Walking down the river today (with Hold Back The River by James Bay coincidentally and amusingly stuck in my head), I reflected.
It’s Father’s Day. For some, not others. Those who choose to embrace it despite loss, some angry or upset growing up without a father figure and wanting the day to end. The lucky ones spending the day with dad. There are many, many ways people will be looking at today, for many understandable reasons.
I for one, am spending my second Father’s Day without my dad. So it’s still a bit surreal. I still feel he could pop around the corner at any time or call me and I’d hear his voice. That may never go away, I’ll have to see. I’m sure many can relate.
My dad was religious, but not overly. We would have debates but they were never intense, we would have a cup of tea and share a laugh about something afterwards. When I was younger I’d sometimes find him asleep on the couch with Christian radio on, yet I felt no pressure to go to church or say grace before a meal. He believed and kept it to himself. Something I don’t think he had the freedom from as a child, so he has decided on this for me. For that I am entirely grateful.
I’m getting pretty annoyed with myself as I write this, because I feel I didn’t do enough back. He was always there for me no matter what. He would pick me up at the most ridiculous of hours, my safety and comfort was top priority. Sometimes I feel he was too generous for his own good, yet as I get older and hear more and more awful stories around the world, I don’t think this is possible. Hindsight is a wonderful thing indeed. I love my dad and he knew this. We never fell out and sometimes I find I’m reminding myself this so I don’t doubt myself. As humans we always fear the worst and let negative imaginary scenarios overwhelm and override the positive truth.
As a Christian, I do not feel my dad benefited. I was brought up by an amazing Christian, yet as a follower of The Lord he did not exactly seem, let’s say, prioritised by God.
Just into his sixties, my father suffered an awful, terminal disease. One that was only diagnosed on the day he died. One that our hematologist only encountered eight times that year in the whole of the UK. It turned out to be a T- Cell Lymphoma, one rare and aggressive enough to only give me another three months with my dad.
I was in a state of shock. I still am. I do believe the brain limits what we can take in at times to help us from going insane with grief, for whatever reason. I remember feeling more overwhelmed with emotion at funerals of the deceased I was less connected to, which didn’t make sense to me. It is something I want to look into.
So this is why I know I do not need to believe. Did my dad suffer at the end because he never went to church despite believing? Not a good enough reason. Was it down to me being an atheist? No way, I’m not having that. Was it because we are only human and still succeptable to many diseases we are not familiar with? That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Religion just doesn’t do anything for me. And this tragic event is not a good advertisement. If God helps you, well I have a right to be annoyed and angry. My family deserve some divine intervention just as much as anyone else. My dad never had any signs from God to look out for what was coming, we needed human technology to help him remain as pain free and stable as possible towards the end. No matter how many times we are told A, B and C are reasons to believe, they aren’t good enough. The closest thing to God we have are believers with a kind heart, and I’m incredibly lucky my dad was one of them.
Have the best Father’s Day possible, whatever you are doing.