“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Today is Father’s Day. Last year, Father’s Day is when I talked about my dad’s illness in public for the first time. Today, it’s exactly been a month since my dad left for his eternal home. This past month has been the most difficult month for me and my family. My mum and my brother were with him during his last hours. I, on the other hand was at the other end of the country - something I will regret for the rest of my life.
My dad talked to me on the phone the previous night and joked about how perfectly fine he was – this was after his admission in the hospital for vomiting blood. That’s just classic papa – not admitting he is weak or suffering. He hated showing any kind of weakness. He was a born leader. He would assume charge the minute he walked in to a room. People always looked to him for advice and opinions. He kept his reputation alive till the last minute. My mum told me later that he told her that he never wanted to be bed-ridden or spend his last minutes in the ICU. He told to my mum that the last thing he wanted to see was her face. And he did.
During the funeral service, there was one thing every single person said – that my dad was a man of faith. His faith was unshaken. No matter what he went through in his life, he kept his faith. He did not question God or His plans. I, on the other hand have done that a thousand times in the past month. Of course my dad wanted to be healed and obviously he wanted to live a long healthy life with his family; but he was willing to accept whatever came his way. There have been times when my dad’s visitors wouldn’t know what to say to him; but not my dad. He always knew what to say. He said the same thing every time- to not lose heart, to trust in the Lord and His plans.
After his retirement last September, my dad was pretty much at home because of his sickness, which meant there were visitors every single day. He loved people so much so that we, the rest of the family, started grumbling every time somebody came. He wanted to share his joy with others, the joy of knowing a God who gave him a smile on his face even through terminal cancer. Not only did he take care of his spiritual business, he also took care of every single thing concerning our lives; including the insurance papers. I haven't known anybody more responsible than my dad.
Through this one year of living with cancer, my dad hardly showed symptoms of liver cancer. He didn’t have any pain. He had a normal appetite and he was not bed–ridden. He vomited blood a couple of times and was hospitalised and that was it. He went for almost all the church meetings and Sunday services. He suffered only during the very end, for an hour or so. We have heard so many stories of years of battle with cancer and the horrible pain people go through. When we look back we can’t help but thank God for His love for my dad and His care for us. He left his temporary home which has so much suffering and pain and reached his eternal home which has the only thing that matters - God himself.
As sad as I am, I am filled with joy too; knowing that my dad has already reached the place that we all hope to be some day. I cannot ask for anything more than a chance to be reunited with my dad, and that’s exactly what I am going to get. I will see my dad one day and worship the Lord in whom he had put his trust - together. For it says , "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first." 1 Thessalonians 4:16
I don't know how one can go through life without knowing that you will see your loved ones ever again. The only reason I haven't had a nervous breakdown is because of the assurances I have from the word of God. As hard as it may be, I want to live out 1 Thessalonians 4:13 -
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope."
My dad has truly lived the quote by Spurgeon which says, “When the time comes for you to die, you need not be afraid, because death cannot separate you from God’s love.”
He wasn't afraid; not even a bit. He truly fought the good fight, finished his race and kept the faith. What a privilege to be called his child! I hope I too can leave a legacy for my kids, a legacy of faith- for there is nothing more precious to behold when you lose a piece of your heart.
Happy Father’s Day Papa- until we meet again!