Like everyone else on Facebook today I changed my cover photo to one of my dad. He passed August 28 of last year. He died in his sleep. Alone. He hated to be alone.
I dug through some old pictures on a thumb drive I have at work and found this one to post.
The very minute I pressed the post button, the song we played at his funeral came on in my headphones. At work, at my desk, I lost it. I hate crying. I especially hate that I am holed up in my office red faced and red nosed, blowing snot every few minutes. I can hear my coworkers outside of my door meaning well to console but I just want to crawl out of here unseen.
I wasn’t expecting this photo to slap me upside the face so hard. My father, before my mother died, was my biggest fan. He loved me no matter what idiotic foolish mistake I was making. He loved me when no one else did. He loved me when I didn’t deserve it. He wanted peace in our family. He hated when my mother and I bickered and there were many times I would give in to one of our stubborn tiffs just to please my dad. I knew his kind and sweet heart couldn’t bear it.
I choose to remember my dad as he was before my mom died. After that and until his own body gave out, he was not the same man. It’s okay. He is forgiven. He was broken without mom and I refuse to even think of those long 5 years. I thought that because of the distance of those years, I had eased into the acceptance of his death and my grief would not be so bad. I was learning to live without him even when he was still alive. I had already had 4 or 5 sets of Fathers days, Christmases and Thanksgivings without him.
But all at once with one glance of a picture and a few notes of a song like a flood gate of emotion, I miss him….the old him. I miss him for me. I miss him for Andrew. I miss him for grandkids who will never know him.
My dad loved the world. The one that God created. He interacted with the earth like it was a good friend. I watched him watch the sky. I listened with him to animals in the woods. I followed behind him learning about the plants, the trees, the stones, the rivers. His joy in Gods creation brought me joy. He loved people. He loved my mother and he loved my sister and I. He loved his grandchildren. Andrew is giving his children the same kind of dad. He is teaching them his ways and giving them his knowledge. Like a precious family heirloom, dads stories and endless knowledge of nature and life will be passed to them. Dad is the most precious of all our heirlooms placed high above clocks and photos and war medals.
Because of him, I do not struggle with the characteristic of God as a daddy, a loving father. I don’t struggle with accepting the forgiving nature of God because of him. Because of this man I know that one day I will enter into the Fathers loving arms just like in this photo. I think about what will happen the moment of my last breath, and this, this is the image I see. Held. Loved. Accepted. Safe. Free. Sorrowless.
My dad was overwhelmed by all the beauty God has given us. Overwhelmed by the majesty of God.