In 2006 a true miracle occurred. After many years of pushing my dad out of my life, I had a true reconciliation with him. There’s no explanation other than God’s grace that led me to reach out to my dad and really let him into my life.
I could never have imagined the healing that would take place for both of us over such a short time. I know I was given an amazing gift that God led me to reconnect with my father, really love him and let myself be loved by him during the last three years of his life.
What a tremendous blessing God took away the hardness in my heart so I could be there for and with him as the rare illness he had stolen his ability to work and volunteer, robbed him of his football player physique, and eventually led to him becoming very dependent on others. I had the privilege of being one of the two people he relied on most when he struggled with excruciating physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.
My mom was the one who did the most for him during the last three years of his life. I sometimes refer to her as the patron saint of ex-wives, because of the love and compassion she showed my dad. When he breathed his last on August 10, 2009, I was holding his hand and my mom was sitting right next to me.
There are many gifts I have received from my parents. Of all of them, I am most grateful for the gift of a faith which has taught me to believe in the true presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist and that Mary, the Mother of God, is also my own mother.
I am beyond grateful I was given such a gift beyond measure of making peace with my dad before he passed away. I know he’s still praying for me and loving me, but I’m thankful his suffering has ended.