Moments Missed by Dad

Originally published in June 2013.

Rachel's DadI’m having a baby.

In about two months, there will be a new light in my life.  A new source of happiness.  A new person to love.  I should be really thrilled about everything that comes along with becoming a Mom for the first time … and yet there have been several moments recently where I’ve caught myself driving on the road with big alligator tears running down my cheeks. I can blame it on my pregnancy hormones, or on the stresses of teaching, but the reality eventually hits me.

I’m crying because I miss my Dad.

It’s been almost 10 years since my Dad passed away, and I thought I was at the point in my grief journey where I only cry on the “big days.”  His birthday, Father’s Day, the anniversary of his death, any time a new bride dances with her father at a wedding, etc.  Usually though, when I think of my dad I smile, roll my eyes, or laugh at a memory.

I think what’s bringing me to tears these days is that my Dad will never be “Grandpa” to my son.  He’ll never take my son out for ice cream, tell him silly jokes, or write him a birthday check for $5 the way only a Grandpa can do.  They’ll never have a picture taken together.

My dad will never teach my child all the things he taught me, like how to serve selflessly, or how to play a joke that is at no one’s expense but still makes everyone laugh.  My son will never celebrate Christmas “Grandpa’s way” or hear my dad’s big, loud, explosive laughter.

It’s enough to almost make me wish my Dad never died all those years ago.

But then I think about the way his death ultimately propelled my life to where it is now.  I think about the life that is growing inside of me, and wonder if things in my life would be the same if my Dad hadn’t gotten sick.  I think about the phrase I learned while volunteering at Comfort Zone Camp, “Because of something bad, something good happened.”

When my Dad died, I changed my college major and eventually became a teacher.  Financial freedom from his retirement policy allowed me the opportunity to travel and pursue teaching jobs in South Carolina.  Teaching in Charleston introduced me to friends, led me to know the Lord, and positioned me to work down the hall from the man who would become my husband and the father of this little boy in my belly.  All of these things were a part of a great plan, and that plan included losing my father.

I try to focus on that plan when I miss him.  I also focus on my resolve to make my Dad a very real person to my son.  We’ll watch home movies, tell unbelievable but true stories, play practical jokes, laugh loudly, and we’ll even celebrate Christmas “Grandpa’s way.”

My baby will know my Dad … because there’s so much of my dad within me.

Our thanks to guest author Rachel Infinger for sharing her story with us.

12 Comments:

  1. Shana said on June 11, 2013 at 11:16 am ... #

    I was pregnant, but didn’t know it yet, when I lost my mom. The grief consumed every part of me for months. I was 15 weeks along when I realized the symptoms were more than grief. The range of emotions were far and wide, from happy to be having my 1st girl to not wanting anything to do with keeping a baby that my mom would never get to spoil and love on.
    In the end, I kept my baby girl and named her after my mom. She has changed me, just as her grandmother’s death has changed me. I’m a more responsible person, a better mother. I miss her terribly and I think of her everyday, for the last 3 years. My daughter will know her grandma and know that she would have stolen her heart, as she has mine, no doubt.

  2. myk said on June 12, 2013 at 1:01 am ... #

    Holy Moly, Lady!
    Thanks for making me cry my friggin’ eyes out.

    I can relate.

  3. Shanti said on June 12, 2013 at 10:19 am ... #

    Thank you for sharing Rachel and making me smile through tears this morning. It makes me sad everyday watching my son knowing he will never play with his cousins John and Morgan but I also know that they are with him everyday watching over him. Watch for the moments you will know when he is there with your son. One night when Tyler was just a few weeks old and fussing in the middle of the night for no reason. I was at a loss of what to do and as I watched on the monitor I saw a small flash and all of a sudden Tyler stopped crying and went to sleep. When I fell asleep I had a dream about Tyler and John playing and I knew he was there taking care of my baby.

