Sunday, June 20, 2021

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Father's Day, 2021. [The picture is of "Papa" reading to two of his granddaughters in 2012.] 

Today is the third Father's Day since my father died in 2019. I felt like "writing to him" nevertheless, not to be weird or anything, but trusting that in the great unity of Christ's body, the Church, some kind of "communication" remains possible and real - perhaps more real, more intimate, than we know:

Dear Dad/"Papa" - we miss you so much, but we know you are still close to us and continue to care for us. We continue to pray for you and carry you in our hearts with firm hope in Jesus Christ's victory, and His promise of eternal life to those who trust in Him and follow Him.

Please help Mom as her condition continues to weaken. Be with us as we try to accompany her in the time to come.

Dad, I feel so helpless, sometimes. I feel so confused. "Growing old" once seemed like a gentle thing, but it has its own mysterious inner pain and strangeness. Elders endure in silence so much traumatic change in their own capabilities and sometimes in their living environment. And their (50+ year-old) "children" are thrown into confusion, too. 

We "kids" don't know how to respond well to the sudden "neediness" you display. You were always there, always sources of love, attentiveness, and giving that we took for granted (like the sky and the earth). We did not know how much we had failed (in many ways) to love you and be grateful for you in all the days of our lives. In the end, in front of your most dramatic expression of your own "need" - your own fragile humanity - we prove to be weak companions. We try to "solve your problems," but we are afraid to suffer-with-you in the silence of that which is beyond all solutions of this world.

We don't even know "how" to suffer with you. We don't know "from within" these last steps of the human experience (probably because we are not yet "ready" for them), but still we want to stay with you even if it's awkward, inadequate, apparently "useless." Perhaps it is by embracing our own sense of inadequacy - by suffering it - that we draw closer to you. In this kind of suffering, prayer becomes very real - prayer becomes like breathing.

Now, I don't know "how" to help my mother, how to love her, how to accept that there is so little that I can do for her. I'll do what I can ... and offer everything to God (though I'm a mess). I go to Jesus and beg Him to lift us all up in His mercy (and to keep me from falling apart).

Dad, I love you. Our Mom was the light of your life. Help us to care for her now.

May the Lord bring us all together forever, at the end of all our journeys and labors and suffering, when every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more separations, no more agony and incomprehension, no more grief, no more sorrow, no more death.