When we were young, my brother (1 year older than I) and I called my father, Daddy. Around the time I was 11 or 12, he said that it sounded kinda like something babies would say, and that we should stop and call him Dad instead. It seemed odd at first to me, and I could tell by the expression on my father’s face he noticed, but never said anything about it. I don’t know if it hurt him or if it was just awareness and he thought what my brother had said, is that we were old enough to stop saying Daddy. About 15 or so years later I was working at the family grocery store and an older man from the neighborhood came in with his son. The father was about 75 and his son close to 50. As they went about their business, talking about what they needed and such, every time the son spoke to his father, it was something like, “Hey, Daddy, how much hamburger do we need?” Or, “Daddy, do you want Vanilla Ice cream or chocolate?” It was not forced, the son did not seem to be bothered because he was “too grown up” to call his father Daddy. I felt guilty for my actions when I was younger, but by this time, it was a habit and until days before my father died, I called him Dad. I wanted to talk to him about a lot of things, how much I appreciated all he had done for me, how much I learned from him, how much I loved him, but as we sat and I tried to talk, the words wouldn’t come, or I would get too emotional so we didn’t talk. But, it was all things I wanted to make sure I said to him, things I had wanted to tell him for years, apologies for stupidity when younger, appreciate for all the things he did for me and just to make sure he knew exactly how much I loved him so I decided to write a letter. It was extremely difficult to write, because of the emotions, but I did get it written and was going to give it to him, but I was out of town with the military and I learned he was back in the ICU and not doing well. I was making arrangements to get up there, but it was a few hours away and I had to make sure he got the letter so I contacted my brother and emailed it to him so they could print it and read it to him. My dad was on BiPap, the mask machine they use as a step between oxygen mask and putting the patient on a ventilator as he was having some trouble breathing and needed the support. My sister in law read it and as she did, my brother told me my father started to become more alert and then he wanted the BiPap off. He took it off, sat up and listened intently. I managed to get there a few hours later and he did not look like I expected from what I had been told. I visited a while and the next day I had to go back to the base for a couple days, then was able to spend the rest of the time with him. I lost him about a week later. But, I got to share my thoughts of him with him and while he did not say anything, I knew it meant a lot to him.
As I face my fourth Father’s Day without my Daddy, I still have him with me, I talk to him sometimes, mostly just to think outloud, but sure wish I could really talk to him again. Despite that, I still have my Heavenly Father with whom I can speak, He listens to everything I say and answers my prayers. Sometimes the answer is yes, other times no and yet other times it is “be patient my child, all things will be as I wish, just be patient, My time is not your time, have faith and be patient.” I do my best, sometimes, being patient isn’t easy and often my faith is tested, but, He has been there with me through those times and helps my faith grow in the hard times and teaches me the patience.
I know that at times my daddy wasn’t the perfect father, but he was so much better than most and for him, I thank God. I pray that I was half the father to my children.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I hope all that still who’s fathers are living make sure to take time to call and if able, go see them. They sacrificed a lot for you and it will bless you to see them, and bless them as well. Any who are fathers, I pray you talk to God and ask His help in raising your children. Any others, like me who have lost their fathers, just take a few minutes and thank God for them and spend a few minutes remembering the good times.
Dear Lord, I praise and thank You for the father You gave me. He raised me to be honest, loyal and to work hard and I know so many that never learned that. I thank You that he showed me to work hard and to face adversity with dignity and to not succumb to the temptation to be petty and small or to lower myself to others’ levels when they try to argue or fight. He taught me kindness and compassion and to continue to be kind and compassionate, despite others abusing that at times or pretending to appreciate his kindness but then turned on him, later to come and ask for help again. He never let their past misdeeds keep him from following your guidance on how to treat others. I pray that You help me be the man he was and to be the father and grandfather I should be in a way that honors you.
In Jesus Name, Amen.