Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sorrow and Joy Mingled Together

      My father left this life on earth a week ago, yesterday.  I have never experienced anything like it.  I wonder if I will ever get over it?  They say you have to learn a “new normal”.  What is normal, any ways?  Unexpected turns take us to places we never dreamed we’d go.  

      I knew my father had an incurable lung disease, but he left us so quickly.  It was unexpected.  We thought he’d be around longer.  

      Last Tuesday a call came from my mom.  I could hear it in her voice.  It wasn’t good.  Was this it?  Should I go?  Is it time?  We watched and waited.  He improved.  By Wednesday morning it was evident he was spiraling down, again.  “It’s time to go, Babe”, he said to my mom early that morning.  He knew.

       I got to the house one hour before he left us.  He knew I was there.  I told him I loved him, and as he labored to breathe he told me he loved me too.  It will be the last time I will hear my daddy tell me he loves me.    My heart aches as I think about it.  There’s a void, a deep cavern in my soul.

      One of my brothers, my sister, my mother and I surrounded him and prayed.  It was a sacred moment as we released him to go be where eternal life awaited.  His once labored breathing began to slow down.  He began to breathe easier than he had in months.  My sister and I began to sing to him.  I reached for his hand... I wanted to hold onto him as he left me.  

      Slowly but surely he took in his last breath.  There was no labor, no struggle, just a tender, sweet end to a life.  Papa God removed his last breath on earth and took it to heaven.

      Sorrow and joy intermingled, life and death coincided.  We are left here to live, while he is where he was made to be.   My father’s physical experience is over.  He is fully restored and filling his place in heaven.  

       I on the other hand am still in the midst of this life on earth.  There is great loss to my heart, my body, my life.  I will never see my dad this side of heaven.  I will never feel his arms around me again.  Though I will dwell with him forever in heaven, I miss him in the here and now.

       Well meaning people try to offer me encouragement, “He’s in a better place.”  “He’s fully restored.”  The words don’t comfort me.   I grieve not for my dad, but for me.

     The phone calls that came  were beautiful.  The words repeated over and over.  “I loved your dad, he made me feel so special.”  “He was the best friend I ever had.”  “He was like a brother to me.”  “He had an impact on my life.”  “I’m going to miss him, greatly.”

      A somewhat quiet man who had only been walking with Jesus since the 1990’s, he had no idea that his life mattered so much.  Isn’t that how it is?   We see ourselves in our “mess”....but God.....  He reveals in spite of us.  We bear His heart, even when we don’t see.  


        It makes me want to ask more... seek more, listen....  I want to see what God sees. My Daddy’s life continues to speak to me even in death.

        We were created for life, to the full.  We are making an impact.  We are beacons of the Light of Life, even when we don’t know.

      As I grieve, Papa God gives me a picture to hold onto.  I see Daddy and Jesus arm and arm, strolling through the scenes of his life.  As they walk, the story is unfolding.  Daddy can now see what Jesus sees.  He now knows how deeply he was loved.  

       I have the hope of being reunited with my daddy again.  One day he will be running through the crowds of heaven to get to me.  He will sweep me up in his arms again and it will be as if..... time stood still.

       Thank you for your love, prayers, emails and comments.  They have blessed me tremendously!

      I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  John 16:19-21

©copyrighted:  2008, Julie L. Todd


Bretta said... Reply to comment

Love you, Julie. Thank you for sharing your heart and helping others to understand God's heart in the process.

lori said... Reply to comment

That was absolutely beautiful..I'm sitting with tears streaming down my face..KNOWING you will be held again by your "daddy" brings such hope in the hole that is your heart today. I'll be praying for you as the days go by...
Praying that the memories you hold in your heart will sustain you, "until you meet again..."

simply praying...
peace Julie,

Sharon said... Reply to comment
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon said... Reply to comment

Julie, I struggled reading your post, to be honest I couldn't finish it. Please know my heart & prayers goes out to you and your family. This is a very hard time I know, my brother passed away as well, it's just a year now. I still see him gasping his air and he went for 2 days.
I pray that peace will fill the room that you are in and all around you in the days to come.
God Bless you my friend

