My Daddy and What He Taught Me

The neighbor is having work done on her house. This usually wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but there is a strong smell of sawdust in my yard. That smell will forever remind me of my Daddy, who passed away over a year ago.

I’ve debated sharing this so many times, but if it may help someone else, it’s worth putting out there.

As I do my inside work, my roots, I keep coming back to my dad. We did not have an easy relationship for the second half of my life with him. If you know me, you know that we had a very rocky, complicated relationship. I loved him but I did not like him. The feeling was mutual – totally different views on life, totally different character, both a little too headstrong with a lot of words exchanged that probably shouldn’t have been said. It had gotten to the point that when I found out he was dying, I went to see him out of obligation. I knew I would regret it later if I didn’t and it was literally the last chance my children would have to know him. So we went. I resented disrupting my life to go all the way over there because I am selfish, I won’t lie, but we went.

When I saw him at my Paw Paw’s house the last time, I knew that if I didn’t make things right with my resentment between me and God, I would carry it forever. I went home and looked at pictures from before we had problems. I read his letters from Iraq. I thought about the relationship we had when he was just my Daddy, not someone I couldn’t be around, and prayed to God to change my mindset. It broke me. I cried. I mourned losing THAT man, the one whose eye I was the apple of, and my heart was broken.

That was a Thursday. Saturday morning I got a call to come now, and I did. I felt it the minute he passed. The day that he died, I was halfway to Deridder and I felt his soul leave this earth. I found myself begging that God would allow me to see him one last time to tell him everything I hadn’t let myself feel for him in a very long time. My conversation with God changed to asking Him to let Daddy know that he was forgiven and knowing that I was too. When I felt that it was over, this song came on the radio and I found myself worshiping and praising, thanking God for letting us reconcile without even being in each other’s presence. The final tears were a cleansing, knowing that the Holy Spirit interceded for me. That I was worth that intercession is mind blowing. That I was allowed to know the moment that the tie needed to be healed, and not just for Daddy…well, I don’t have words for that. The Lord has shown me confirmation of many of my roots through what most people would call coincidence. This past Saturday, at the same time that I passed the place where I began to feel him leave, the Lord revealed another root. An undeniable one. And confirmed it with this same song. The people of Oberlin will probably always wonder about that mess of a woman driving thru, but I personally am so thankful that God extends us His grace for our growth.

The point of this is that your feelings for or against someone have nothing to do with reconciliation. My Dad and I never had a talk clearing the air. I don’t know about him, but for me it wasn’t necessary because forgiveness and repentance have nothing to do with the person who wronged you, but it has everything to do with your relationship with God. Why muddy the water with feelings when God can handle matters of the heart for you?

So if you are in this situation, I can say from experience that you can absolutely love and mourn and grieve for someone you simply cannot like. Do I wish things had been different and we could have had a loving, traditional father-daughter relationship? Yes. Do I know that Daddy loved me and was proud of me in spite of our differences? Yes. So I have no regrets because I know God handled it for me. I know my Daddy knows my last pleas to God as he died. I know that he is at peace and forgiven, just like me.

Me & Dad



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