When my dad died, I didn’t feel as if I lost him. To be sure, I am lonely without him. I miss him tremendously. Silent tears often fall as I think of and miss him. I could get lost in the “what ifs.” I could easily become consumed by the “if onlys.” I could think about what I won’t have without him, and I do have those thoughts sometimes, but I have something more powerful:
Memories. Appreciation. Life lessons. Laughter. Advice. Discipline. Compassion. Generosity. Sacrifice. Mentoring. Encouragement.
I gained more than I lost. There is no way that the unknown future with my dad could outweigh the certainty of our lives together. Not that our lives were perfect. But they don’t have to be in order for me to appreciate the good that I had with my dad.
We have to say goodbye throughout our entire lives. Goodbye to friends, teachers, caregivers, acquaintances, classmates, classrooms, houses, pets, dreams, innocence, assumptions, health, dependence and independence, abilities, talents, accolades, titles, and so much more. You’d think we’d get used to saying goodbye, but it’s still difficult much of the time. But seasons don’t last forever. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live each season to its fullest and savor what we’ll need to sustain us into the next one.
My dad’s death left a huge gap in my life, but his life filled that gap well. And just because he’s now gone doesn’t mean the blessings of our relationship can’t continue to encourage and nourish me. Even when it’s difficult, I will choose to count the gain more than the loss.
What loss are you experiencing? How will you respond?