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My Father Died: Where do I go from here?


I don’t like to write about personal things here, but this was a shock to me. I got a message from my sister that Dad was failing, in his nursing home, and we needed to say goodbye. That was Sunday, and he lasted until Monday afternoon.

I am waiting for the funeral to start as I write this,

If you are wondering, I’m doing well. Dad was 95 and he lived a good life. He finally died from old age, and not from any accident or illness.

In this pandemic year, when everyone seems to be angry about politics, my Dad reminded me that I have a personal life. Dad gave us a stable family and a heritage to be proud of. When I was a boy, we visited the home farm and Dad pointed at a local cemetery and said” Simon Fraser is buried there.” The huge city of Vancouver is on the Fraser River, and in the suburbs is Simon Fraser University. That famous man was a neighbor near the family farm, on the other side of the continent. He was also a church leader and evangelist in that region, and I know I have some spiritual heritage from the revival that he led.

Our family name also comes up in history books, including Custer’s last stand at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. One of us, with the same name as my Dad, didn’t make it. He was pulled from his horse and killed. Someone found his antique wedding ring recently, on the battlefield. The ring was with a finger bone.

It’s a great heritage, but it’s ending as we lose the older generation. We also lose the reason to stay close in the family, with our old father gone. The past is in the history books, and now we need to find our future, where we go from here.

One common problem, when a very old parent dies, is guilt because we are not sad enough. My Dad needed intensive care that we could hardly afford, and in the end, he was not conscious. We had to let him go, and his end is a relief. That sounds terrible, but some good people who are usually kind, are relieved that it’s over; and they feel guilty.

I became a convinced Christian because I didn’t like the world around me. In this year I can see that I made a good decision.

In the wider world, migrants are drowning in the Mediterranean, Ethiopia suddenly has a civil war with many deaths, Armenians and Azeri Turks have just stopped shooting, in their war, and the U.S, election is still undetermined, with recounts and lawsuits.

We also have the never-ending Covid crisis that is destroying the economy where I live. My job will end just before Christmas.

In the face of death, there is no comfort in this world. If I leave God out of my life, I know I am lying. Imagine all the people who struggle with the death of someone who is close.

There is no god in this world that can carry us through the loss of another person. The benefits and rewards that we invent and worship are only for the living. Only one God fits this description:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23: 4)

Maybe we should say ‘Even when …’ instead of “though.” We will walk through that valley, and only one God will go with us. We have another father.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are dust. (Psalm 103: 13 to 14)

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