It’s Father’s Day today (Sunday 19th June 2022), and I have just returned from a visit to the cemetery where the remains of my father and mother are buried. It was a poignant visit, not least because Dad died on this day 23 years ago, 19th June, 1999, aged 81. As I look back, I’m forever grateful for loving parents and the ‘values’ they taught me.
I’m also reminded of the the Sunday just a few days before his death, when he knew he had just a short time left. In hospital, with his family at his bedside, he sat up in bed for the last time and announced to us, “I have peace perfect peace. I haven’t a care in the world. I’m ready to go.” That moment has remained with me and my three sisters who were present, ever since. None of us are likely to ever forget it. It’s something all the money that could be accumulated during a lifetime couldn’t buy. Dad displayed an eternal, spiritual perspective throughout my lifetime. How he faced death says a lot about the way he lived; and the way he died.
As I took a stroll through the cemetery this afternoon, however, I was reminded that not everyone had the privilege of having a dad who lived a full and long life, and then passed away peacefully. I saw too many tombstones remembering fathers’ who were taken from this earth as relatively young men, many during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Children had to grow up without a father, and family and friends were left devastated and heartbroken. For many, that deep level of pain and grief continues to this day, even after decades. So, as I reflect on this Father’s Day, my heart goes out to those who are suffering through loss, and my thoughts and prayers are with them.