I lost my dad about six months ago to leukemia, a deadly cancer that has now claimed two of my family members. This was an extremely pivotal point in my life, but it seems as if nothing changed. To provide context, my dad was diagnosed with this cancer in January of 2017. This was the very same day that I was offered a promotion at work. This promotion would require me to move six hours away from my family, and I would have to move in a short amount of time. This wasn’t a big deal being that I already lived two hours away. However, the weight came from the tragedy that was happening with my daddy. It seemed like I was running away from him. I didn’t have time to fully celebrate my success because I was so torn with the fear of possibly losing him and moving away.
I remember telling him about my new position over the phone, he was so happy for me. He kept saying that he wanted to move with me, and get away from the country life. Although I explained to him that this city wasn’t too much different, he was convinced that I was a big shot living in a big city. Daddy always had a way of making me feel special. I knew he loved me before he even would say it.
The time had come for him to start his treatments in Birmingham which was only two hours from my new city. I remember feeling overjoyed but very fearful. I loved the fact that he was closer, but I feared his death coming when I didn’t expect it. When I would visit him, I would stare at him while he slept. I wondered if his time had come, but he would wake himself up from his sleep talking. One of the many times that his sleep talking actually gave me relief. He would always look over at me and momma to ask if we were okay. What are the odds of that? He would ask “us” if “we” were okay… This blew my mind because he was so weak and broken, but still showing that he loved and cared for his family. His love caused me to fear his death even more. I was always told that I was so fortunate to have a dad in the home. The idea of him didn’t mean too much to me until now.
Even though my daddy was cleared from cancer, it came back aggressively two months later. I felt like my hope was ripped from me. I never thought I would experience this level of pain. I started living life in space, I was floating on fear and moving on anxiety. When the time came for treatments, daddy had to be admitted back into the hospital in Birmingham which gave me the opportunity to visit him more. I remember not seeing him for awhile because I was so busy with work. What a terrible excuse… Every time we would talk, he would explain to me that he needed to see me before it was too late. Little did he know, that made me not want to visit him at all. I felt like it was just my luck to lose him on a random visit. Satan was really in my head. I felt like all my blessings came with a curse. This being one of the biggest ones. I wasn’t in a place of prayer and community, so my thoughts were toxic, fearful, and empty.
I had finally gotten over myself, and drove to Birmingham to see him. He didn’t know that I was coming because I had told momma to not tell him. I remember peeking my head through the door and seeing him. He glanced up at me and jumped to his feet screaming, “oodie, oodie!” This is one of my weird nicknames that I wasn’t too fond of, but daddy obviously didn’t care about that. He embraced me so gracefully, I could feel his love in his arms and his warmth through his skin. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and stood back to look me in the face to tell me that he missed me. This was such a memorable moment for me. I had feared this exact moment, but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful moments I had ever experienced. It was only a couple of weeks later that I would never feel his warmth, hear his voice, or see his smile again.
I seen him one last time before he left us, and I thought I was ready. The doctors had told us the truth about his condition so we were preparing for the time to come. It is a true statement when they say you can never be ready because I surely wasn’t. I remember seeing my entire family in the comfort care center. We were all piled up in his room indirectly saying our goodbyes. The beautiful part within all of this is seeing him laughing and joking with all of us. I just observed his last joyful moments and it brought pain and joy to my heart. It was getting late, so I sat on his bed to say goodbye. He looked me into my eyes with a smile and told me, “Its getting late, girl. You need to get on that road and head back to work.” I only could just stare at him and think… this man still had regular things on his mind. He had accepted his death.
Why hadn’t I?
I buried my daddy and experienced empty notions of kindness from my peers, colleagues, and family. I dealt with the shame of my inner time bomb exploding at his funeral. I dealt with people who I loved dearly still consider themselves when I was hurting. I dealt with packing my clothes, sucking up my tears, and driving back to my new city.
Yet, here I am, six months later still in the same place. I wake up to the reality that I will never see him again. I wake to other people’s problems and family dilemma. I wake up to the morning heart aches and pain.
I wake up…
To the truth. My daddy accepted Christ before he died, and I claim to be a believer of Christ and His word, so there’s hope.
But sin sometimes keeps me bind up in pain, expecting temporal satisfactions that has no eternal prominence. I expected my position to change in friendships and relationships. Maybe I won’t have to give as much, but that only lasted for two months. I expected to wake up one morning with joy in my heart, but that thought lasted less than a second. I expected for my family to be respectful and supportive, but that only lasted for a few days.
I expected things from man, that I can only receive from God.
Easily written, hardly recognized.
Life didn’t stop because of me. The world moves no matter what we experience, but I often wonder how life would be if I didn’t know Christ. Although I have this doubt and deal with such suffering, I have hope for the glory that will be revealed. The beauty of not suffering, losing, crying, hurting and sinning. Thanks to the saving grace that Jesus provided for me, its a privilege to say that my suffering is not in vain. It even pains me to write these words, but I believe this.
God is sovereign. He’s teaching me something through my daddy’s death. I am not sure what it is yet, but I believe that he is causing all things to work together for my good. Crazy to admit, but true at the same time. Life without hope is vanity. I cling to the hope I have in him. Even if it seems thin, I can’t loosen my grip.
Because in hope, I will persevere.