  4. Liz said on June 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm ... #

    God Bless You Rachel! Thank you for sharing your story. There were moments you mentioned that I have experienced and it’s comforting to know we are not alone. Congrats on your son!

  5. Lisa Ratnavira said on June 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm ... #

    What a beautiful way to look at loss and reframe it as a gain in your life.

  6. Marilyn said on July 12, 2013 at 3:46 am ... #

    I lost my Dad when I was eleven and it has been so very hard since he passed. It has been over 50 years. I had two sons and always thought about how he would have enjoyed being a grandfather because I know he enjoyed being a Dad.
    One day as I was working in my yard and my older son who was helping me clean the yard walked by me and I could see my Dad’s face in my son’s. I almost could not believe my eyes. I had never noticed it before. My son was 30 years old and getting older and he looked just like my Dad. It was like a gift from God. I could hardly believe my eyes. I think I just sat and stared at my son as if for the first time. I still miss my Dad more than anything but it is nice seeing him in my son. My son has his hazel colored eyes, and his very thick dirty blond hair. It is a miracle to be able to see his face again in my son’s.

    God bless you and yours, may you always enjoy being a Mom and passing that love over to your children.

  7. Cynthia said on August 21, 2013 at 1:46 am ... #

    I lost my father when I was five years old, and not until now that I’m 24 I’m finally dealing with it. I think its partly because we never spoke of him growing up, his death was just the beginning for a lot of hardships that my mother and us 3 kids had to endure, and also because it finally hit me, now that I found the man I want to marry I know he won’t be asked for my hand in marriage, he won”t be walking me down the aisle or dance with me, he’s not going to be there for my kids to put them on his lap and give them candy like his dad did for me.
    I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg…

  8. jun said on October 3, 2013 at 12:47 am ... #

    It’s so heart-breaking to know the effect to children the loss of a father.

    I’m contemplating suicide at 50 with four children, 5,8,10 & 13 and a wife at only 36.

    I love them but I have no more hope and in despair. So many regrets and recently made major blunders which brought to my present mess.

    May Jesus forgive me and still join Him in eternity.

  9. Temari said on October 6, 2013 at 11:00 am ... #

    I lost my dad a few months ago. I’m 28 and don’t believe in heaven or an afterlife, but for the first time I’m hoping I’m wrong. I just want to see him again so bad. Have contemplated suicide because it might be the only way we can be together and I can stop being tortured by this feeling of loneliness and regret. Losing your parents absolutely SUCKS! I imagine the only thing worse would be losing a child!

  10. kelly said on November 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm ... #

    Jun, my dad hung himself. My world of hope and joy shattered… Every breath I take feels awful. My dad was sad and I know if I was there I could have stopped him. Please do not take that hope of joy from those children. It will devastate them. Live for them. Live for god! You will be happy once again. I promise you are worth it. Im 25 and wish I could have just gone home. With this weight of guilt and pain I know if I continue to believe in my lord….well, things will get easier. Oh please! Live because you have this chance of making the most out of,. Be strong!be strong…I cant say it enough…ill say it anyways!BE STRONG AND LIVE ON….YOU BROUGHT CHILDREN IN THIS WORLD!hellooo?!?!?!

  11. L. said on February 22, 2014 at 3:49 am ... #

    I watched my fathers long joutney to the Lord. He had Alzheimer’s so..I feel as though I lost him twice. The drama and hate that came out amoungst his kids while he was leaving us was a shock in itself.

    Reading this article I appreciated hearing that it is In Gods plan at some point. Its been six months. I still cry..I still see his smile..I still know holidays are a new pang in my heart.

    My boyfriend hasnt given up on my moody self. However I dont believe Ill ever feel the same about life. there is a giant hole in my soul ….

    Id like to be happy again and have a sense of balance.

  12. Jenna said on July 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm ... #

    My father was just given 6-12 months to live. He has a rare, aggressive kidney cancer. I am married, but have no kids. This is my biggest fear/reality, but this article shed a whole different light on this.

    Thank you.

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