Sita said... Reply to comment

This was also hard for me to read. It's been 2 years since my Dad was given a sombre diagnosis ..basically he could have a stroke at any time...but my Dad is physically far away from me and I often struggle with thoughts of him passing without any of his children/grandchildren around...we are scattered around the world--Trinidad, USA, Canada, England, Thailand...
God has give you a new 'void' to fill with Himself--a void that I myself am not looking forward to...but, Julie, my thoughts and prayers are with you...
Love, Sita

Tea With Tiffany said... Reply to comment

I am beyond thankful for your words about your father and Jesus arm in arm. I'm sorry you are hurting. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life. I love you!


mer@lifeat7000feet said... Reply to comment

I'm sorry that you're in the midst of sorrow...but thankful for the joy that is yours.

This was hard for me to read as my own dad is struggling with his health right now....

Miss G said... Reply to comment

I am so thankful you were able to say goodbye in such a meaningful way even though goodbye is one of the most miserable things in the world. I pray God will continue to bring you comfort. Kelly

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

Always praying for you, dear sister! You will never get over this, but you know you will get through this with the help of you loving Papa God. Thank you for sharing this from your heart...

Amy said... Reply to comment


The Holy Spirit has been prompting me to pray for you over and over.

May God's peace and love continue to carry you through this difficult time.

With much love,

Leti said... Reply to comment

Dear Julie, what an awesome priviledge for you and your family to have been around your father's bed and to have watched him go "peacefully" into Our Heavenly Fathers arms. Thank you for sharing. We weep with you sister, yet we look forward to the JOY that will come in the morning.

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Julie, I pray for your peace and your comfort. You're right. Your grief is yours and for you--your dad is restored. And though that comforts as much as it can, we're human, and it also sucks. Because he can only be fully restored fully away from you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Gail W. said... Reply to comment

Julie, you have captured what it means to be human in this post. Time and God's love will make it easier in some ways, but the wound is always there until we are reunited. I love you and am praying for you and your family.

Lindsey @ A New Life said... Reply to comment


I have no words that can comfort; especially as I have not experienced the death of a close loved one yet.

Your words give me encouragement, as I am reminded that it is ok to be vulnerable and ok to let others see our pain, because in our faith we are able to react to life's trials and sorrows with a supernatural strength only given by God.

I pray for you and your sweet family that God will continue to wrap His arms around you and bring you a measure of peace and a measure of hope in why we are all here--- to bring glory to His name no matter what happens.


LisaShaw said... Reply to comment

Precious Julie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious Daddy. My love and prayers are with you. I wish you could feel my arms wrapped around you giving you a much needed hug.

May you feel the arms of Abba Father as He comforts you and brings you into His peace.

Love you.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie, I am so sorry! Of course you know what I mean by that...I wish I could hug you and let you know we care. I pray God wraps you in His special embrace during this time.

I wanted to let you know I posted a followup comment on the cafe that I thought you might be interested in reading. I appreciate you! Hugs and prayers today, friend.

Daughter of the King said... Reply to comment

I am weeping with you. I can feel your love for him as well as your loss.

You write beautifully about your dad.

I am so touched by the way you, your mom and your siblings were there with him to send him off.

I don't know you and didn't know him, but my heart has been so touched tonight.

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

May God wrap you in His loving, comforting arms until you're back in the arms of your dad.

Joyful said... Reply to comment

Sending my love & prayers,

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

Julie, I can relate to how you feel when people ask how are you, or tell you that your loved one is in a far better place... the only thing that comforted me during my husband's death was the caring silence of friends who truly understood. I sit with you in your grief, dear Julie. May God's comfort surround you like a shield.

