Losing a parent is never easy.
I know. I lost my father one year ago this month.
Even as I write those words, I can hardly believe it. I had fallen into a rut of telling people I lost my dad six months ago. Then last week, I started getting emotional about him all of the sudden, including in my dreams. That’s when it dawned on me: it was this time last year I received the call that my father had been admitted into the hospital with a brain bleed, and he never regained consciousness.
Over the past year, I’ve struggled with a lot of emotions ranging from anger to anxiety. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call my dad for advice, only to remember the reality that he is no longer alive seconds later.
It’s hard not to focus on the past after losing a parent:
Every holiday reminds me of the memories he will miss
Every past Facebook post that shows up in my feed reminds me that the time for making memories together has passed
Every time I go to make a major purchase, I try to imagine how he would handle himself
Perhaps what haunts me most is the fear that I didn’t learn enough about him, his history, and the generations of our family that came before me.
But if I’m honest about looking at those fears, I see it’s not so much about the past as much as it is grief over what me and my kids will miss out on by not having him as a part of our future.
Either way – whether focused on past or future regrets – neither is productive because both take my mind off of the truths of God and instead keep me harnessed by my circumstances.
When I stepped back to soak this in, I immediately remembered Matthew 6:34:
…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
So I replaced my fears about the loss of my earthly father with truths from my Heavenly Father:
God is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13).
God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:13).
God is able to bless us abundantly (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God is just (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
God is the builder of everything (Hebrews 3:4).
God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
and most importantly
God is love (1 John 4:8).
In the midst of chaos that is inevitable after the death of a loved one, the only thing we can be certain of is the consistency of God. I wrote these truths on Post-It notes and stuck them on my walls. I took a dry erase marker and wrote them on mirrors and windows. I even wrote them on my hand.
I never knew when a wave of grief would wash over me, so I wanted to be prepared with a love note from my Heavenly Father no matter where I was.
Of course, losing a parent as a forty-year-old looks much different than losing a loved one as a young child.
One of the toughest things we face as parents is helping our kids handle hurt.
In those times of pain, all our children want is what is known and comforting. When the world around them is chaotic, try to surround them with as many elements from their ‘normal’ daily routine as possible, whether that’s a cherished blanket or sticking to their typical bedtime and reading routine.
Good Good Father by Grammy Award-winning music artist Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett is a brand new book that takes the truths of God I spoke of above and puts them in a story even the youngest child can comprehend. Following the message of Tomlin’s hit song, this precious story will leave children – young and old – reassured that God is a good, good Father, and they are loved by Him when they hear the following promises:
– A Good Good Father protects us.
– A Good Good Father teaches us.
– A Good Good Father makes us well.
– A Good Good Father gives us what we need.
– A Good Good Father fills life with music and laughter.
And most of all, a Good Good Father loves us.
Loss is never easy, but love will always remain. Tomorrow is not guaranteed; God’s love is.
So wherever you find yourself today and whatever tragedies may come your way, you and your kids can rest in the knowledge that God’s love will never change or go away.
* * *
Have you, or someone close to you, recently gone through a season of grief? What does it mean to you to know you have a Good Good Father, no matter the circumstances you face? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!