I have to speak at my father funeral tomorrow and I am really struggling to wrap my mind around all that has happened in the last three days. Learning about my father’s death on Facebook, my brothers words ringing in my head, “I’ve cleaned his house out of anything worth anything”, fighting to find out the location of his body, fighting to stop his cremation, fighting to have him properly buried ……… My mind is not focused for drowning in the heartbreak but I must and will honor him for all that he was and all that he will forever be in the face of the evil that I will stand before.
When I was a little girl, my father was my biggest fan. It didn’t matter the tone I sang in or how many times I fell practicing a dance move, he would sit back in his leather recliner and say, “That was the best, Kerri.” My father always made me feel like a star.
I have a lifetime of these special memories and I would love to share them all but instead, I’m going to share with you what I learned from those memories.
To a lot of people my father was prideful and strong. He was a guarded man, a creature of habit who loved a challenge, a man who always kept his feelings to himself, making others laugh along the way. But for me, my father was everything underneath all of that. My father was the man I knew him to be in his heart.
A man of courage; a man who cared for his girlfriend, Cheryl, the true love of his life, holding her hand, comforting her and stroking her cheek as she took her last breath, a man who cherished those final moments of her life; of being by her side. A kind man with a gentle soul that grew in life and loved in a way that he himself found too deep to explain.
It was through my father’s pain and his tears that I learned the most valuable lessons in life.
My father was 65 years old when he died and his biggest regret in life was that he felt that he hadn’t loved enough.
He told me that life was hard and that people would hurt me along the way and that it doesn’t matter the depth of the hurt or who it is that inflicts the pain – I, in return, needed to love. It doesn’t matter if I’m not loved back – I still need to love. He said there would be times that I’d find myself buried in pain so deep that I’d have to love that person from a distance. He said I wouldn’t be able to entertain them in life but that I must love them and pray for them. Love, he said is the breath between you and God. The closer you are to Him, the more love you get out of the world.
Not only did he teach me to love, he taught me to forgive. My father told me that he forgave everyone that he felt had ever hurt him and he had let go of all his anger. He also said that it was real important to him that I not be angry in life because he said tomorrow is not promised to anyone and when I find myself standing before the Lord, I don’t need to have anger in my heart.
I believe that Joshua 1:17 sums up what my father was trying to tell me. God says: be strong and be courageous. Be careful to do according to my laws. Do not turn from them to the right or the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
My father didn’t introduce me to God and he never read me the Bible but he taught me about life. He inspired me in life, he was my hero, a gift to me from the good Lord above and I am very blessed to have him.
When I was little girl, my father was my biggest fan but every day after that, today as we lay him to rest, and for the rest of my life, I am and will be forever his.
My Father, My Hero, My Goodbye
From the personal journal of Kerri Bishop Reece written December 8, 2010
© Kerri Bishop Reece | Kerri Chronicles