Once a Daddy’s girl, always a Daddy’s girl, and I truly was. I remember as Daddy was getting weaker and weaker and his eyes were growing dimmer and dimmer, one night you rolled over so close to me in our bed and whispered, “Prepare your heart, Beautiful.”
I remember looking right at you, my teary eyes surprised by the tears in yours, and asking, “How?”
With a look that said, “I’m not really sure”, you simply said again, so gently and oh, so softly, “You really need to start preparing your heart.”
You were right. A short time later, my precious Daddy passed away. And when he went, it felt as though the rug of all I ever knew, the foundation of all I ever knew to stand upon was pulled right out from underneath me in one quick, hard swoop.
A few days later, you came home with a CD in your hand.
“I’ve got something for you, Beautiful. Come sit down for a minute, Baby. I want you to hear something.”
You placed the CD in the tray, pushed it in, and in the next moments, touched my heart in a way I will never forget. You sat next to me, took my hand in yours, and together we listened as Fernando sang, “Take Heart, My Friend”.
And, we did. We went together, you and me, side by side, walking the journey of grief. You were there to wipe tears when they fell, you were there to steady me when memories caught me off guard, you were there to remind me to be thankful for the precious gift of my father – to remember what I had, not what I lost. You, my Handsome Honey, helped my heart take heart and keep moving forward.
Yes, losing my precious Daddy was hard. But, losing you – there is no comparison. So many people who have lost a parent, but not a spouse, have commented, “I know how you feel. When I lost my dad . . .” Or, “I know how you feel, when I lost my mom . . . “. But honestly, Handsome, I doubt they do. Losing you feels absolutely nothing like losing my father.
My love for my father ran deep, long, and strong – but he wasn’t the one I built a life with. My love for my father was precious and irreplaceable – but it wasn’t the love between a man and wife, – a love that brings out the best and the worst in you, a love that challenges you, convicts you, and changes you, a love that God can use to refine you and mold you more into His image, a love that God, through the blessedness of holy matrimony, uses to create in a man and wife a heart that is more holy like His.
When I lost my father, I lost my father. But, when I lost you, Handsome, I lost me. Because what I realize now more than ever is that somewhere over the course of our time together, somehow as we went about living our days as Mr. and Mrs., someway through living out our vow of “til death do us part”, I became so meshed into you, and you became so meshed into me, that I don’t know where you stop and where I begin, or where you begin and I stop. All I know is a huge part of me is missing now.
In an odd way – each time I step out the front door, I feel half-dressed. I feel as though I’m not quite put together, that part of me is exposed, that my covering – the covering that came from submitting to your manhood as head of our home has now been ripped away, leaving me unguarded.
I feel unsteady, incapable, overwhelmed, and undone. I feel that once again, the rug of all I ever knew, the foundation of all I ever knew to stand upon has been pulled right out from underneath me in one quick, hard swoop.
But today, Father’s Day, has me remembering back to my father and the gentle way you led me through that period of uncertainty, insecurity, and new. And the way you did it, Handsome – the way you helped my heart take heart – was by pointing me back to The One who never changes, The Rock who can never be pulled out from underneath us, the very God who promises to never leave us or forsake us.
I slip the CD into the tray, and I sit on the couch. And even though you are not here to sit beside me, I know I am not sitting alone. For my God, the very God who our precious union as man and wife has drawn me into such intimate fellowship with, is here in my midst. He is here to comfort me, to steady me when memories of you catch me off guard, to remind me to be thankful for the precious gift of you – to remember what I had, not what I have lost. He is here to help my heart take heart and keep moving forward. He, the very Lover of my soul, is sitting beside me.
And once again, I hear the words of Fernando:
Our faithful God has always gone before us
And He will lead the way once again
He is our comfort, our sustainer
He is our help in time of need
And when we wander He is our shepherd
He who watches over us, never sleeps
Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us
As He has been all the days of our lives
Our assurance every morning
Our defender in the nigh
And, once again, my heart takes heart. And, once again, for the millionth time since you’ve been gone, I long to wrap my arms around you and tell you “thank you.”
If only I could tell you. If only I could.