A Letter to My Late Father
My father passed a month before my eight birthday with no forewarning. From then on I found myself dreading certain times of the year, especially Father's Day.
I’d usually try to pretend this holiday didn't exist and avoid all celebrations because, to me, there was nothing to celebrate. Most years we'd spend Father's Day tending to his grave site—replacing flowers, removing debris and reminiscing— and each visit was a bitter reminder that I'd lost someone who I didn't even know I'd need so much.
And although there are scriptures that provide comfort, at 28 years old and 20 years after his passing I’m finally allowing His spirit to fill this absence. That seems like a long time to keep God at bay, but it wasn't until I had a few back-to-back breakdowns (as recent as a few weeks ago) that I realized the true meaning of:
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
I’m. So. Blessed! To know God as a comforter is an undeniable testament to His power and love and genuine concern for every part of us— including our mental and emotional health.
So I decided to be proactive about managing grief and wrote this letter to my dad a while back. It may seem grievous, but I feel glorious (literally, I feel the likeness of God’s glory)!
I don’t know who this will reach or touch, but know that I’m thinking about you, prayerful of your journey and hopeful God will send His comfort in your time of need.
I cried for you the other night. And not the tears-falling-gracefully-down-my-cheek kind of cry. I'm talking about the chest-tightening, head-throbbing, stomach-curling kind of cry.
The kind of cry that makes my eyes water thinking about how I cried.
It still hurts...
At times, life seems so difficult without you. It's those times I need you most that I remember I’ve forgotten the sound of your voice. And even if I remember the things you’ve said or words you spoke, the sound of my voice has replaced yours.
It seems like it's happening more often now too. Maybe it's because even having blossomed into a woman who works hard every day to keep it together and make everyone proud, I just want to be your little girl.
I want to wedge myself between you and mom on the couch.
I want to wake up to you singing "Riiise and shiiiiine! Give God the glory, glory!"
I want you to put my socks on my feet before I get out of bed so my bare toes won't have to touch the cold bathroom floor.
I want to hear you let out your roaring sneeze that used to startle me so much! (I still think about you when I sneeze. Even try to match your volume.)
I just want you here.
It's been 20 years since you passed. That should be long enough to move past these feelings, right?
It seems like I knew you just long enough to recognize your love for me, but not long enough to show how much I loved you.
How much I appreciated the type of husband, father and family man you were.
How your commitment to God's work beamed a light so bright that it drew people towards Christ.
How you were an awful singer, but I always enjoyed listening (even if only to get in a cringing laugh or two).
How beautiful you were to me.
How beautiful you are.
I'm skeptical I’ll met another human being like you and I know how cynical that sounds. I know I'll eventually have to come to terms with the reality that I’m being unrealistic and be open to love, but I'm still not there yet.
There's so much I still need to apologize for.
I'm sorry if I ever disappointed you.
Even in the short time I had you in my life, you taught me right from wrong. I have no excuse for choosing the latter.
I'm sorry I took the pain from your death out on the ones you loved the most. I created a distance that I now work everyday to bridge.
I'm sorry I jumped up too soon that time in wave pool at the water park. My barrette nicked your chin and you started bleeding a little. It sounds silly, but it was the first time I knew I'd hurt you.
I burst into tears and you immediately picked me up and held me. Told me it was ok. It was the first time I felt forgiveness.
Most of all, I'm sorry it took me so long to forgive you for passing away.
I know you didn't choose to leave. God is the Shepard of His flock. He chose to call you home and He's continued to provide for us after your passing.
There is so much love in our family. You left us that way and I won't do anything to compromise that. Every day I learn to trust, depend on and serve Him more faithfully to make you proud of the woman I've become.
A part of me grieves with the people who knew you; the other for the people who didn't.
Imagine the lives you would have continued to impact; the hearts you would have touched.
Yes, you've left your mark on many who still cherish their memories of you, but I can’t help but think of all those who still needed you here.
And yes, it's a comfort to know you’re sleeping peacefully, awaiting your heavenly reward, but that doesn't mean I'll stop missing you or wanting you here.
Know that I still think of you often and love you deeply.
Know that your legacy continues to live through our growing family and the friends you had to leave behind. And most importantly, know that I'll work everyday to 'let nothing separate me from the love of God.'
My aim is to live eternally with you and my Heavenly Father whose love is just as unconditional as what you showed me while on earth.
Your Little Girl
Me and Dad | Circa '90