As I look back at it now, I can clearly see that it was one of those “life changing” events that you hear people talk about. They don’t happen very often, but when they do, you never forget them. It had a definite effect on me as both a person and a father.
It was nearly ten years ago when I did the funeral. It was for a man who was one of the last living WW1 veterans. He was in his late nineties when his long and highly decorated life came to an end. He was known as a good husband and father, and was highly respected by everyone who knew him.
The part of the funeral that will forever be burned in my memory happened before the service ever began. It was when I met with his two daughters at the funeral home to plan the service. We talked briefly about the service and then we prayed together. Just before I left, the oldest daughter began to cry and then she started weeping. It had been a long time since I’d seen anyone cry that hard. The younger daughter, crying now too, turned and looked at me and asked through her tears, “Can we ask you a question?”
Then the oldest daughter regained enough composure to say these words that I’ll never forget, “We know our Daddy loved us. We know he did, but please tell me why he never told us. Why couldn’t he just say it?”
I did my best to comfort them with what little words of wisdom I could muster, but sadly I really didn’t have a great answer. I left the funeral home realizing that those two women would carry the hurt and scars of that question with them the rest of their lives. Their father had been a good dad, but he made the colossal mistake of simply thinking that his girls knew that he loved them.
When I got home that day, I hugged each of my boys, looked them in the eyes and then told them that I love them. Would you believe that I still do that today, even though one is 19 and another is 6’6″? I vowed on that life changing day that I would, for the rest of my days on this earth, let them know that they are loved by their father. They may get tired of hearing it, but they WILL NEVER doubt my love for them.
When’s the last time you told your children that you love them?
(COMMENT OF THE DAY: Shane Coffman said… I’ve never heard those words from my Dad, either, but I refuse to make that same mistake with my wife or children.)