Father’s Day. Last year I called my dad on Father’s Day but he did not answer his phone so I left him a message, “Was calling to wish you a Happy Father’s Day, call me back.”. He called me back but I missed his call so he left me a message, “Michelle, this is your father, I called you back, call me back.” We finally connected later on that day. He thanked me for the Harley Davidson Coffee Mug I sent him and we chatted about this and that. He told me what his day had been like and then we hung up. I talked to him one more time after that. It was Thursday, June 27th at 8am. My commute was often an hour or more and because it was early I knew my dad was up. So as was custom I would call him and catch him up on the family happenings on my way to work in which I did that morning.
School had let out for the summer several weeks before so traffic was not as heavy as it was during the school year which made the trip a bit shorter that day. My memory has been very vivid where this particular phone conversation is concerned. Normally our conversations would consist of the goings on in my life and his life. Then we would exchange opinions and factoids on the current events and politics. One of the special things to me about these discussions was that during this time in our lives we seem to agree on many issues. Which was a far cry from when I was a young adult or a teenager when we did not agree on much. Looking back it was probably because I did not understand what was really going on in the world so I could not discuss most subjects with him intelligently. Which most assuredly frustrated him. To have these discussions now was very gratifying because I could appreciate his wisdom and opinion and secretly loved the fact that my father would actually want to know my opinion on a matter. He would actually acknowledge some of the wisdom or knowledge I had about a subject.
This particular conversation was just a bit different, however. He seemed to be out of breath and I inquired as to why. He said he had just walked up the stairs. But his breathing never got better as I chatted on and on about each one of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He asked about each one. My son, Esteban and my nephew, Austin had graduated high school several weeks before so we told each other about the event. Esteban in Texas and Austin in Missouri. When we had finished I changed the subject to current events and he said, “That stuff doesn’t matter, you know, lets talk about the kids again, there is a lot going on.” So I paused. Then he started listing the events coming up for our family during the summer he remarked on the blessing of it all. A newborn baby coming, a wedding, a son going into the Army and my husband deploying overseas. So much was coming. And little did I know at that time he would be going.
I told him to get to the doctor and he told me he had an appointment on Monday. We said, “I love you” to each other though he was out of breath I sensed he was emphasizing his words. After I hung up my first thought was, ‘how strange for him to repeat everything I had said was happening with the kids this summer and he said it was all a blessing.’ I realized at that moment that I didn’t think I had ever heard him say the word ‘blessing’ before. The conversation has stayed with me every day since. Even now I hear his voice.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day and in eighteen days it will be the one year anniversary that my father went to heaven. It is hard to think about that for too long without the tears welling up. Initially I am happy for him, celebrating Father’s Day with his heavenly Father. I can’t even imagine what that day will be like for me. I try to but it is just too much. My dad had not known Him long but for the time he did he was a changed man. And that thought alone makes me smile. Makes me want to fall on my knees and give thanks for my heavenly Father who made it possible for my earthly father to experience peace, love and joy. For him to be able to recognize the ‘blessings’ in his life. So while I can not call him tomorrow to say Happy Father’s Day, I can call upon the Lord to say thank you for answering my prayers of salvation for the dad God gave me.