16 years is a long time to be without your dad. It's 5844 days today, since you closed your eyes here on earth and opened them in heaven.
I’ll never forget the last few weeks, days or moments until we heard the words that you were gone. What a privilege it was for Mom and me to pray with you and to commit your spirit to our heavenly Father in those last few moments. What an honour it was to be there as you breathed your last breath. I will never forget.
Dad, you were sick for most of my life and even through those very hard years and the not-so-hard ones, you were always there. You sat quietly, mostly just observing because you couldn’t speak clearly. But I got you. I knew you. As quiet as you were, you also laughed out loud when I told you a funny story. Because you got me. You understood me even when others didn’t. And you didn't need to say a word for me to know that you loved me.
I’m grateful to you for the Father you were. I’m grateful for the times I spent with you in the garage as a teenager, working on the car. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see you get up early, to see Mom pushing you out into the garden, you getting out of your wheelchair and sitting in the dirt, because you wanted to make it look pretty for her. I’m grateful to have seen you go back there after lunch because it wasn’t a full day’s work if the sun hadn’t started setting yet.
Oh, how you loved Mom. She will always be your soulmate. The one you loved from the moment you laid eyes on her in school. Your love for her is still a testament today. The way you loved Tracey-Ann, Girschen and me. We couldn’t ever ask for more. We have had the best in you both. I just wish our kids got to know you. They would've loved you and I know you would've cracked up laughing at all of their funny and quirky ways.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to sit on your lap, in your wheelchair, and be held by you. I’m grateful for the times you listened and grateful for the times you tried to hard to explain what I should do when I didn’t have the answers myself, all while slurring and struggling to get the words from your mind to your mouth. It always took so incredibly long as you struggled to get the words out, 🙂 but I learned patience because of you.
I'm grateful to have seen you cry (even at my wedding). You showed me that no matter how strong you are, tears can make you stronger. You never hid your tears from me.
I’m most grateful for the times I saw you praying. Whether it was in bed, sitting by the fireside in the winter, or in the summer sunshine, you had your Bible and you prayed.
I’m grateful to have seen how you worshipped. How you would get up out of your wheelchair and stand to praise our Daddy-God in church, only to fall back down again, because your legs couldn’t hold your weight. A few minutes later, you would get back up again.
Daddy, what an example you were of never giving up. For never giving up on your healing and never giving up on your faith in the midst of so many personal challenges. Jesus remained the centre of your world to the very end.
I’m grateful that you believed in eternity. Because it may have been the end of your journey here on earth, but I know you live on in heaven. You’re healed, just like you wanted to be. You’re whole, just like the Bible promised you would be. And you’re Free, because of what Jesus did on the cross You’re in heaven because of the Father’s unconditional love for you. Happy heavenly anniversary - 16 years of health, wholeness, completeness, totally forgiven, totally free.
I wish I had more photos of us together..of me on your lap, or listening to you talk, you in the garden or us tinkering together on the car, or you out fishing with your friends. At least I've got one of you crying at my wedding. It will just have to do!
Thank you for being my example of how to live a life of faith. I may not always get it right, but thankfully, because of you, I know I don’t have to - because it’s not about me and what I can do, it’s all about Jesus and what He already did.
Daddy, I miss you.
Until we meet again in heaven.