What a privilege it was to write a reflection for the My Sisters the Saints book club over at CatholicMom.com. The book, written by Colleen Carroll Campbell, has really touched, comforted, and challenged me. In fact, the night after I finished reading Chapter Two, the chapter I was assigned to write about, I couldn’t sleep. I toss and turned for hours and I couldn’t put my finger on what was bugging me.
In Chapter two of My Sisters The Saints, Colleen recounts first learning about her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. While I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent to a debilitating disease or illness, I do know what it’s like to lose a parent. Regular readers here know that I lost my dad rather tragically about five years ago, and his death actually serves as the topic of my reflection over at CatholicMom.com.
As I wrestled to settle in and fall asleep that one night, it hit me that I was angry at God for taking my father in the way He did. While not envious of the pain, sorrow, frustrations, and heartache that must accompany watching a parent slowly die, I found myself a bit envious of the opportunity Colleen had to set things straight with her dad. She had the opportunity to tell her dad every last thing she wanted to tell him before he died. I didn’t and I’m so very sorry and sad about that reality.
A few months before my dad died, I had also done something stupid to unintentionally hurt his feelings. In my pride, I simply told him to get over it. I never asked for his forgiveness, and I’m not sure he forgave me prior to his death. That has continued to haunt me.
I guess it took me reading Colleen’s book five years after my dad’s death to finally put this all together. The reality is I was equally pissed off at God and ashamed at myself. And now since I’ve been able to sort this all out, I truly feel like that black cloud that has rested on my shoulders and weighed me down for so long has finally been lifted.
I would be honored if you read my reflection over at CatholicMom.com here. It’s a story I shall never, ever tire of sharing. As difficult and emotional as it is to recount that day my dad died, I feel the Holy Spirit has placed a message on my heart that I must share with anyone who wants to hear it.
One day we shall dance again, dad. One day!
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