Hi its me again Honey.
When the storms rage I won't be afraid. Because even in the darkest nights I know God is there.
It was a Monday morning. I got a message from a grandmother I no longer had communication with letting me know my Dad had passed away from a heart attack.
I wonder what his last thoughts were…
I spend a couple of days talking with my family and Daniel wondering if I was going to attend his funeral…
I wanted to be brave.
I went Because I know my Dad would have wanted me there so badly
Sometimes we need to do things outside of understanding and knowledge but out of love and right doing. That’s the stuff that grows us and teaches us. It's when we step out of our comfort zones that miracles are able to come to pass.
I realised this was a huge deal and I wasn’t about to be a superhero and do this all on my own. I asked my friend Emma and her husband if they would come down with us (me and Dan) in support. It was big because I not only had to come to terms with my Dad dying but had to grieve what will now never be. There were and are so many unanswered questions. The funeral was at his home where he lived…. I was arriving at a place where I would meet and see people that I have not seen in many many years/ ever met before. My half brother and sister were sitting on the floor of the house when I arrived. His coffin was placed at the front of his lounge and after about 30minutes I grew the courage to look up at it. There I saw a photo placed above it of him. Wow. I guess I knew he looked like me but the weight in my heart was heavy knowing I was his little girl. It’s a weird feeling having being connected by blood which I guess makes your connection with people, relationship or no relationship go deeper without realising it. I can’t say I felt connected but I felt wanted and needed in that space. I felt safe even though knowing all the facts of what once was.
He looked like me. Mum said he was good at sport like I was at school and that I got a lot of things from him.
I was surrounded by his things, his memories and his friends. People who truly cared about him…. I didn’t think there would be any… harsh but the truth.
A close friend of his that spent a lot of time with him in his last days read this out at the service “To Abby, he loved you. Everyday. There was not a day that went by that he didn’t talk about you… I know he is sorry for all that he has done and he went through the rest of his life trying to make up for that in other areas” All of a sudden the tears that were streaming down my face were heavy and meant something.
It so happened to be that my Dad had turned his life around in the later years and actually found a faith… which blows my mind as that is a big part of my life also.
I guess when you go through such growing times and low valleys where you feel like nothing good is left in this world it makes you search. You never want to go back to that broken place and that empty place. So really I’m not surprised he found faith.
This lady went onto to saying that because so many people helped him and guided him to the right direction like social workers (this lady was his social worker once upon a time and turned into his best friend). He wanted to return the favor and become a social worker himself. I nearly fell off my seat when I heard this… I instantly had this image of my Dad working in social work that I didn’t realise I had. I thought he was horrible and someone who did no good. Who brought no positivity to this world? But maybe he did…. He proved me wrong.
I hope he knows that I am so incredibly proud of who he turned out to be. For someone to turn badness into good and let it grow them is someone that is strong after all. He did fight, maybe harder than I gave him credit for.
It was the most calming funeral. The people who spoke so kindly of him. He literally changed people’s worlds and impacted so many people's lives. They talked about how he would build beds for the homeless and always put others before himself.
People sang, laughed and they cried. People made way for me to move closer to the front of the room as I started at the very back wanting to stay there. I guess they knew, they knew about me and gave me the respect and space I needed.
Once it was over I was walking outside wanting to just leave as I wasn’t really into connecting with people as that’s not why I was there. I was there for him and myself. I was just getting my shoes on and I heard a man asking if anyone has seen Abby (Oh heck my heart has never raced so fast in my life.) I was partly about to just ignore him and leave but as I was doing this another couple of people were talking to Emma’s husband Ayrton and started talking about his daughter Abby. Ayrts’ said yes this is Abby here. In that moment both the man and couple stopped and just allowed their eyes to fill up with tears.
The emotion on their face said it all. My Dad really had spoken about me every single day.
This man grabbed my hands and held them with the most caring grip I have ever felt.
“Abby, do you know how wanted you were in his life? He did some horrible things but he loved you in every season.” This man then just started crying with me… not many more words were spoken but I knew. I knew what he was meaning.
I am so loved and cherished no matter what. I was always thought of. He did fight. He fought as hard as he knew how. He did wish to one day reconnect with me and was doing everything he could to get his life right… He did feel guilty and not worthy to be my Dad after what he had done. He was paying the price and he felt the burden of that. But in all of that…. He never stopped loving me. He never stopped thinking about me. I was still his and always will be relationship or no relationship.
If he knew my step Dad he would love him. He would thank him and he would be proud of how he raised me.
The reason why I wanted to share this journey with you is because sometimes in life things happen and we don’t know the answers as to why…. Sometimes life is uncomfortable and people hurt us. But we have to be brave. We have to stick to who we are and know our truth and that is that we are so worthy of being loved. We are needed and so important.
We learn things in tough times and out character will grow if we let it. I also wanted to share this as it's so key to understand that maybe it's not about playing the victim but sharing and using your story for good.
If I didn’t go to this funeral and overcome my fear or disappointment in him. If I didn’t put myself aside for a second and step out in faith and braveness, then I could have never found the healing I needed. This story would still be unfinished and it would still be bitter. But instead I hope you read this and find wisdom entangled amongst it. We have to forgive people for their wrong doing sometimes just like I forgave my Dad by going to his funeral.
Forgiveness isn’t always about them. It's also about freeing us…
To my Dad, I forgive you.
I hope you are resting in heaven knowing I have heard you. The way your friends speak about you is special. You helped people and for that I am proud of you.