I sat in my car. I wasn’t sure I had the nerve to do it. I looked at the letter I held in my hand. Would this work? Could I possibly find peace after 26 years, merely by reading a letter aloud?
It was a suggestion by a friend. Write your dad a letter and tell him the good and the bad. Talk to him, and pray for healing and forgiveness.
I took out the letter and looked at it. I read it aloud. Funny, I didn’t feel any different. I was very nervous; afraid someone might see me and deem me crazy. Then I figured, this is Las Vegas – it’s a novelty if you’re not crazy! I decided to read it again.
I sat in my car and prayed that God would allow Dad to hear me somehow, possibly through a time and space continuum. I don’t know what separates us from them, but I do believe that God can open a “portal” so they can hear us.
I again read the letter. This time, I read it slower. I really looked at what I was reading. It was a letter from my heart. You see, after 26 years, I still had questions about my father’s suicide. Why did he do it? Why did he do it on my wedding anniversary? How could he leave his children and grandchildren? This was a successful man by the world’s standards. What problem could be so large that he felt he had to kill himself?
As I read the words, I began to really feel them. I had written the letter a couple of months before and had stuffed it into my purse – waiting for the perfect time. Well, that moment never came. The night sky was no brighter or clearer. I was in a park near my home – not high on a mountain as I had pictured – looking out into darkness, save for the moon and a few stars. Everything was wrong. The setting, the timing – even the crowded park.
Only this time, I didn’t care. I was tired of not having closure. I needed some. Twenty-six years is a long time to carry survivor’s guilt. And so, I asked my dad all the questions I wanted to. I read him the letter to tell him how I really felt about his leaving me when I was just 28 years old. I cried that night – really cried for the first time since his funeral.
I guess the question is, “Did I get any answers?” No. I did however, get a sense of peace. I finally said all the things I had wanted to say to my dad. I told him I loved him and that he was missed. I also hoped he was in peace.
This is the first Christmas season in 25 years, where I no longer find myself asking, “Why?” or “How?” Rather, I can focus on the meaning of Christmas and time with my family. I can look at my father’s life and see the joy and love we shared over the years. Despite his frailties, he was a good father.
That night, God helped me heal. He Himself reached down through that portal and gave me what I needed – closure.
Merry Christmas, Dad! Thank you for being there for me! And thank you, God for giving me the best Christmas gift ever – the peace I sought for so many years!