There’s any number of things that I would not ever for, wish on even my worst enemy. Mine is the recent loss of my father to a brief battle with cancer.
I knew that this day was coming. My father was a lifelong smoker and I knew that either lung cancer would get him or a heart attack, such as had taken his father, who was also a lifelong smoker.
What makes this even more difficult is that I am having to go through this alone as I am an only child. That makes matters for me even more difficult because I have no one to share the burden of the grief that I am experiencing.
It feels as though a large portion of my very being has been excised. This is strange because, as a result of my parents’ divorce 18 years ago, my father and I had little interaction between ourselves. I would often say that the man who was my “dad” died at that time and a stranger was walking around in his skin, which is exactly how I experienced that reality. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that my father had apologized for the pain that he had caused in abandoning my mother who was recovering from a stroke at the time.
In the intervening years, I had made peace with my parents divorce, I had to because I met the woman that I married, which was something that I had to do if our marriage was to be successful. But that apology, that admission of fault, vindicated everything that I had thought and felt about the entire situation.
And now…he’s gone.
I am left to pick up the pieces.
In going through his things I found his Bible on the table by his chair. A Bible that my mother gave him just a few years before they divorced. It’s worn pages told me of a man who was wrestling with his personal demons. There were few marks in it, but there was a marker, a paper ruler that seemed to be marking where he had been reading to.
The past few months, he had been too weak to pick it up, reading was a laborious chore because of this. The last passage marked by the ruler was in the middle of that Bible; a single complete chapter was on that page and what looked like a fairly recent mark was placed by one verse:
Isaiah 12:2 (NKJV):
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.
I don’t know when he marked that, but when I saw it, my grief turned to joy.
While I would not ever wish for even my worst enemy to experience the pain that I feel in his absence, I would hope that everyone would experience the peace that I have in Christ made possible by the testimony of Scripture.