When someone wished me a “Happy Father’s Day” at work on Friday (I fill orders on an order picker for an industrial supply company), I drove away heartily reciprocating, “Thanks! You too buddy!” (and I did so genuinely…because I know he’s a good dude and a good father and I knew he was aloof to my situation)…but as soon as those words left my mouth, when I passed into an area of the warehouse where I was all by myself…depression set in and this grown man started crying. With an hour still left on the clock, I suppressed my emotions and pressed on. I wiped my tears with my hands and dried my face with the sleeve of my dusty shirt and within minutes, I was refocused. But at the end of my shift, on my way out the door, my solitude under the blanket of night gave my heart permission to feel again. And the tears came out from hiding.
I know this may sound redundant in light of my most recent post (These Last Four Years)…but feelings aren’t redundant. They are as alive as the ocean and likewise subject to the changing pressure in the atmosphere. Last week, we were thunderstruck with loss yet again with the passing of the last patriarch of our family, my wife’s grandfather – the man who married us over 7 years ago. He died at 85 after collapsing from a bleeding brain. Yesterday, the family gathered to say goodbye, carrying our grief into the day we are supposed to honor our dads – young and old.
Heather, about a month ago, upon accepting the fact that we can’t have kids, brought to light the depth of my sorrow that swelled into the internal thunderstorm I experienced at work upon my friend wishing me a “Happy Father’s Day” – I am both childless and fatherless. Death is at both ends. No one to reach down to. No one to reach up to.
On this Father’s Day, a day which I took for granted for nearly three decades, I am living in the cold shadow of grief having lost my baby, my fathers and grandfathers. But wherever there is a shadow, there is light. And this shadow leads me to my Father in Heaven. To the Person who fashioned me and knows me. To the One who counsels me and comforts me. To the One who is proud of me and picks me up when I fall. To the One who shares my abandonment and promised He would never leave me or forsake me. And to the One who assured my fathers and grandfathers – who I loved – the same. To Him they belong.
To those of you who do not know your fathers – or have been abandoned by them – by their own volition or by death – I am sorry you are hurting today. To you dudes who are unable to have children or who have lost one to miscarriage, death or abortion – I am sorry you are hurting today. To you fathers who feel inadequate, I am sorry you are hurting today.
Today, I am reminded that I am numbered among them…
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