Jo’s Journal: A Letter to my Dad
By Joanne Troppello
It is the capacity to feel consuming grief and pain and despair that also allows me to embrace love and joy and beauty with my whole heart. I must let it all in.
- Anna White
My father passed away this week and I’ve been experiencing a mix of emotions from grief to sadness to guilt. My parents got divorced when I was a young teenager and I’ve had a complicated relationship with my dad both before and after my parent’s divorce.
After they got divorced, I didn’t see my dad too much throughout the years. I just wanted to write my column today sharing some memories about my dad and how I’m dealing with this loss.
My dad got sick and I knew this day was coming, but when I found out from my brother on Monday that he had died, I sat on the floor and just cried for long time. My mind was telling me that I knew he was going to die, but my heart countered with feelings of grief and guilt.
I felt guilty for lost time, for being too busy with life to do more to rebuild a broken relationship. I’m sad that my dad is no longer with us, but my heart hurts for the lost years without him.
Growing up, I had conflicted feelings for my dad. I loved him and looked up to him as my daddy but didn’t know how to deal with the conflict at home. I feel guilty for having wanted him to leave and for how happy I felt when my parents got divorced.
After I got married, my husband and I went to NJ to visit my dad. It was such a nice time of reconnecting with him even further after having seen him again at our wedding the year before. We got to see him, my step-mom, and brother. That day my hopes were dashed after I found out that my dad had to move to Arizona to be near relatives due to work issues and he needed to find more work. I was happy that he was going to find work, but so sad that I wouldn’t be able to see him much anymore.
That was the last time I saw my dad. My husband and I kept hoping to have the money to go to Arizona to visit him, his wife, and son. However, we both lost our jobs, had bad financial difficulties, and never had the money to travel to Arizona. Phone calls on holidays and other days throughout the year had to suffice.
When I found out that my dad got sick, my husband and I desperately wanted to visit him, but we never could. And now he’s gone. Did I do enough? Was there something else I could have done to find a way to see him even in our severe financial difficulties?
This week has driven me to my knees to bring my hurt and regrets and guilt over to God. I know He is in control even when I have no idea what is going to happen and why it’s happening. My sister and I have shared some memories of our dad with each other and that has helped to bring a little closure.
I am not sure that my dad accepted the Lord as savior. However, in some of my phone conversations with him, he mentioned that he and his family were attending church each Sunday. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean he accepted Christ, but I hope that he did.
A Letter to my Dad
You called my sister Pumpkin and me Princess.
I saw you through the eyes of a child,
but soon outgrew my childish innocence.
I grew up too soon with eyes open wide.
Feeling overwhelmed from drama at home
left me with nowhere to hide.
A memory still fresh in my mind,
when I said, “I hate you” and wanted you to go.
Peace was so difficult to find.
Years passed by without connection.
Then I let you in to my life again,
but there remained your rejection.
I regret to this day not letting you back in,
to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.
I was still wrapped up in irreconciliation.
I am thankful for reconnecting again,
through phone calls on holidays and special days.
Yet that wasn’t enough to erase the pain.
I was sad when I heard you got sick,
and felt worse when lack of money kept me away.
The clock continued to tick, and tick, and tick.
You are now gone far away.
I hope you made the decision to accept the cross
And one day in Heaven I’ll see you, I pray.
Losing people you love affects you. It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. It doesn’t magically go away, even when you stop officially mourning.
- Carrie Jones
As Easter Sunday approaches tomorrow, I am reminded of all that Jesus has done for us in dying on the cross to restore our relationship with the Father. All I can end with is that if I didn’t have Jesus as Lord of my life, I wouldn’t be able to make it through this time and all the difficulties I have faced in my life.
These sentiments may not be popular to voice in our current society. However, I believe in being true to yourself and being a Christian is the biggest defining factor in my life. I hope you all can find peace in Jesus and realize that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).