On Thursday, July 19th, my father passed away. After struggling with severe depression for many years, he took his own life. The past week has been a blur of preparations for the service, visiting with family, and helping my mother prepare for life without her husband. Below are the words, slightly rewritten, that I spoke at his memorial service:
I think the thing that I’m most heartbroken about is how this will affect my son. My mother, my wife Audrey, and I all got to know my dad, to spend time with him and know how wonderful, how funny, how creative and how amazing he was. His family and all of his friends got to know him and feel the impact my dad had on their lives. But Lennox never will. He’ll hear stories. He’ll see the effect my dad’s life had on us. But he’ll never be able to experience it himself. He’ll never know my dad. He’ll never know the huge love of his grandfather or be able to return it.
There are things to be happy about. In middle school and most of high school, our relationship was not what anyone would call good. We loved each other like a father and a son should, but more than that was hard. But towards the end of high school and throughout college, something changed. Things got better. We understood each other better. I stopped being a know-it-all punk and learned to respect my father for more than just being “dad”; I learned to respect him for who he was. He learned to talk with me and work with me and encourage me. We took a relationship that I remember as broken, and completely repaired it; made it better than new. I was, and am, so proud of him, just like I know, and have heard over and over, that he was of me. I can’t even fathom the regret that I would have if our relationship stayed the way it was. Instead, I’m taking comfort that we finished well. That we were able to make it right; better than right.
While talking with my wife about this, she said something that affected me profoundly. We know he wrestled with more than any man should have to. We know how much he struggled. But Audrey brought up that we also know that he won’t have to struggle anymore. The 21st chapter of Revelation says that:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I know I’ll meet him again. And I know that until then, I don’t have to worry about his struggles anymore.
My father’s obituary can be found here. One of my father’s good friends, Maurilio Amorim, also posted his words from the memorial. My father also wrote on a variety of ideas, many of which are well worth the read.
I wanted to say thank you to all of those that extended their condolences, love, and support, both online and in person. My family has been surrounded with love and prayer.