I look at the note at the top of my page in the Daily Light for January 22nd. It reads, "Dad's homegoing," and on the line below, "2003."
Seven years: It seems so long for him to have been gone, and I immediately think of all that has happened since the point where we carried on as family; without him: especially Mum's stroke in October that same year.
I wonder how they could have possibly managed as a couple through that terrible time if he had still been here.
I decide not to dwell on that which is impossible to know, and instead I remember him:
The boy born unwanted--the result of a liaison between an employer and household servant in 1920--willing or unwilling.
The boy who didn't know his mother until he was dropped off into the care of a virtual stranger at the age of 5.
Whose childhood included rejection, deprivation, hunger and violence.
Who joined the army in wartime, with patriotism and high ideals that were shattered in the blood, betrayal and brutal horror that he witnessed in his short weeks on the battle field; if there are such things as "short weeks on the battlefield."
Who married a beauty with a beautiful soul, who also bore scars unseen. A woman who wanted to love and rescue this man who had never known what love was.
A man who lost her love and found strength to face the world only when fortified by the warmth of liquor.
A man increasingly isolated as he aged, by hearing loss, but who steadfastly refused to wear a hearing aid; expecting the world instead, to conform to his disability.
But also a man we loved because he was ours to love. And because he did his best to love us with what he had to work with.
My Daily Light's first verse for today is:
Psalm 48:14 (New International Version)
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
And the evening reading includes these verses:
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
Matthew 9:2 (New International Version)
..."Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
Matthew 9:22 (New International Version)
22Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you."...
These verses have seemed to me, since this day in 2003, a special message of grace to us; bringing us all to the foot of the cross; a cross where we all can find mercy and healing.