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Father’s Day, year 1, without my father

Daddy and kidsIt’s my first Father’s Day without my father.

No gift to buy.
No card to sign.
No dad to hug. 

I remember our last “disagreement.” I got angry at his opposition to his church friends bringing meals. He was fiercely independent and didn’t want to accept help. But I wanted him to let others love him. 

He said it was too late for him to change.

But it wasn’t.
Nobody knew that in only two weeks, on Valentine’s Day morning, he would be changing forever.

I left his kitchen table in tears of frustration. I wept in the garage. My brother followed me out.

And a few minutes after that, my dad. He wanted me to understand. I couldn’t, but I agreed anyway. Because my daddy was dying; we all knew that. I had been wrong to argue. He needed to call his own shots as long as he could. Let him go out the way he wanted to.

So what happened? He quickly grew too weak to argue, too weak to notice, and eventually too weak to eat. People brought food, even though he was unaware. They loved him despite his independence, maybe partially because of his independence.

I did, too. 

I respected my dad. He was super intelligent and could fix anything and was as dependable as anyone I’d ever known. But in the end, intelligence couldn’t give him an answer and he couldn’t fix his own cancer and his loyalty to my mom couldn’t overcome death.

And his independence turned to dependence turned to freedom.

I’m thankful he’s free now. I’m glad he doesn’t have to see how much my mom has deteriorated since he died. I’m grateful he’s released from having to be the strong one, and is now in the arms of the Strong One.

I miss him more than I ever knew I could. But I’m glad I had him as my father as long as I did. He shaped me and led me and loved me.

And I wish I could buy a gift for him today (although I ran out of good ideas years ago) and sign a Father’s Day card and give him a hug.

But I can’t. And that’s okay. I had my chances. And I took them.

Life changes. It forces us to change with it. Ready or not, this Father’s Day is a big change for me.

I whisper a prayer to the original Father to, “Tell my daddy I love him,” although I suspect he’s more aware of it now than ever, in a place where he’s free.

But until I’m as free as he is, I still need to say it, to pray it.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

I love you,

* * *

Wisdom from an elder”—five life lessons from my dad
     “Is this heaven or hell?”—Daddy’s hard questions
          “Open the bottle—honor the Father”—it’s what I want to do
               “Five things I’m keeping”—what I want of his


GodsOwn/Bernice said...

Pray you gain strenght today out of the sweet memories with your dad and the knowing that he is free now!


Stephani Cochran said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm sure this was a tough day for you, yet fond memories abound!

Dorothy said...

Oh, Lisa! I remember the first Father's Day without my Dad. I still miss him. But I'm so glad I had my Dad for the years that he was here too.

Lisa notes... said...

Thanks, all. God was faithful to answer prayers and the day wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be, although there were a few touchy moments at church...

Like you said, Dorothy, even though I will always miss him, I'm very thankful for all the years I was blessed to have a wonderful dad.

graywolfie said...

Hey...stay strong..cos u will both meet again in heaven...I'm sure he knows that u love him...


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