A Father’s Love for Our Father
By: Eileen Singletary
Death is perhaps the most difficult and challenging part of our lives.
Odd~ as it is one of the most certain things which will occur to each of us.
No one is ever fully prepared to lose one they love. The pain and the heartbreak cannot be put into words.
The process of grief is long and honestly never ending. Grief and the loss of a loved one never leaves us.
But, with the grace of God and our faith we do survive and somehow thrive.
My father was the first person closest, nearest and dearest to my heart to leave this world.
His passing to heaven left a void and hole in my heart that can’t be described. As a child you never think your parent will leave this earth and as an adult you only hope.
My dad led a most faith filled, faithful, prayerful life. He was a quiet, simple, good, holy and humble servant of God. God was at the center of his life. Everything began and flowed from his relationship with the Lord. He laid a firm foundation of faith for my family. God was always first, and then came family and community.
My dad lived each day spreading and preaching the Gospel in his words and deeds. He trusted in God. He trusted and believed whole heartedly and unreservedly in all circumstances of his life, particularly in and through the storms. Like Christ, daddy suffered a lot in his life, yet he always carried his crosses high. He knew His Father’s love. I remember when he was very ill, he would wait for mom at 3pm when she came back from the school where she taught. He would make sure to get up and make her feel welcome. He never wanted her or us to worry for him.
Daddy was diagnosed with Cancer when I was in high school. He was given a short span of time to live but, beat all odds. God blessed our family 25 wondrous years before he was diagnosed again but, this time the Lord had different plans, He invited him back home.
My father taught me many lessons in faith which I didn't fully appreciate until his passing. In his life and in his death my dad never waivered in his faith or beliefs. Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is (he knew) love. He was the oldest of 8 siblings and his father died when he was young so he took it upon himself to be the father figure since he was young. When he was a football player at the University of Miami he made sure he took his whole family to church on Sundays. He then got married and our family consisted of 4 sisters. We would go to mass together and I’ll never forget we would all fight to sit next to daddy. His daughters were his greatest gifts. My sister Cathy is a nurse, and my father never trusted anyone to take care of him as he trusted her. He always wanted to know her opinion.
My dad died as he lived with the great peace and love of Christ filling his heart and soul. He continued to be filled with the Fruits of the Spirit~ spreading kindness, goodness, compassion, understanding and love to all around him. My father was dying yet, he was sill the one comforting, consoling, teaching and loving us all. He was a police officer and his job was also one of his most important ministries. Seeing some of his best friends get killed in the line of duty was not easy, but he never stopped believing and he had a very forgiving heart.
Saying our final goodbyes to a loved one can be a turning point. We find our way through these times by relying on divine strength. Peace of mind only comes with the reminder that~ I am in God and God is in me.
My father’s passing reminded me that I/we are never truly alone. Never alone from our loved ones who have passed, for we are one in Spirit. We all suffered when he died in our own way, but we all knew that we had the best example of a disciple of Christ. Nobody can ever take daddy’s examples from us, and the way I keep his memory alive is by doing what I know he would want me to do.
Daddy’s' passing lead to a great spiritual awakening and reawakening of my own faith. A drastic change and transformation took place in my heart. For this, I am eternally grateful. As I dealt with the sadness, sorrow and wounds of my heart, I turned, as my father, to God. I also relied on my faith, my father’s love and Our Father’s great love. I began to attend daily Mass as it was a way of feeling particularly close to my dad in our Father’s home. My dad left this world, but he has never left me. I am gifted as his spirit and love dwell deep within my heart and soul with God.
My father was a great spiritual companion and inspiration.
I am blessed to have witnessed and been a part of an incredible faith filled journey with my father. My spiritual life is richer and fuller as he had the most profound effect on me and my faith life.
I try to honor my dad’s loving memory every day since his passing 17 years ago in some small way, in an act of love and kindness toward another in his name.
I am grateful each day for my dad as he instilled in me a great love of God and our Catholic faith. Like my father, my faith has sustained me through many trials in my life.
I never imagined suffering so great a loss would have equipped me and my heart to be present and journey in faith with many as they travel back home to heaven. What a wondrous gift in faith. To sit and listen, to hold a hand, to run an errand, to cook a meal, to sit in silence, to pray, to be fully present as one takes their last breath here on earth.
God has blessed me with beautiful witnessing of the most faith filled and Saintly servants peacefully returning back home to our Father.
As God heals our wounds, we are able (as our treasured Pastor preaches) to be wounded healers. My father and our Father have blessed me with an amazing gift.
As we grow in faith and become more Christ like, we begin to see, hear and feel with the heart of Christ. It is in the seeing that we must respond. And after daddy’s' death I began to respond without hesitation.
As I open my eyes and heart to others, I am gifted and blessed in ways beyond understanding. Losing a loved one is never easy but, it’s a part of our journey and as we journey in faith we come to understand
that we live in this world but, as I saw with my father and as Saint Augustine says, “We are restless, until we rest in Him.” As much as I miss the physical presence of my father, there is a great joy in knowing he is in Heaven.
We pray what we believe and we believe what we pray. I share with you a verse from the book of Revelation - one of my dearest best friend’s favorite books to read when a little down about this world and when thinking of his mom and all of the saints who have gone before him - as we pray so often in Mass, “marked with the sign of faith.” In Chapter 21, verse 4 St. John writes of his vision of the heavenly throne: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is God’s promise to us. My daddy, your loved ones, and all of those faithful that we know who have preceded us in death are alive in this beautiful vision in which there are no more tears, no more death, no more mourning or pain.
We depend upon God’s promise to us as we try each day to be faithful to the teachings of our faith. And we are able to sustain this faithfulness because we know God in a very real way though the very real lives of these saints.
Next time you encounter someone in pain, don't just wince and
pass by with a shrug. Hurting people need a bit of color to brighten
their dark places, and they need to remember the promise that God
is with them right where they are. Where rainbows grow,
angels sing and courage becomes contagious. You can be
a rainbow gardener by opening your heart even if you're in pain yourself.