One year ago today my father passed away. He died early in the morning on August 14, 2007. I received the news via phone at about 7 am. I am still numb. Is that wrong?
It isn’t that I don’t feel. I do. Sometimes harshly. Sometimes with such pain that I can barely breathe. Does that mean I have less faith than I should?
Everybody mourns in their own timing, their own way. In my case, I go off by myself. Maybe I don’t want to burden others with my pain. Maybe I just need to be alone for a season with my memories, both painful and joyous. Maybe I simply need to seek God.
This afternoon after work I will be going to his gravesite. I will be remembering. The faithfulness to my mom. The diligent work ethic. The expressions. The jokes. The stories, so many stories. The books, westerns mostly. Louis L’Amore was his preference, reading them over and over again. A body of literature read by a man whose life deserves a book of its own.
I will be going to a hillside decorated with the gravestones of military men and women and their spouses. A peaceful place set high on a hill with trees forming a backdrop for intermittent american flags and flower arragements. And I will remember. I will weep. And I won’t be ashamed. Yet I will also be thankful for a father who loved his family as he struggled all his life to provide for our needs. I will be thankful for a father who loved my mother, his wife, for 52 years of faithful marriage. As the summer heat visits that hillside and the clouds above form their expressions of creativity, I will pour out my heart to God once again, asking him to give me strength and wisdom to be the kind of man he made my father.
Maybe I am not so numb after all, now that the memories have arrived early. Maybe this struggle is forming in me a new maturity of faith which compels me to be utterly dependent on God in order to live a life of hope. For now, it is time to go and find out.