My dad passed tonight near 10:00. It’s hard to find words to express what an amazing man my dad was. I think you just had to know him. He was the best dad, friend, and teacher I’ve ever known or seen. He lit up a room whenever he walked in. One of his friends put it perfectly when she said that “he had a way of making people — everyone he encountered — fall in love with him” (paraphrased). Really, my dad had a way of making every person he interacted with feel special and cared for.
I think it’s so easy when you lose someone so special to so many people to be angry with God. It’s so hard to understand. I can’t see all the ways that God is using this situation in my life or in other people’s lives, and that can be frustrating. Yet, even experiencing the peace and strength God gives in such hard circumstances is so awe inspiring. The love shown to my family and the support in these past few months has been so amazing — we have experienced God’s love at a new level and in new ways.
Moreover, I think of what my dad would say and do in this situation. I think about his life in the midst of his death. I’ve never seen someone love Jesus so much and, more than that, be so dedicated to growing in relationship with Him. My dad was such an encouragement to so many people to grow in their relationships with God — to get to know Him on a personal level. He wanted everyone to know the God he so desperately loved (as you can see just from reading his blog posts), and the God he knew so desperately loved him. He taught so many powerful lessons in his life to many different groups of people about Jesus. Yet, I think the way he lived his life — his Christlike love, his fun-loving spirit, his integrity and character, and the way just talking to him made you feel cared for — pointed people to God in a way words never could. I know that my dad’s close relationship with God and the amazing man he was are inseparable.
When he was diagnosed, he said all he wanted to do in this situation was to glorify God and point people towards Christ. Through all his pain and suffering, he never once complained or doubted God. He would come down from an excruciating experience with pain and ask us to pray and praise God that it was not worse — to praise God for His goodness and love.
To be completely honest, words fail me. Words do not do my father justice. How much more words fail to describe my Father in heaven. My family and I grieve heavily at our loss. I don’t think I will ever miss anyone as much as I will miss my dad, my Ray. But we rejoice in the knowledge that that he is now reunited with Jesus and finally realizing the depths of His love for him. We look forward to eternity.