After my father passed away in June, I’ve been writing letters to him to tell him how I am doing. I thought I’d share some of them. Here is the one on the day of his memorial service in July.
Today was your memorial service. For the last two weeks, we had been rushing to compile the memorial booklet for you. We also set up a Facebook page for you and everyone who knew you had wonderful things to say about you. I realised there was a lot that I didn’t know about you. Reading through all their posts and messages made me feel so incredibly grateful. I wish I had known more about you or listened to you more when you were here. I regret not spending more time with you. I knew you were always busy with work and meetings but when you were home you’d always want to spend time with us. I wish I had known that through all your work and meetings, you were changing the world and helping people in need. You had a great vision made an incredible impact on the community. You were also incredibly humble and never boasted or bragged about your accomplishments, which was one of the reasons why I knew so little about the work you had done! You even told Mum not to talk about what you had done, only to share our experiences with you as a family during your illness. You wanted people to know how we had come and grown closer together as a family and the struggles we went through during this time.
We celebrated your life today. Your friends, colleagues, and family shared stories about you. I learned about all the amazing work that you had done and the people’s lives you had changed. I got to meet Jessica, a girl you had mentored for many years. A girl I knew nothing about but whose life you had completely transformed and turned around. She spoke of how you continued to help and support her through her struggles and gave her many opportunities. She calls you Uncle Charles as if you were really related. You treated her like a daughter. I was so surprised to hear her story yet I was incredibly proud of you because at that moment I realised that Jessica was just one example of the many lives you had changed for the better; including my own. I didn’t get the chance to speak at the service but I think you knew everything I wanted to say anyway. I had shared with you on Father’s Day.
I miss you so much and don’t quite know how to describe that feeling I get every morning when I wake up. It is still so surreal. Am I still dreaming? I know you had lived a full life, and in those last moments, you had no regrets and went peacefully to Heaven. I can still see your face from that night. The calmness, the peacefulness, the final smile gave us all peace. I don’t think I ever fully understood what peace felt like until that moment when I saw it on your face. I cannot describe it yet I can feel it and I can see it in your eyes. In that moment, I knew that God had given you that peace. He took away all of your suffering and pain and gave you rest and carried you into Heaven with Him.
I had lost my way and my faith in God for many years. I started calling myself agnostic and stopped attending church. But somehow, that day, I wanted to believe again. Many people wonder why someone would believe in a God who would let this happen to our loved ones. I wonder that too and although I may never know the answer or understand the reason, I believe that God had given you this amazing life, which you treasured and lived to serve in His name, that even in the face of death, you were able to have so much peace and calm. You were not at all afraid because you knew He would be with you. I also feel calm and peace knowing that I will see you again one day in Heaven. I want to learn from you and live a life of purpose with humility and compassion.
Your loving daughter