Thanks to all of you who emailed, sent cards, phoned, and all the support about my dad. He’s buried now and our family has been a tremendous support to each other through it all. There’s no doubt in my mind now that my father is still encouraging and supporting each of us even now. It was very difficult for a few days, but then a moment of revelation and clarity came and I knew I didn’t need to worry for my dad any more – it would be him still helping us.
Of all the pain, I know the hardest is that I simply miss him. I will miss his laugh and hearing his stories, having him to listen to me when I needed an ear, knowing that he was always proud of each of us, and always knowing there was someone that loved and knew each of us better than we knew ourselves (as kids).
I read one of the readings at my dad’s funeral – and this was the one that the priest picked. Strangely enough – it’s the very one I was thinking of when trying to describe what my dad and his life was like. In raising 8 kids, he sacrificed much and endured a lot of long nights with sick kids, attending countless concerts/sporting events/plays/ceremonies, saw countless times he did without a lot so that we could have a bit more, and did not pursue many of his own dreams in order that we could. Yet through it all, he said many times he wouldn’t have traded any of it for anything. Dad told us that he invested his life in each of ours – not in a fancy retirement. But not only just us – but for the entire 6 hour wake we had a never-ending line of people in the community that came to see him off from all the different groups he worked with and folks he had helped over the years.
But he didn’t do all of that just because he wanted to be a great dad or citizen – but because he actively took the journey of self-giving love that connected him more and more deeply with God. He attended mass nearly daily and prayed the rosary regularly to learn that kind of love – the love that teaches you that it’s when you empty yourself for the sake of others that you find true freedom. The kind that is real Christian love – not just charity or humanitarianism. If there was someone who taught me what Christian love was by his actions, that would be my dad. When I showed this passage to my sister – she laughed and said – that was dad. And I agreed:
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels; but do not have love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge;
and if I have faith so great as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give all my possessions and even if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient,
Love is kind.
Love is not jealous;
Love does not brag – love is not arrogant.
Love does not act unbecomingly; nor does it seek its own,
Love is not provoked,
Love never takes into account a wrong suffered,
Love does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices with the truth;
Love bears all things, love believes all things, love hopes all things, love endures all things.
Love never fails.