My kids brought home a beautiful craft that they made for me in honor of Father’s Day. It reads, “Who needs a superhero when you have Dad!” and Ian’s handprint and Elizabeth’s footprint make up the SuperDad character. It’s absolutely adorable and priceless to me. I’m thankful for the gift and the effort they put into it, but I’m even more grateful for the gift of parenthood, especially with this Sunday around the corner. Father’s Day is a reminder of the awesome privilege and terrifying responsibility I have to my children. I’m the only parent they have left.
Kristen died on March 4, 2013, a mere eleven days after our son, Ian, was born. I don’t know why God allowed Kristen to die. I don’t know why He left me with two children to raise. And I really don’t know how this path I’m on is somehow better than the one the two of us were on together. I doubt I’ll ever have those answers, at least in this lifetime. I suppose one day, in the presence of Jesus, I could find out, but it won’t matter then. Nothing else will.
I had such peace in the hospital as Kristen lay dying. It was the kind of peace only God can provide, a peace that passes all understanding. As someone who’s grown up in church his whole life, who has always believed in God, heaven, and the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I knew she’d be made whole in His presence. This life had always burdened Kristen for numerous reasons, so when it became clear that she wasn’t going to make it, I could find comfort knowing that her spirit would be in heaven with Jesus. I didn’t want to lose her, but I could accept her death—because deep in my spirit, I knew everything was going to be OK.
There have been many ups and downs since that day. I’ve cried more tears in the last fifteen months than I had my entire life. I’ve struggled with terrible grief, the kind that consumes everything and makes life seem so dark and terrifying. I’ve lost touch with folks who, to this day, have not said anything to me about Kristen’s death, and who won’t even ask how my kids are doing. And I’ve wrestled with the Lord over His plan for my life; it didn’t take me long to realize that my own pride was my worst enemy.
But I’ve also felt the love and support of so many people. My dearest friends and family have been there for me throughout this trial. Some have babysat my kids, others have been generous with their time and talents, and a special few have walked alongside me as I’ve tried to forge a new life for myself. I’m made many new friends since Kristen died, and some people I haven’t even met yet have given me food, diapers, clothes, and most importantly their love. Truly I can say God has blessed me!
I get asked all the time if I plan to remarry. I know people ask me because they genuinely care about my happiness, but I don’t know how to answerthem. I like the idea of sharing my life with someone else and being part of a team again. But I can’t get over the strangeness of picturing another woman in my house, sharing my bed and raising my kids. It’s just unimaginable to me. Perhaps God has someone in store for me, but until that day, I’d much rather focus on my children. I know Father’s Day is supposed to be about me, but I want it to be about them. After all, they’re the only reason I get to be SuperDad.