Father’s Day in Heaven

A young JCO kicking it w/ Mom and Dad shortly before his death. (Yes. He's rocking a smoke.)

I first posted this a year or two ago and I thought I’d post it agin for two reasons: first, it’s been viewed hundreds of times just this past week via Google searches for the term: “Father’s Day in heaven,” which tells me that many of us have someone up above we’d like to reach out and touch this Father’s Day. And, second, I suppose this is my way of saying Happy Father’s Day to my dad. Even if you’ve read it before, I hope you’ll read it again, particularly if you’re in a similar boat and can relate. And Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

Early one morning in 2002, my brother picked me up from the airport and drove me to the hospital to see my dad. He had been unresponsive since the afternoon before. His rapid turn for the worse was what had prompted the previous night’s phone calls urging me to catch a cross-country flight if I ever wanted to see him alive again.

The second I walked into his room, I was devastated. So that’s what it looks like, I thought, with equal amounts of fear and awe. It was dehumanizing. Which made sense to me. What was happening to Dad is what sets our spirit free. And our spirit isn’t human.

I sensed that although he was still with us, he was gone nonetheless. But I was wrong. Dad came back to us later that very day. Shortly after he regained consciousness, he told Mom something she’ll never forget.

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Dreaming Your Life Away

My mom grabbed a spadeful of dirt with an unsteady hand as she stood at the very edge and gazed down below. She looked every one of her 81 years, maybe even a few more, as she made several unsuccessful passes, unable, it seemed, to empty the spade of its contents. Or unwilling, perhaps.

Whichever, fall, the dirt eventually would. All at once, in fact, landing on the coffin with a clumpy thud, an eerie sound which visibly disturbed my mom. And me, too, for that matter. I think it was the finality of it all.

Mom’s oversized sunglasses looked out of place on such a frail woman. Though they did provide an effective shield from the anguish that was most certainly beaming from her weary eyes. It wasn’t fair. That much we all knew.

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Father’s Day in Heaven

Image: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via Creative Commons

Early one morning in 2002, my brother picked me up from the airport and drove me to the hospital to see my dad. He had been unresponsive since the afternoon before. His rapid turn for the worse was what had prompted the previous night’s phone calls urging me to catch a cross-country flight if I ever wanted to see him alive again.

[Read more…]

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