Or should I say, my grief and my faith?
Today I’m really missing my dad. I don’t know whether it’s a subconscious thing but somehow I always find myself missing him more at the end of the year as we get closer to his birthday in early December.
It’s crazy to think that it’s been nearly thirteen years without him already. That I was a scared fresher at university when my parents told us he’d been diagnosed with cancer and he was gone by the end of the summer term.
In the months in between he taught me a lot about faith. He stayed positive, he endured pain, and he never seemed to be afraid. He always believed in his God. And his relationship with his God was a beautiful thing to watch.
My siblings and I have all been raised in the Christian faith and I know it would break my dad’s heart for his death to have threatened my faith in God, but for a good few years, it did.
It took me a long time to get over the feelings of betrayal and insignificance resulting from the way in which my dad died. If he had been hit by a bus or struck by lightning or something it would have been more understandable to me than for him to be diagnosed with cancer and have months of prayer and faith and communion with God seemingly go unanswered with him dying anyway. Where was the good in a father being taken from his teenage daughters and long-awaited two year old son? Why would God refuse the most heartfelt and most important prayers I had ever made but grant me success in exams and job interviews and so on? What was the point in praying if we can’t influence God’s plan, if God wouldn’t change it even in the face of the fearful desperate prayers of a wife and her children?
To be honest, I don’t think I’m much closer to answering any of these questions. But I think the difference is, now, I’m ok to park them. I believe in a God, not a genie who grants whatever wishes I put to him. I believe God is good. He took Dad when he did, for a reason. I don’t know what that reason was, but maybe what needs to come out of it is that each of us strengthens our relationship with God. I am so much closer to my mum and sister than I was when Dad was here and I was so much of a daddy’s girl, because of what we have been through together in these thirteen years. My mum is awesome, absolutely amazing. She has been through so much and taught us so much by example. I hope I grow up (ok, grow older) to be even half the woman she is.
Of late, I have been quietly motivated to work on my relationship with God. Dad never met my husband or my sons, but in thinking about them I know it’s important to me to raise them in our faith. That means I need to be strong in mine.
I’m going to start by committing myself to reading the Bible more, to study what it says about God and the relationship He wants to have with us.
And in the meantime I’m going to try to pop round to the cemetery and say a sorrowful hello to my wonderful father at his graveside.
We miss you, Daddy. Sleep well.