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

Julie, again, I want to tell you that I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my father when I was 17 years old in a motorbike accident when he was one month short of turning 50. It was so sudden. I want to encourage you and tell you that 18 years later, reflecting on my own 'new normal', the pain has gone. Yes, I still miss him terribly, but there will be a time when your heart will mend. Allow yourself this time to grieve. The pain of losing a father is immeasurable, but it won't last forever. No, time is not the healer - Jesus is! I love you my friend. xoxoxoxo

Roberta Simmons said... Reply to comment

Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us about your father's life and death. Grieving will eventually give way to rejoicing, but not for a while. The interlude of grief is normal...God's way of giving you time to mourn and you will know Him more in those deep places of the heart. Rest down into the grief you feel at the loss of someone so special to you, and God will temper your heart ... and grow you even more than you thought possible. You have a beautiful legacy from your Daddy.

praying for you and your family

Tara Owens said... Reply to comment


I once heard someone say that people most often die how they lived. The peace of your daddy's passing into the Kingdom Restored was so beautiful to read of. What a strange alchemy sorrow and joy produce in one's heart. Take things slow, my friend. No rulers during this time. No "I should be this way" or "I need to feel that way." This is a time to live deep in these present moments, where the Presence is completely with you to comfort and sustain you.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matt. 5:4

It is a promise, dear friend. A promise.

Much love,
Tara Owens

Kimberly said... Reply to comment

Sweet Julie,
I am so thankful to know that God will continue to comfort your heart and carry you through this time. I am amazed, as I have been without my daddy for 15 years now, to look back over those years and see the tender ways God has helped me along the way.

I remember the first Father's Day after my dad had died. That night I had the most vivid dream about him. And in that dream he hugged me. I cannot tell you how much that dream meant to me because in all of my other dreams he was always far off, always the reminder he was gone. Oh what a sweet healing balm that dream was to hold him once more, to really feel like I was in his arms....hugging him had always been one of my favorite things.

My heart grieves with yours, dear Julie, and I am praying for you, trusting your heart in your Heavenly Father's loving hands.

Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said... Reply to comment


There must have been some type of feeder problem, because whenever I checked it, your blog was not listing any new posts...for like two weeks. And then today...I saw that you had a bunch of posts...I am so sorry I did not know all this before today.

This was such a beautifully written piece. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for the loss of your father and will be praying for you.

Tracy said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful and heartbreaking post. Can't imagine how hard it must be to let go of your Daddy. Praise God for the knowledge you will see and be held in his arms again. Until then, I pray God heals the ache you feel.

Love & prayers,

Lelia Chealey said... Reply to comment

OH Julie, I am so sorry my sweet friend. I won't even pretend to know your pain as I have not been where you are yet. Know Julie that you are being prayed for and you know if you need any specific prayer to let me know. I loved how you your Dad arm in arm with Jesus...what a sweet picture.
Love you,

Shanda said... Reply to comment

My father passed away a few years back now. There is something powerful about your earthly father leaving this world for the next. His was a sweet passing as well - family surrounding him - entering his eternal reward. I was at peace but deeply saddened because we were close.

I remember praying that God would show me the depths of what He had meant in Psalm 68:5 when He was declared a "Father to the fatherless..." He has spoken tenderly to my soul in new ways. I would encourage you, when you are ready; to invite Him to new levels as your Father.

May His peace overflow your soul today-


Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Hi Julie.You have to be strong and God will never leave you nor forsake you in times of sorrow.I can relate to you cuz ive been through that too.My husband past last july 16, 09.It was so sudden and so hurtful that for the last time i have not seen him or talk to him.We had 1 son 1 yr and 8 months and we married for 3 yrs and was a happy and complete marriage.I am a filipina lives in the Philippines and he died in the United States and the worse part i have not able to go there to see him for the last time cuz the u s emabssy here denied me to get visa cuz they the siblings there can do what i can do when i am there and also my son is an american citizen and a big ties for me in the states.They are so mean to me even i was crying and begginng there to give me visa for my son cuz his too young to have no daddy.But i know God has store something for me and my son and his plans will fulfill into my life.I dont know what 2010 would be like to me now but i trust in the Lord to give me guidance and praying to work miracles in my life and to my son to get visa and see my husband and bury him.Though he was cremated already but have not buried yet.I am struggling so much now though phisically i act like nothing happen but inside me i am so broken and shattered into pieces but i have to be strong for my son.So be strong too God will always be with us!!