It will soon be fourteen years since we found my father. He had fallen asleep here, with us, and woken to a glory none of us yet know.
I look at pictures of my dad from his youth up until the birthday party we had for him right before he died. I see him clearly in those pictures. His face as familiar to me as my own.
There is one vision of my father that I do not have in photograph, sketch, drawing or video. It’s in my heart only. I’m sure there are others who witnessed this and know the vision I have.
As a child my parents were (are) staunch believers in their faith and church. Despite the constant church going, religious education and schooling, and praying before meals that we lived there is one thing that showed me my father’s faith and devotion more than anything else.
A number of times this happened in my youth, and even as a young adult when I periodically lived with my father.
I would walk in to his room to tell him something, or ask him something.
And there, by the side of his bed, on his knees, my father prayed.
I can see him clearly in our childhood home. The room dark but for the light from the hallway when I just opened the door. He, on the other side of their bed from me, in his white t-shirt. I could only see him from just below the shoulders and up. His elbows on the bed. His hands clasped. His head bowed to his hands.
I always walked in talking. I would then shut up and leave. Closing the door behind me. Leaving my father to talk with The Father.
This happened in the apartment I shared with him after my parents divorce. It happened in the house he eventually moved in to and renovated with my brothers. It happened in the ‘farm house’ where he last lie down to spend his last sleep here.
I suffered through my father’s death for years. Wondering why he had to die alone when he had so many children. So many friends. So many family. All who loved him. It hurt in a physical way that I can’t explain but that I know most everyone understands without me finding the words.
And suddenly it occurred to me.
He was not alone. And never was.
I know the night he died he knelt on that floor. He had on his white t-shirt. His hands were clasped. His elbows were on the bed. And his head was bowed. I have faith in my father’s faith.
I know as sure as I can see him now with my thoughts and my heart that my father prayed that night. That the things he prayed for forever were likely the last things he ever thought here on this earth. His last conscious thoughts here were his words to God, there.
What his prayer was, exactly, I don’t know. But I believe he prayed for his children. His grandchildren. And forgiveness for his sins. My father knew he was not perfect. He was stubborn, stubborn beyond belief (and my siblings inherited this). But my father was a smart man. A man who believed. A man who had faith.
The vision of my father that lives strongest in my memory is the vision that I wish I had always understood. He started his days in church when he could. He ended his days on his knees giving thanks and praise.
I wish. God I wish I could go back to just one of those times as a child and have the wisdom to have walked over, knelt down beside my dad, bow my head, clasp my hands and pray with my dad to our Father.
Thank you for the prayers Dad.
Thank you for the beautiful vision of devotion to our Father.