Author Neil Chethik wrote a book about the way sons cope with the death of their dads. He commissioned a survey of 300 men and found that 65 percent said the death of their father affected them more than any other loss in their lives. Chethik said, “Each man, it seemed to me, experienced a significant reordering of his inner landscape.”
One 48-year-old minister said: “When my father died, it was as if I had lived in . . . a house with a picture window looking out on a mountain range. Then one day I looked out the window, and one of the mountains was gone.”
When Jacob died, Joseph experienced a great loss. We read that “Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him, and kissed him” (Genesis 50:1). The period of ceremony, mourning, and burial lasted more than 2 months.
For most of us, our fathers will die before we do. And we should feel free to grieve our loss, whether our memories are happy or painful.
God promises that one day “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). Until then, tears are God’s gift for the cleansing of the soul when we must cope with losing Dad.
Lord, help us through our grief and loss—
Through valleys deep when Dad is gone;
Then heal our hearts, renew our joy,
Grant us the strength to carry on. —Fitzhugh
In every desert of grief, God has an oasis of grace.