On April 19th, just a day short of his eighty-fifth birthday, my Dad died of complications related to cancer. It was sudden, so sudden that I found myself calling 911 and then administering CPR on his cold and pale body until the paramedics arrived.
They resuscitated him, but he never regained consciousness. We made the decision not to use extraordinary means to extend his life and let him pass.
Almost exactly two years before the day of his death, I wrote A Psalm for My Dad in response to his being hospitalized for a serious illness. My Mom told me that after he recovered, he printed out what I’d written and kept it with him. I found it on the end table next to his favorite chair after he died.
I have nothing profound to report, no theological cleverness nor doctrinal commentary to make. I’m just writing here to process my thoughts and feelings. The family interned his ashes last Saturday, but I don’t think I really said good-bye until just now. Actually, I’ve been writing a number of short fiction stories and added a few Facebook commentaries which, taken together, sum up my good-bye to Dad.
Click the link to the “psalm” to read more.
Good-bye, Dad. I miss you.
17 thoughts on “On the Passing of My Father”
The missing is always there, it just changes from in front of your mind to the discreet corner where you keep your most precious memories.
The pain aches more softly, but the empty chair is brought to mind as you turn to speak, and find that person no longer.
You reach for the phone, and remember there will be no answer, until the Olam Haba, and it is there that you will find him again.
G-d bless and keep you James, and all your family with the balm only he can apply.
James, I wish to express my condolences to you and your family. May the Lord, Whom you love so much, console you and your family with His love and tenderness during this time of sorrow.
It’s been a lot of years, but I still miss my dad. It gets easier, but there are still times I smell him, or think I see him in a store, or driving a car.
I will be praying for you and your family. Rose of us left behind have the pain of going on without our loved ones. But one day. ..
May you be comforted among all the mourners of the chassidie umot ha Olam.
Many years ago, prior to my mother’s passing due to cancer, I had an experience that I believe was the L-rd preparing me. It was a beautiful spring morning with the cool breeze and flowers and birds singing….I look at my toddler daughter and feel overwhelming love for her and tell her I love you so much if I couldn’t see you I would still love you. And I continued..if I could not hear you I would still love you…or smell you….It was as though the Ruach Ha Kadosh said, keep going, you are ‘getting it’. All my senses needed for this material world isn’t needed to love. Love is spiritual. You don’t need your body to love. Your mother will love you when she departs from this material world, it is okay to ‘let go.’
Praise Hashem we have a hope, a secure eternal hope! It is true for your father, too. His love for you lives! You will miss him, and I miss her. Shalom,
Thank you all for offering me your condolences on the passing of my Dad. They are appreciated.
James, so sorry for your loss. It’s very difficult to lose a loved one. I pray the Lord comforts and sustains you today and in the days ahead. Blessings.
Thank you, Linda.
Thank you for your story, Cynthia. I was once reading a childrens’ book with my oldest son when he was two. It was primarily about growing and about a baby developing in a mother’s womb. But I was surprised to find it ended with pictures of some grandparents who had died. So, the time became more about that than about development and nutrition. I had to explain what death is (all his grandparents were still in his life), which I described as not being able to smell or see and so forth. My son became very concerned, and I shared my faith in Yeshua with him immediately. Then he was fine. (I, however, portrayed it as returning to life in a body. Children go on without details.)
Children’s book (correction).
It sounds excruciating, James, what you and your dad (and all involved) went through at the end [apparently unavoidable… no doubt]. And it’s encouraging that he held the psalm so close.
I’m sorry for your loss.
My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
It’s been a while since I last visited your blog and came upon this. My condolences. Be glad to have had so many years with him. My Dad passed 30 years ago (at 49 years of age) when I was 24. As I grew older, I would recall what he was like at the age I had then become. Well, I’ve outlived his time and have nothing left to compare with, but still have good memories about him. Ah, well. I have peace that I will see him again in the first resurrection. May Adonai grant you His shalom that transcends all understanding and keep your heart and mind in our Messiah Yeshua.