This morning, at around 3:30a, my father passed away. He shared an intimate moment with my mother and then turned his head, as if something had caught his eye, and he was gone.
For those who never met him, my father was the greatest man to have ever lived. He was strong. I remember thinking when I was younger that there wasn’t a single physical challenge my father couldn’t meet. He was broad shouldered and solid, a man’s man. But he was strong emotionally too. He knew when it was okay to be transparent, and when he needed to prop up his family. He was a man of integrity. There was never a question of what choice to make – right was right, and wrong was wrong. He was a strong leader, he took initiative to pass on his wisdom and his faith to his children and to shape his wife and kids into Godly people.
He had been ill for 8 years now. We’ve known for a long time how he would pass. But that doesnt’ make this any easier. On my trip back from Wyoming I cried as I traveled alone. I thought of all the things that would never happen again. Dad would never be able to counsel me again, to help me find the right path in a dark and murky world. I would never see him hold his grand kids again, the joy in his face as he did so is now available only in my memories. I will never see him put his arm around my mom and give her a big kiss just because he wanted to show his love. I’ll never see him put aside every thought of himself to provide for, or protect his children. This part of me connects with an old Pink Floyd song, which goes something like this:
How I wish,
How I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
swimming in a fish bowl
year after year.
the same old ground
but have we found
the same old fears
I wish you were here.
And then I thought of something… He’ll never be short of breath again – he’ll never have to panic and wonder if this is the last breath he’ll draw. He’ll never spend another day unable to get comfortable because his disease makes every part of his body tender. He’ll never spend another day in a hospital hooked up to monitors with strangers constantly prodding and poking him. He’ll never have to be afraid of being alone again. He is, at this very moment, stronger and healthier and more regal than even my memories of him could ever be. He is so much more than what I ever saw him as – and he has never been more himself than he is right now. My dad is home, his broken body has been replaced with a glorious new one, and he is in the very presence of the God he joyously served his whole life.
I realize that my connection with the Pink Floyd song was a selfish, emotional response to loss. It’s understandable, and I don’t feel guilty for feeling that way, but I know that if dad knew the following song, he’d be singing this right now:
River, river carry me on
Living river carry me on
River, river carry me on
To the place where I come from
River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep
In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away
So dad, I miss you, but I am so happy that you are finally free of the pain and sorrow of this world. Thank you so much for the time, the tears, and the love that you poured into your family. Thank you for helping make me the man I am today, and thank you for showing me what a Godly man, husband, and father should be. I know I made you proud, because you told me so – I only hope that I can do the same with the rest of my days.
Oh, and I’ll take care of mom for you.
ETA: Memorial Service is Thursday at 2p at:
Lake Pointe Church
701 E I-30
Rockwall, TX 75087