Watching my Father Die, What I Learned

Whether I die of a prolonged fight with cancer or go quickly in a mishap, I hope that I will have no regrets.

I hope that I die knowing that my life pleased God.

I watched my father die and learned something.  For whatever reason, Dad couldn’t let go of his life. He died resisting,  even disbelieving that it was possible that he might actually die.

He wouldn’t allow goodbyes, because he believed that there was more he was supposed to do; there was more that God wanted him for, there was more to accomplish for God.  I can’t help thinking how sad and arrogant that idea is.

And yet, I spend more days that I want to admit asking “Is there something that God wants of me?

I have spent prolonged, painful years learning this simple lesson.  (Or not learning, but banging my proverbial head against the wall.)

I have wrestled with God, fought, cried, and shaken my fist at God insisting that there must be something important I can only do — insisting that God help me feel valuable, necessary – even important.

Believing that there was more than this, that God has for me to do. How sad, how arrogant that idea really is.

Perhaps these years of frequent struggle were meant to help me absorb this one truth, this one hard lesson.  I can’t do anything to make God love me any more than he already does.  No more than he did at the moment that I came to know him fully.  You see, I don’t believe our days and nights of toiling matter much at all in the Big Story.

To the God of the Universe.

When I die, he will ask did you love me.  Did you love those I put in your way while you were striving for significance?  Did you feed my lambs?  How did you treat them?  Did you give up your power? Did you give of yourself?  Did you give away the things I entrusted with you – power, money, love?  How did you care for those along the pathways of your life?   Did you give up your life?

This tiny nugget of truth eluded my father.   He died believing he hadn’t done enough.

I hope I die knowing God is pleased and that there isn’t anything more I can do for him.  Whatever state of my mind and heart in those last days of my life, I hope that I will know there is nothing more that I need to accomplish.

I hope I will know when I die that I spent my days giving it all away.

Nothing you do today or ever will do will make God love you more.  Do you believe that?

3 thoughts on “Watching my Father Die, What I Learned

  1. Good article and interesting thoughts. It’s amazing how we learn from people while they are alive and likewise, we learn from their passing. When my grandfather passed away years ago, there were things I took away from his death that have enable me to better myself. I hope when I die, I feel within my heart and God does too that I have pleased Him. We should all strive to fulfill the calling God placed on our lives and when our time is over, know He’ll embrace us with a “well done.”


  2. Beautifully written, Melody! It is an especially odd notion that we, as Christians, would resist death given the early church emphasis on Christus Victor. Christ has already died and overcome death. Following him in his victory means passing through death and we must embrace that.


Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

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