It’s been said that parents are supposed to die before their children. I assume this is because children don’t realize how much love a parent can have for a child until they become a parent themselves. Even then, I’m not sure anyone truly understands how much their parents love them.
I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately. March 27th marks the day my dad died, four years ago. I miss his bear hugs, and not being able to understand two-thirds of what he said on the phone because his voice was so quiet, but knowing he was telling me stories I’d heard a hundred times before and if I hadn’t heard it, I would eventually get the whole thing because he would tell it to me a hundred times.
I was his pride and joy and I could do no wrong. Except for the two times I did. Both of which resulted in me getting spanked. But every time I reminded him of those two events, he would deny it, because there was no way his angel would do something to deserve such a punishment.
I hate that he didn’t get to be there for my wedding. Sometimes I hate that he didn’t get to meet his grandson. Other times I’m glad, because if he had any idea how difficult being a mother to this child has been at times…well…I’m pretty sure my son would be terrified of him. He was mostly a very fierce bark, but he could bite if he felt he was being provoked, and anyone messing with his daughter, including a child, might very well have turned his bark into a bite.
As much as I miss him though, I know he is in heaven and I will see him again one day. I wasn’t so sure of that before he died, but God gave me a beautiful picture of my dad with Jesus just before I got the call that he had passed.
It brings me comfort to know where he is, but it also makes me wish Adam and Eve had never sinned and death wasn’t necessary. Because even though people say parents are supposed to die before their children, and parents dying while their children live is the natural order of things, death is still a painful process for those left behind.
But then, if Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, the world would look so different right now and the relationship I had with my dad would have looked totally different. And although our relationship was by no means perfect, I don’t think I could ever give up the moments we shared, the way we shared them.
I know when I see my dad again, he is going to have millions of new stories to tell me a hundred times over again. He will know every place to get bad truck-stop coffee in heaven, the best camping places in heaven's mountains, and the best fishing holes. And it will all start with the best bear hug.