What do you do with the grief that sneaks up through the fruitless past and the lost potential of relationship?

The call came on Saturday, May 12th.  2:18 p.m. Central time is when my dad breathed his last. 

Relief.  I’m relieved that he’s finally, really, truly, at peace.  I’m relieved that the waiting is over; he’s dead. 

Over the years I’ve thought about what it would be like when my dad died.  Would I have regrets?  Would I be torn up and sad.  Would  lost opportunities haunt me?  Would I even care? 

That man who could speak Chinese, French, Vietnamese, German, Spanish and who knows how many others; that man couldn’t speak to me.  He talked at me; but I don’t remember any conversation in which he heard me. 

As a Christian, I believe he is in a place now where he can truly hear me.  And that he is hearing in a way that he can understand.  I don’t understand how it works, but I believe it does.

As a daughter I’m sorry I wasn’t a better one.  I know some psychological and relational reasons that affected our time together and made it fruitless in many ways.   I had already told him the five things that the hospice volunteers had suggested were important: 1. I love you, 2. I forgive you, 3. I’m sorry, 4. Thank you, and 5. you’re welcome.  I told them in a way that suited us, I think.  He didn’t respond much then as he was mostly only saying "yes" or "no" to simple questions.

Before I left Chicago on April 28th, I had one last private conversation with him.  I told him I was sorry I hadn’t been a better daughter.  And I asked him to forgive me.  And his final words to me were, "I forgive you everything." 

And I too really forgive him everything.  I am sure I won’t forget it; I won’t stop wondering if things could have been different somehow.  But I hope he is at peace.  I think life was hard for him.  I think he was somehow ill-equipped for the relationship gig.  And I’m glad he’s not suffering it anymore. 

dad head shot

"Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen."