January 5, 1925
It would have been my father’s 90th birthday. He passed on in 1977 after a year-long battle with cancer. I was nine years old when he died.
I’m not writing to commemorate his legacy today; I’ve done this before. Other random blog posts have revealed I haven’t many memories of my father. I’m okay with this as I’ve had time to get used to the absence of memories and deterioration of those I had.
The contemplation that has been on my mind for quite sometime is the disillusion I’ve had with death having faced it at such a young age. Dare I say I became comfortable with the idea knowing there is an afterlife with Christ. I didn’t fear dying. In fact, the idea became appealing as life became more challenging. This is where my title comes from… the scripture referenced is 1 Corinthians 15:55. I thought about the sting of death a great deal when my mom passed away five years ago. I was happy for her to pass on from her physical and mental suffering. She lived a good life and we had many memories to bring peace and comfort to appease the loss. Thanks to the redemption of Jesus, death has lost it’s sting.
I’m a random thinker and my thoughts often appear disjointed. I have a dozen rapid thoughts as I pass from one topic to another. I’m not surprised many will find this post peculiar but there is a connection, albeit somewhat loose with a morose conclusion.
Some that follow my writing contemplate dark issues. I’m not afraid to write about difficult topics. When it comes to suicidal thoughts, I would sit down with anyone, including perfect strangers, to help them sort through their emotions. I’ve been there, for real.
My dad was a good guy and well-respected in our small town. He was also human and vulnerable to the same sin that attracts each of us. Of course, the suffering of his illness and premature death could make some shake their fist at God with a self-pitiful cry of, “WHY??”
I watched many grieve my fathers death.
I watch many idolize him after his passing.
The Band Perry wrote a song, “If I Die Young“, with a clever lyric:
A penny for my thoughts, oh, no, I’ll sell ’em for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’
This is so very true. How often are famous people propped on a pedestal once they’ve passed on; even when their death is surrounded by controversy? A profound writing by Mary Forsberg Weiland was recently published in Rolling Stone following the death of her children’s father. [Click here to read the story.]
I don’t mean to bring dishonor to my father on the anniversary of his birth. On the contrary, I believe he is a perfect place to understand my heart, if that is possible in his afterlife. I’ll include this disclaimer for those who believe their loved ones are sitting on cumulous clouds watching their every move. They are not, just so you know. They also do not fly around with wings, or resemble their previous image, or take on another life form. It freaked me out as a kid that my dad could watch me all the time. Please be careful what you tell your children.
The truths in the previous paragraph might be a sting of death for some reading. Sorry to burst your theoretical bubbles. For years I have been fascinated with peoples understanding of the afterlife. Many who refuse to believe a superior being orchestrated creation fancy wild notions of cosmic proportions. I find this both fascinating and frustrating. I digress.
There are many writings that prompt us to evaluate our life. You know, to concern ourselves with what happens during the dash. I know some who contemplate their own obituary, read them on a regular basis, yet let allow problems accumulate under their noses. I recently re-watched the movie, Seven Pounds. Will Smith’s character is asked by a woman with congestive heart failure, “Do you ever think about death?” He replies, “Every now and again.” A short time later, as she is sleeping in her hospital bed, he admits, “I lied. I think about it all the time.”
Suicide is considered a selfish act. It can be. However, the person who longs to die has no sense of value for their worth. They are taken to a place so dark, so evil, they don’t consider what will happen when someone else finds them. Many of us know hurt but few know what it is like to reside in darkness most of the time; to sit in a room of laughter and feel numb.
I will continue to write about these emotions and to give a voice to those in dark silence. Many throw out cries for help. These cries have made a false distraction, just as the evil one has schemed. Those who are successful, or believe they will succeed at ending their life often don’t tell anyone. They truly believe no one cares and may even believe their loved ones will be relieved to find them gone from the misery of their depression. Stop calling suicide a selfish act.
Selfish acts are all around us. We encounter selfish acts several times every day. A jerk on the expressway can take out many lives driving with selfish motives. Selfishness is putting off the emotions of your loved ones because you are tired of dealing with their depression.
I am haunted by the words of a mother who once told me, “It’s okay for kids to be mopey.” Two of her three sons have talked about suicide. To my knowledge, one of them attempted to end his life. Perhaps the two I didn’t know as well thought about it too. I may never know. This mother has taken drastic steps to finally end our relationship. I pray many times each day for her family even though I have reason to consider them my adversaries; my enemies. At times I wonder if the diabolical enemy caused the breakup so he could more effectively succeed with his plan to end a life of a Godly man. This is why I pray fervently and this is why I’m writing with transparency today.
Parents, if your kids mention it, keep the lines of communication open at all times– even if you have to set aside your own ambitions and desires to see them through to adulthood. Even if your efforts are nobel, God has entrusted you with their precious souls. Own up to the responsibility, especially if your parenting may be the cause of their depression. Your pride won’t matter when you’re grieving so why allow pride to hinder your responsibilities now. Quit your job if your kids need you. Stop volunteering to help others and be involved volunteering WITH your kids. Cherish windshield time as you take them where they need to be. You’re probably the one prompting them to be involved in so much. Stop whining about it and making them feel like they are burdens instead of blessings. Parenting is a short season; treat it as such.
The connection to my father and this post is his parting message. Love.
Love each other through whatever.
I wrote about LOVE on Christmas day.
Love doesn’t enable but it seeks truth. Come alongside hurting people; that is what my dad would have done if he would have survived his battle with cancer. Maybe I’ll write more about his nobel character another day; how he helped hurting and lonely people.
Continue to follow my blog if you want to hear the rest of his story or if you need encouragement through dark seasons. The internet enables people to sin like never before; to commiserate and nurture sinful behavior. It can also lead to healing and that is why I write with transparency. I care less about how I appear to the world and more about helping others get to the other side, alive and well.
To. Be. Continued.
[P.S. I chose this photo of my parents because I love how my mom is looking at my dad. I can tell that she loved and adored him. I also see the affects of cancer in this photo. I see his eyes too– they are the same eyes that look back at me in the mirror. Sometimes that haunts me.]