My dad died on Easter the year it was also April Fool’s Day. God picked the day. And it suited Dad. Ever the jokester, he’d think it funny that God chose this particular day for his homecoming.
But none of this was funny at the time, of course.
Grief is hard. And it’s personal and lonely and hard. Yes, I said it again.
I am the last one left.
And I realized I am the last one left in my little family of origin. Many, many years ago my mom had a fatal heart attack. Then a while back, my brother died for stupid reasons. (Another story for another time.)
Now my dad.
Sure, I cried. Of course I cried. Death hurts. But I didn’t cry without hope.
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. 1 Thessalonians 4:13, ESV
My brother’s death brought Dad and I close. Grieving together we recaptured years lost to busyness and complications. We laughed, we cried, we lived, we loved. But now I sensed loneliness.
I wore pink.
At my dad’s funeral, I shared my eulogy at a Catholic church in a suburb of Chicago. My dad’s second family–his widow and three young adult children–chose traditional black attire.
I wore pink. For me, death has lost its sting.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:56, ESV
My Eulogy for Dad
Dad loved deep. This is what I’ll always remember about him.
He cried when Ted died, when he buried his eldest child, just a few years ago. Tears of grief, of love. What a tragedy, losing Ted. Dad and I grew close, then, grieving together, sharing stories, and healing.
Dad didn’t have the easiest childhood or teen years. But he kept on moving forward. He didn’t quit. Even in his 30s when he had horrible back pain and his first back surgery … even in his 40s when a doctor finally diagnosed him with manic-depression and he got on medication, he didn’t quit.
When I asked his doctor a while back jus how depressed he was, on a scale from 1 to 10, he said a minus 11. A minus 11? This was eye-opening to me. It is a testimony to just how deep Dad loved.
Even in deep depression, he did what he had to do to take care of his family. Family was his priority. He loved all of us in the crazy, complicated way only he could. I will miss the cat stories and our Saturday lunches and the crazy Goodwill purchases he kept in his trunk.
I will miss Dad, who loved deep.
Do you know grief too?
A better question may be who doesn’t know grief, right? Here are a few resources I recommend for folks grieving the loss of a loved one. I and the other counselors at Biblical Counseling Center also offer to come alongside you in your pain and help you make sense of it all.
God’s Grace in Your Suffering by David Powlison
Grief: Waling with Jesus by Bob Kellemen
God’s Healing for Life’s Losses by Bob Kellemen
Suffering Is Never for Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot