Tomorrow is Father’s Day. A day to celebrate and honor all that fathers give to us. A day where I reflect on how incredibly thankful I am for the father that I have been given.
But this year I won’t get to see my dad on Father’s Day. He’s in a memory care facility where no visitors are allowed due to COVID restrictions. And sometimes when I call him on the phone, he seems to know who I am to some extent. And other times, the conversations are fragmented and confusing. And I’ve been grieving his decline so much these last few months. He’s not the daddy that I’ve known all my life because of this cruel disease ruining his brain.
Last Father’s Day, though, in 2019, I wrote down every detail of the time I got to spend with him because I knew that the Father’s Days to come would be difficult and painful. And I’m so glad I did because this is the way I always want to remember him. My daddy – the strong one, the faithful one, the prayer warrior, the protector, the fun-lover, the one with a good sense of humor (who has never lost his love of ice cream).
Thank you, Jesus, for the memories and for all the years you have given me with my father.
And if this year, you too are grieving a lost father in your life for any reason, just know my heart is with you and I’m feeling the pain alongside you. May Christ bring you His comfort.
I want to remember every detail of this day with my daddy.
Of taking him out to ice cream at Baskin Robbins – of him saying he remembered coming here when I was younger …
Of him choosing two scoops of strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone and sitting at that little table for two over by the window …
Of him telling me the story again of how he got saved, how he dated that one girl on the farm but wasn’t really into her (“I don’t care what they say, you’ve got to be somewhat attracted to her!”) and hearing him laugh when I told him, “Yes, you always said you’d have to look at their face over the breakfast table for the rest of your life, so you’d better be able to tolerate it!”
Of him saying how the dementia took him by surprise … how he showed up at work one day and couldn’t remember one of the guys’ names, and that’s when he knew it was starting … how some things are just completely out of your control.
How he said he believed God was in control and how He could cure his mind if He wanted to, but even if he didn’t and he died in three months, it would be okay because he’d go home to be with the Lord.
How he said more than once that God is good, and God is faithful and quoted Lamentations 3:22 – “It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed – they are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.”
How he knew that God would provide the right godly husband for me – that I’d have no problem because I was an attractive young lady with a sweet spirit … how he commended me for my faith.
How he prayed for me on the way home, and then he prayed for me one more time back at home, with his arm around me, my head resting on his shoulder, and got a little choked up.
This could be the last Father’s Day I get to spend with him. Or the last one where he remembers me.
So let me hang on to every last moment of spending time with my daddy the way I’ve always known him and loved him – so faithful, so committed, so loving, so humble, so dependent on the Lord till the very end. There’s just no other man out there like him. And I’m so grateful that I’ve gotten to share all these years with him.
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