Friday, March 19, 2010

Is It OK To NOT Mourn For Your Dad?

A serious blog today. I found out yesterday that my father died Thursday morning. It's not a complete surprise, he's been having heart problems for a year and we knew this was coming. The problem I'm having is that I'm not really that sad, and that makes me sad.

See my Dad and I have not been close for a very long time. My Dad was a pretty bad father, he was always more interested in how he looked to outsiders than how he actually interacted with his kids. Always more interested in having fun than with being a father. The last interaction I had with him he left my 1 year old son and I stranded in Western Wisconsin. My father-in-law (who was going through cancer treatment at the time) had to drive 3 hours to come rescue us. My father never understood why I was mad about that, after all he had an invitation to a great beer party with a good friend - who wouldn't dump their daughter and grandson for that?

After that I told him I couldn't have him in my life anymore. He'd hurt me many times, but now I had a son and I wasn't going to let him hurt my son they way he had me my whole life. Now we all make mistakes and sometimes we just need a wake up call. Had Zach ever told me to get out of his life I would camp on his door step until we had figured this whole thing out. My father however never talked to me again. Not that I'm complaining, that's what I asked for and it worked for me. I'd get calls from my older sister telling me about what my father had done to her and we'd talk, but I was always grateful for my decision because he could no longer hurt me or my son.

So when I got the call today, I wasn't surprised or sad. It bothered me. It bothered Paul - I think he thought he might have married an ax murderer or something. But when we talked about it became clear. When we found out Heinz (Paul's father) was dying last year, I was devastated. I had a pit in my stomach, I was scared of a world without Heinz and I cried when he died. Why? Heinz was always there because he loved us. Family came first. Heinz lived his life preparing his family for the day he wasn't here. And I missed him for that. I was sad because while I knew he was going to be with the Lord and would be healed physically from his cancer, I selfishly wanted him here for ME. I loved him.

Conversely when I learned my Dad was dying it didn't have much of an effect. My Dad never lived for anyone but himself. He didn't care if his kids got an education, lived well. He was always concerned about how well he lived and what the world thought of HIM. I won't miss him because there is nothing to miss. It is sad, but I think it was sadder for him on earth that it was for me. I was blessed with family to make up for it. He was blessed with family that he wasted.

Now lest you see no upside for him let me assure you there is. See a long time ago my Dad sought the Lord and found him, he was saved. And the love of the Lord is so good that even someone as lacking in love as my father is STILL loved by God. I am a Christian and it is my firm belief that my father is healed of his selfish ways now. Too late you say? Nah, never too late. I'm fine, I am loved and I love. And now he can love too. If you think God can't or won't love you? Think again - if someone like my Dad can have God's grace so can you. Try it on for size.


  1. I can "almost" understand where you're coming from on this. I grew up in a family where my parents didn't show any love. Not just to themselves, but towards the children as well. I wrote a book about it:

    Years ago, I probably would have reacted the same way if I had lost either of my parents. However, after re-establishing a relationshipship with them I know losing either of them would be devastating to me.

    I know your relationship with your father (or lack thereof) can't be compared to my earlier relationship to my parents and I won't pretend to know how what you felt (or didn't feel). With that said - it is comforting to know that your father found God and the love of the Lord and now resides with him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Chris...I know how much you went through to try to build a relationship with your Dad and feel so sad that he was to self-centered to embrace that. However, one of the things I learned from you is that a family can be built as you travel along life's path by truly being involved in people's lives. I will always consider you more than a friend...more like a kindred spirit, a sister. You are in my prayers.