My first Valentine was my daddy. If you had a good father, you know the tremendous stabilizing influence they provide. While other valentines came and went, my daddy remained.
Do we mourn mothers more than fathers? Perhaps it seems so. An emotional umbilical cord links us to them. And yet, when we lose a father, we lose a force, an anchor, a defender.
I struggled receiving comfort in the idea that my mother was in heaven, even though I believed in the afterlife. And while I am delighted she isn’t suffering anymore, the whole thing for me was she was gone from my side. I believed she gained so much. But I had lost so much.
Seven years later, I find comfort in the perspective voiced by Benjamin Franklin in a letter dated to a February day 261 years ago. I share the letter below. I do not pretend that because we know a person isn’t suffering anymore that our grief is easily erased. But perhaps it can be eased.
What a wonderful way to understand these passages called life and death. This life prepares us for another. Christ gave us a hope that I pronounced over my daddy’s lifeless body 10 years ago. He said: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Mr. Franklin’s letter: