Lingering Love

I’ve been thinking about my dad quite a bit lately. I guess it makes sense. Father’s Day was this past month. The anniversary of my dad’s death was this month too. It’s been 13 years, but grief is weird. I feel like I’ve dealt with my dad’s death and life still goes on, but grief still gives me a kick here and there. Lately, it’s been a little more frequent. Probably ’cause I’m a father myself now. Anyway, grief shows up at the strangest times. Always unexpected.

Dad and Kasen

The other day, Kasen (2yrs) put on a sailor hat that my mother-in-law bought for him at Pearl Harbor. He was laughing and giggling and it was a ton of fun, but in one split second he looked at me with this sort of sideways grin – it was small, but still enough for me to recognize my dad in him. I teared up briefly, but didn’t let on how I was feeling until later when the kids were asleep in the car. I was telling Miranda about the experience and cried thinking about how I wish dad could have seen Kasen, and how I wish Kasen could have known his grandpa. Grief gave me a kick that day.

Dad in his boxing days.

I got another “grief kick” on Father’s Day. I had an interesting conversation with my father-in-law, Mike about my dad’s hard head. I was telling him about how my dad won his first boxing match which was televised. He won by technical knock out ’cause the other guy broke his hand on my dad’s jaw. That’s right. You heard (well read) correctly. My dad was tough. I could just picture him taunting the guy, “Come on. Just hit me.” And when he does, he breaks his hand. That’s a hard head.

There’s another story I heard about the first date he and my mom went on. He was taking her to the movies, but on the way, there was a guy stranded on the side of the road. Dad was trying to impress mom, so he stopped to offer his help. Well. . .he stopped to show her how good of a guy he was and the stranded guy was just gonna benefit from my dad’s flirtatious efforts. Anyway, the guy was drunk and broke a beer bottle over my dad’s head. When dad didn’t flinch or fight back and just stared back at him, the guy ran back and locked himself in his own car so dad couldn’t get him. That’s a hard head.

As I’ve thought about these things and told these stories over the past month or so, I’ve experienced grief. “Grief kicks” aren’t all bad though. They remind you of who you are, of where you’re from. They remind you of the things you treasure and help remind you to reorient your life to the things that matter. Grief is nothing more than a lingering love. I’m so grateful for my dad. Everything I am or will ever be is influenced by him. Truth is. . .Everything my kids will be is influenced by him too – they just don’t know it. They will never know their grandpa. (at least here on earth) But their grandpa is alive in them. And I am grateful.

Prayer: LORD, thank you for the grief you sent me recently. I’m reminded of the incredible love You gave to me through my dad. I remember the way he loved me, the way he played, the way he smiled sideways…I love him. I miss him. But I’m grateful for his influence in my life. For who I am. For who my children are. I’m grateful to You God for him. And I’m grateful to him for helping me see and know You God. LORD, let me be a great dad to my children. May they see You in the way that I live. And may they see You in spite of the way I live too. For I am weak and in need of You. LORD, thank you for letting us experience lingering love in grief.

17 Replies to “Lingering Love”

  1. Thats awesome Steve, Kasen does look alot like your dad. I still miss him too. He always welcomed me into your home like i was part of the family.. Grief never really goes away.. I still get struck with things that remind me of my dear nathan. its been 12 years for him.. I cant believe its almost been a year since my mom. Next month on the 28th. I still grieve for her everyday. this was very humbling to me thanks so much for showing this. Luv and miss you!!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I lost my dad in March this year a day after his birthday. People,places, situation and even smell brings tears to my eyes when I least expect it.Kasen is a handsome little fellow. Take care πŸ™‚

  3. Grief Kicks…they do come out of no where! You were a big part of my grief process when my dad died. I went to camp two weeks later and met you and had many conversations about death and dying. I am a firm believer that “Everything Happens for a Reason”. We have an odd tie in this world, but I’m glad I met you when I did…it helped tremendously! πŸ™‚

    My husband and my children will not know my father either. That’s tough to deal with sometimes, but you are right it is interesting to see the reflection of our parents in ourselves and our children. It’s very eye opening! πŸ™‚

    1. Wow Jennifer!! Thanks for the encouragement. I had no idea that God used me in that way. I’m glad He did though. Sometimes I’m clueless to what’s really going on around me.

      Makes me think about how cool heaven is gonna be someday. Not only will we see our dads, but God is gonna show us all kinds of things He did through us that we didn’t even realize.

  4. Beautiful words….I totally understand. And I know that crooked smile. I’ve seen it somewhere before. πŸ™‚ jolynn

  5. Steve, you said perfectly what I feel. Grief is such an interesting process. Even though I’ve dealt with 3 deaths in particular, I get those grief kicks frequently and infrequently – with both of my parents and David’s grandmother. My parents for reasons that you talked about – seeing my parents in my kids and just missing them. David’s grandmother for traumatic reasons – that is just a raw pain that hasn’t faded with time. Life goes on and I too am thankful for the blessings of lingering love. Well said!

  6. Thanks for posting this. It came at a perfect time because today is the 3 year anniversary of my grandma’s death. The quote “Grief is nothing more than a lingering love” gives me comfort.

  7. Steve Kasen has your dads smile! I see the resemblence!!! Its neat that you get to see you dad in your son every day. OH and just so you know I learned in a crisis communications class that their is something called regreaving and its when you relive your greaving. This can happen at any time unexpectedly. So what your feeling is completly normal. I pray that you can continue to have happy great memories about your dad and that you continue to see you dad in your son!! Thanks for sharing your memories!

  8. Well written, you always could put your thoughts down on paper good. Thanks for the tears – is all i can say. I loved that smile as well.

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