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A Father’s Day Message: My Promise to Dad
Years ago my grandmother passed away. It was an incredibly painful time for my father. His mother had been ill for some time and the pain she suffered with shingles was depressing. My father wasn’t planning to attend her funeral. She had prearranged for everything and she left behind instructions to be cremated.
“Her body won’t be there,” he told me. “I’m not going to go.”
It didn’t make sense to me so I pleaded with him. “Dad you must go, for yourself, for your sister and to say goodbye. If you’re not going to go, please give me the details so I can make arrangements to go.”
He turned the phone over to my mom. She told me how upset he was as he went to look up the information I requested.
“Oh there it is,” she said. “Now he’s crying.”
Seeing my dad cry
I had only seen my father cry on a few occasions. He was a man who took pride in his strength and great stature. He loved to laugh, but to shed a tear wasn’t his nature.
Now here he was facing incredible sorrow and I was pushing him to a breaking point. He returned to the phone conversation and said, “I’m going.”
It was all it took. He agreed to attend the funeral.
Daddy's little girl
It was during this time that I learned a little more about my dad. He loved his mother intensely. His avoidance to attend her funeral was apprehension on facing his grief.
We drove over 400 miles to attend the funeral and my brother drove another 200 miles to meet us. It was a small reunion. Together we discussed our feelings and shared our grief.
As the ceremony ended, my brother broke down shedding tears of grief. We embraced and our pain was shared. My father took notice and came over.
He wrapped his big arms around his 2 adult children and we shed our tears. I remember the feeling of be his little girl again. Living under his protection and embraced by his love. It was an incredible moment that was about to shake my whole world.
I made a promise
Later that day, I decided to take the drive back home with my brother. His sadness was profound.
“Take care of him,” my father told me.
“I will dad, that’s why I’m here.” This became my promise to dad.
We hugged and said our goodbyes. When all of us arrived safely at home, I spoke to my father on the phone again. He was pleased that we were able to go and he wanted to know how my brother was doing. My dad was concerned.
“Tell him I’m proud of him,” he said.
“I will dad, I will.”
Lean on Me
Several weeks had passed and we were planning a family BBQ. My dad called me. “I’m sick. I have this cold, so let’s reschedule the BBQ for next weekend.”
“Ok dad. Do you need anything? I have a vaporizer I could bring you or something?” My words were to encourage him. I wanted him to know I would do anything for him. I made a promise to myself to go see him on Saturday.
On Tuesday, I was at work feeling ill. The office I worked in was stuffy. I felt I couldn’t breathe so I moved my work assignments to another floor. As the day progressed, I could feel I was getting worse. I decided to leave work a little early so I called my husband. “I’m coming home. I don’t feel very well.”
“Come home right away,” he told me. “I’ve been trying to reach you.”
“What happened?” I asked. I could tell in his voice something terrible had happened.
“Just come home. I’ll tell you when you get here.”
This worried me. On my drive home, I prayed. I prayed so hard, I envisioned Jesus Christ sitting in the passenger seat. It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. The spring weather breezed fresh air into my car. I flipped the radio station and “Lean on Me” vibrated the speakers.
Bill Withers sang the song, but the message was from Jesus.
“Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” -Bill Withers
The Promise to Dad
I arrived home and my husband embraced me. “Your father died,” he said.
Reliving this story today has sent my head spinning. It's been 13 years but it seems like yesterday.
I had made a promise to dad to look after my brother and 3 weeks later, his passing changed my entire life.
For the next 12 years, I looked after my mom. I took that promise and placed it in my mother’s heart. When she lost her husband, she lost her best friend. When she lost the love of her life, I lost my dad. Both of our lives were about to change.
We spent days together weeping over his death. We spent moments together reliving our favorite times. We spent afternoons together watching his favorite movies.
My promise to dad said I would take care of mom.
“That’s why I’m here, dad.” I promised.
I prepared mom’s meals after her heart attack and strokes left her ailing. I assisted her in the bath when she was unable to be left alone. I did her weekly pill set ups so her medicines would make her feel better. I found her an assisted living facility when I could no longer care for her in my home.
I did these things not only because she was my mother, but because I loved her. And I made a promise.
For the next 12 years, I took that promise and placed it in my mother's heart.
A promise is a promise
In life we make promises we cannot keep, we make promises with no intention of keeping, and we make promises that we struggle to keep.
For a person’s word means a lot these days. To stay true to your word is to never give up. When discouragement beckons you and when everything appears difficult, a promise is a promise.
For everything happens in life for a reason.
Whether you use it to bless another, to stretch your faith, or to become the person God intended you to be, it is all part of the grand plan.
When you make a promise, make sure you will stand behind it. You just never know, someone’s life may be at stake.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I miss you and love you dearly, I promised.
In honor of Father’s Day, in honor of the love I have for my dad, I wanted to share this story with my readers.
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