Here I am on a flight somewhere between Alabama and Texas…thinking about my ex from 39 years ago. Am I being unfaithful to my husband? NO.
Those are not the thoughts that have been brought to my mind often since Sept. 19, 2017, the day a well check from the police in Jacksonville, FL discovered that Mike had died.
The sad news was that he had not passed the day they found him. In fact, they have yet to determine how long before that day he took his last breath or why.
Hurricane Irma was heading towards Jacksonville and many neighbors left the area; Mike chose not to. His body was discovered on the 15th. Although again, his death occurred much before that time the coroner states.
Why? Why did no one know? Why were his two children not called?
Mike had long since become more of a hermit/loner in his alcoholic, wounded state of life. He was a product of his past and didn’t know how to not remain a prisoner of it. His years of abandonment, betrayal and rejection by an alcoholic father led him to declare and vow that he would never do that to his children. Yet he did!
The Good Years
I can recall some good years of our marriage. High school sweethearts, we had two boys together (now 48 and 46 years of age). The Vietnam War effected Mike, added more pain to the years of not seeing or knowing where his own father was.
I remember the first time I met his father – in 1971. It had been nine years since Mike had last heard from him. He did try to step back into Mike’s life, but alcohol stepped harder.
Our sons tried to be relational with Mike often over the years. He, too, would invest for a short time, then fall back away into that hermit state of loneliness.
On Sept. 19, the day our son told me of Mike’s death, unusual and unexpected emotions overcame me. After 39 years and barely any communication, I would have never expected any emotions. I guess I assumed I would have just taken such news as just that – “news” or a “statement of fact.”
When the flood of feelings came, I was in shock. They were not feelings as if the love of my life died. No, I’m married to the love of my life now and have been for 26 years. Instead, it was an overwhelming feeling of sadness, madness, anger and regret.
I was sad he did not know his sons and how amazing they are. He didn’t know how much they love their children, their success in life and most of all, their precious hearts.
I was sad that out of his five grandchildren, he had met two. He met the oldest at his own mothers’ funeral when she was just 18 months old; she’s now 24. The other grandchild he met when she was around 17 when she took a road trip with her dad to check on Mike who was in a rehab from a serious broken leg after a fall that left him on the floor for eight days before being discovered. Loneliness creeps in again.
His 5 grandchildren are 7-24 years of age and absolutely beautiful inside and out. Mike lived no more than six hours away all these years. How could that happen? How? How could you not see your children, your grandchildren, how?
My emotions turned to anger. I was angry that he didn’t try harder – that he let alcohol win. That he let his own fears and self-rejection become stronger than love. He did not know how to love.
I know all that now. I myself was guilty of not being there for our children either in my years of alcohol and drugs. The God of Recompense, Jehovah Gomalah brought full restoration in my relationship with my sons. I love them and know them deeply.
Now I teach it, try to live it, better understand it, but I could not help Mike. Would he even have received help? Was alcohol stronger? Did he know Jesus, really know Jesus?
I’m not only sorry for what he missed in life, but I’m sorry for our sons. Their children did not get to know the man: the dad I first married and the man who truly wanted to love but just didn’t know how. I’m sorry our children and our grandchildren will never get the opportunity to know the real Mike. Death took that away.
The emotions of sad, mad, anger, hate, rejection, betrayal, grief, sorrow, pain were evident in conversation with my boys. The mask of, “He was never there for us anyway,” was hiding the truth of, “I needed my father. I wanted my father. I wanted my father to love me, need me and fight for me.”
Our Father >> Our Restorer
So many fathers have not been equipped to give what is needed because they never received it for themselves. Only our Heavenly Father can restore what we’ve lost, replace what was missing and bring peace to us in the storms of life and death.
It’s now Nov. 20th as I complete what I started weeks ago. My boys are still on hold – unable, yet willing to bring closure. Their dad’s remains just arrived a week ago. There is still no death certificate; it hasn’t been released.
Here, months later, there is nothing they can do to complete the grief process of death. The waiting for closure is still in their hearts.
My Prayer Request
Pray for my sweet sons, pray they face their deep true feelings and allow those feelings to be washed and cleansed by Jesus so their life does not continue to filter through what they never received. Thank you.
I have learned much over these past 26 years. Learned how to overcome by examining the past, the walls, and the filters life goes through from examples and false identity lies from the enemy. I am an overcomer and want to help others be the same regardless of what life has been like. God has planted a team of like-minded people in the ministry the Lord asked Don and I to begin in 1999. I would love to hear your story and challenges as well. We know the answer….HIS name is Jesus.
What is your story? How can we help?
I encourage you to contact us at Christians United Ministries at: www.cumi.live or 774.567.0771. We have a great team of Certified Prayer Ministers trained to counsel, coach and love you right where you are. We are all about the heart!
Heavenly Father, help us to forgive those who leave this earth with so many questions unanswered. Help us to trust you and rest in your sovereignty. You are high above it all and we know that nothing is wasted with You. Everything is in Your mighty hands. Bring comfort to those who need it most who are struggling with the loss of a loved one – especially during this Christmas season. In Jesus’ beautiful Name, Amen
Jan Hicks is president of Christians United Ministries. Her ministry is dedicated to the pursuit of inner healing. Jan is also an international speaker, teacher, author and Christian Counselor. She welcomes you to connect with her through the official Christians United Ministries website, www.janhicks.org, or through her official ministry Facebook page.