out of his eyes, and gently rolled down his always-cherry-colored cheeks, he whispered, “I promise”. Never being one to break a promise – EVER – I know that he IS always with me.
I love and miss you more than I can say, Daddy, but I thank you for keeping your promise… Happy Father’s Day “upta” Heaven.
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18
“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3
~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP