For My Father

Yesterday I visited a grave with my mother. My father’s grave. We lost him eight years ago to prostate cancer, aged a very young sixty four. He had recently retired and was looking forward to traveling, gardening and voluntary work for his church and a number of charities he was involved in. He was a great man and a great loss. I only cried once, at his bedside when they turned his ventilator off. Once.

Since that day I have cried many times. But on each occasion I have been crying for myself. Selfish, shameful tears. And I wonder what my father would have made of the various messes I have made of my life. I am certain of one thing though. He would have forgiven me. Because that’s the type of man he was. It’s another reason I need to forgive myself for my past. I owe it to those people, dead and alive, who have forgiven me. They deserve better than the sight of me wallowing in self-pity.

When we left the graveyard I told my mother for the first time that I had started to write a book. I am still very shy about telling people. But she seemed genuinely interested about it or as interested as my mother is about anything these days. It was then she told me that my father had always dreamt of writing a book but never had the opportunity. It was taken away from him just like he was taken away from us. His death was senseless and it knocked me off track for many years. But now I have focus again.

Graves are full stops on lives. They are shrines to the past. Yet if you believe in an afterlife, as I do, they are meaningless; for my father was not in that grave we stood shivering beside yesterday morning. He was elsewhere. He was never in that grave for his journey continued onwards. The dead travel beyond the grave but so many of the living cannot. How many people have given up on life at the loss of a loved one? Been unable to move beyond the trauma of bereavement? Become the living dead?

We must look beyond the grave. Grief is a process and for many it is a long, hard journey but we must endeavour to push through that process to the other side. We must keep going for those who need us and rely upon us. Death can distract us from life. Many almost see grief as as a relief as it allows them to raise the white flag and collapse at gravesides never to rise again. The dead deserve better than that from us. We owe it to them to pick ourselves up, walk away from the graveside, and live. Somehow.

I’m writing this book for many reasons and for many people. But now I have another. It is the book my father never wrote. It is me telling the world that I forgive him just as I forgive myself. Just as he has risen to a better place I too have risen from the ashes of grief and shame. My sinful past is just that, the past. I am walking away from the grave of my former self. I have no need for wreaths and headstones for I have words now. Words of truth and hope. They are my dream and they will become my legacy. Because I know I can do this. And I will.

In loving memory of Andrew Charles Black 18.05.45 – 08.02.2010.

56 thoughts on “For My Father

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  1. I find it interesting that we build shrines to two things: those that have died and to idols. Almost always it is easier to hold onto our shrines than it is to hold on to God. It is a beautiful thing to honor your father’s unfinished dream I pray that you would also fulfill the dream our Father in heaven has for you in becoming the man, father, and husband He has purposed for you to be big brother πŸ™‚

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  2. I am so sorry you lost your Dad. It was so sad to read that you felt your tears afterwards were shameful. We all make many mistakes, I am sure your Dad was very proud of you regardless. A lovely piece.

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  3. I think your father would be proud of your words and emotions that you have shared. As a parent I am proud of my children no matter what they do and I think your father would have been the same with you. I think that you are hard on yourself rather than looking at it as learning life’s lessons. You certainly have a way with words and there have been a couple of your blogs that have made me make life-changing decisions, so continue your journey with words, your father would be proud.

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  4. Great post that highlights the conflicting feelings you seem to have. I don’t fear death and don’t think your father did either. And you are right, that grave is empty and he has moved on to another place. There is nothing wrong with showing emotion and I don’t see it as shameful but as a loving tribute to a great man you loved. He sees you and he is proud of you and moved by your loving thoughts. Make that book happen! You have some wonderful thoughts that need to make it to paper.

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  5. The push and pull of life and death is beautifully expressed in your words. You open yourself so completely reminding us that we are not alone in our feelings of regrets and pain. I look forward to reading your book, my friend as much as I look forward to your blog. You have much to impart to this world. Keep writing.

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  6. I am so sorry for your loss and can relate you to. I lost my mom suddenly 3 1/2 years ago when she was 60. It sounds like you have come a long way and I’m sure your dad is with you and proud of your accomplishments. Writing his book is such a wonderful thing to do in his honor. As I have learned, grief most certainly is a long road and all we can do is triumph above the mistakes and hard roads we have traveled. ❀

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  7. That grave site is beautiful. Even if they are not there it helps our fragile souls to grieve. Grief is such a journey and it is one that can never stop. I watch my own mother get stuck for many, many years when her mom passed. The whole course of her life was changed. I would say decades have gone by now and her potential was stolen. I love my mom and I know she is happier now. And I’m thankful. And as John 10:10 I pray we all are able to live life to the fullest.

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  8. What a painful blessing grief can be. It hurts but has taught me so much about appreciating what life has for me NOW, and letting past mistakes rest, while at the same time holding on to the lessons and the beautiful memories. Thank you for writing this.

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  9. Beautiful..I have lost many and much of myself was lost with those loved ones. I believe the enemy uses grief to destroy us. Look what he tried to do to my marriage. Write that book for you both. I believe in you!

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  10. I lost my father a month after my 18th birthday and I have always wanted to honor his memory with my actions. I love how regenerative this experience seems to be for you and I think he will guide you through your book–best of luck, not that you need it. πŸ™‚

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  11. This is a very moving post. And I hope the writing of your novel continues to go well. My father is still alive, although his memory problems make it difficult for him to remember what I said to him three minutes earlier, and I am now the owner of a cabin that he designed. Like you, I am also writing a novel, or maybe a novella, which I have not tried to do in many years, and I feel that in a way I am writing it to become closer to my father. I enjoyed this post very much.

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  12. Such a touching post.Open and beautiful,honest feelings are never too much to be exposed.we all make mistakes and we all regret something but that’s life.Your father knew it as well.the book will be your work together.

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  13. I believe you will succeed, mainly because a daily post is so much work, and you do it so seemingly effortless. You have the gift of words that touch hearts and change lives. What a gift for the world from our God who loves us with an unfailing love. I consider your blog a precious gift to me from Abba, my Father. Thank you for being real. I think you book will be grand. But, don’t let it consume you. Write it but keep balance, meaning don’t forget to live and breathe other parts of your life. I know your father would be proud of this blog site, so take time for self and self-care. We are rooting for you and with you.

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  14. I am sorry for your loss. Since my husband passed away suddenly nearly 5 yrs ago I found myself in limbo and liked what you wrote: “We owe it to them to pick ourselves up, walk away from the graveside, and live. Somehow.” which is what I have been struggling to do. I did it when my own father and mother passed away – through bringing new life into the world with my children. Not long ago I had a vision during my meditation time of dancing with Jesus with husband looking on smiling – knowing that dance is giving me a new life that I should live – rediscovering my passion for the mission field. Your dance with Jesus is writing your book – The Holy Spirit of Jesus giving you the words to write and your father looking on smiling as you discover your passion for writing this blog and your book and living the way it should be. My prayers and love to your mother –

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      1. Thank you – yes he would, he was and is with me on my spiritual journey. He introduced me to the true Jesus and always was encouraging me to grow and spread my wings. πŸ™‚ And now the Holy Spirit has led me to blogs to continue my journey, and I thank Him for your encouraging and hopeful words each day. Both of you are indeed an instrument used by God. πŸ™‚

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  15. How wonderful that you’ve started writing a book! Your father, I’m sure, would be thrilled for you. As for your tears being selfish and shameful, I disagree. God gave you tears for loss just as he gave you a heart for love. There’s no shame in grieving. Yes, our loved ones live on in the beyond, but we are still humans living on earth and losing someone you love hurts. Cry, release, and write on.

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  16. This is so nice. Everyone deals with grief differently. I haven’t seen my husband since the funeral when his dad passed away in October. (as you know, he’s been deployed-I realize that may sound odd to other people reading this wondering why I haven’t seen him) But, he did tell me he “feels” him when he’s running. As you can relate, running can be therapeutic and I’m so glad he has found that way to process his grief.

    I’m so excited about your book! Best of luck with it! Your dad would be so proud!

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    1. Thank you. It must be hard for you being apart from him so much but it also says a lot about the strength of your marriage. I hope my book reaches Hawaii one day or wherever it is you are living then. I’m averaging about 500 words a day at present.

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  17. This is such an inspiring, beautifully written post. Your words resonate deeply with me. The month of February is a hard month in my home for it the month I lost my father unexpectedly due to a doctor’s negligence. This month will be 3 years. I admire your courage and I am sure your dad would be very proud. All the best with your book.😊

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