No Unfinished Business
I lost my dad to cancer last month twelve days after he was diagnosed. I was driving when my wife called with the news. It took a few minutes for the news to set in, and then I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. "Not my dad, Not my dad, Not my dad!"
Ten years ago, I moved my family across the state and built a home next door to my folks. I was looking forward to several more years with him as my closest neighbor and friend. I loved being with my dad. A few months ago we spend many hours together in his unheated garage refinishing an antique dresser for my son and his new bride. I told him I loved working with him. He replied that he enjoyed it too and appreciated that we didn't need to be talking all the time - we were comfortable with silence.
My dad was a simple man of integrity and faith. He loved God, family, and farming. My brother and I remember him swearing... once. It was cow number 72. She was relentlessly kicking him as he tried to milk her, and he finally lost it! He was a perfect example of what it meant to be a good neighbor and to treat people in a Christian way. We shared farm equipment and labor with a neighbor who became like a brother to my dad. As close as they were, they never became complacent in their relationship. Before returning a tractor or piece of equipment, it was fueled, cleaned, and repaired if necessary. Dad didn't serve a mission as a young man and regretted it the rest of his life even though he served several stake missions and missions with my mom to Nigeria, Ghana, Colorado Springs, and the Salt Lake City Family History Center.
My dad was very supportive when I finally told him about my same-sex attraction a few years ago. He didn't understand it, but sought to learn more about it. When he learned the importance of physical touch, he overcame his awkwardness about showing affection, and often told me he loved me. In church each Sunday he would reach over the bench and squeeze my leg three times signifying "I Love You." He was proud of me and my efforts with North Star and my decision to include my story in "Voices of Hope."
The news of his impending death rocked my world, but one thing, for which I will forever be grateful, is that dad and I had no "unfinished business." We didn't need to hurry up and create a relationship before he died. We didn't need to reassure each other of our love or apologize for anything. We were good - no regrets, and I was so grateful. How different the last few days would have been and how different I would feel now if we had unfinished business - unresolved feelings, harbored emotions, forgiveness withheld.
My dad wasn't afraid of dying. He was at peace. He had no unfinished business with his Heavenly Father. He had been preparing his entire life for July 11th, and was comfortable going home.
I do have unfinished business with my Heavenly Father. I am not comfortable going home. I pray I will learn from my relationship with my earthly father and take care of the unfinished business I have with my Father in Heaven.