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Heaven's Journal

Loss of a Dad

Watching Alex become a father has been the healing to pain I have carried for many years over the loss of a man I knew as my dad. To see him love, cherish, and value our children has filled a huge void in my life.

Frequently I find myself triggered by those simple “life” moments which instantly bring me back to sacred  childhood memories of my dad.

The smell of Home Depot, construction sites, an old red Chevy truck, Van Halen on the radio, or the sound of a electric guitar. 

To this day I can still feel my sisters and I sitting in the living room of that baby blue house on San Gabriel Dr. fondly watching him play that burgundy red electric guitar. 

Gosh that guitar meant so much to me. 

He would hold the guitar pick effortlessly and play the most beautiful melody for us using only 3 simple cords. 

That melody was played over and over again…. I can still hear it running through my head today as if he was playing right next to me. He even showed each of us how to play the song. That was the first guitar I ever held in my tiny 10 year old hands.

The first and only melody I have ever learned to play. 

The simplistic sound of those 3 chords will still send a flooding rush of emotional memories through my soul. Memories that have found a way to ingrain  themselves into the deepest part of my heart. 

If you don’t know my life story you probably think my dad has passed away.

He hasn’t.

But the man I told you about who played those sweet melodies for us doesn’t exist anymore. 


It’s drugs and alcohol that do that to a person….changes them. Causes them to become completely non existent in your life within a matter of moments. 

In what felt like a single moment in time my life was changed forever and I became a statistic…. another number added to the fatherless generation. 

Did you know 1 in 3 kids will grow up without a father? 

Drugs and alcohol: an evil addiction stealing precious life from the grips of your hands. Not only robbing the life of the user but also lives of the users loved ones. 

In the blink of an eye I went from what felt like a perfect childhood, sitting at his feet learning guitar melodies, to going 11 years without spending even a Christmas together. In a moment, my world as I knew it…. changed forever. 

It was hard watching girls my age have a father that they could whole heartily confide in. I didn’t have that but dang, I sure wanted it so badly. My dad wasn’t there on my first day of Jr. High or High School, award ceremonies, school dances, high school graduation, or even my wedding. He actually didn’t meet my husband, Alex, for the first time until our 4th year of marriage. 

I have known addiction to be a mouth full of hateful words thrown in my face; putting me down, cursing me, abandoning me, confusing me, unloving me, manipulating me…. It’s violent. 

My adolescent years were an emotional roller coaster of high’s and low’s including many letters back and forth from jail. One day believing the short moments of my dad presence in my life would “wake him up” and the next knowing that my gut was telling me something just isn’t right {and finding out he was back in jail again}.

Let me tell you- The continual wave of emotional highs and lows become completely exhausting. I had no mature way of knowing how to rationalize or balance my emotions.

By Gods grace, in the moments of experiencing my fathers hateful words or violent acts under the influence, I have always felt a sense of {God’s} protection over my life and over my mind. There was a unexplained peace in me. I thank God everyday for his protection, and am often reminded that it is only by His grace that I am who I am in my life today. 

Shortly after Alex and I got married my mother in law shared with me how her and Alex used to pray for his wife every night as he was growing up.

She said:

“I prayed that God would keep her safe, protect her from harm, and that when the time was right that He would bring her into Alex’s life. Alex would say, ‘How will I know that she is the one?’  I always told him, ‘Everything in you will feel different when you are with her and you will know that she is the one God has for you because you won’t be able to imagine your life without her’. “

I was shocked when she told me that they consistently prayed for my protection and no harm. It had confirmed the sense of protection and peace I felt during some of my darkest moments. 

Watching Alex become a father (specifically to our daughters) has filled the emptiest spaces in my heart. 

I have made an effort in trying to be intentional about praying when God lays something (even the smallest thing) on my heart- and to pray it immediately. I have seemed to learn through my own experiences that you never know the ways God is using you in someone else’s life. 

The emotional roller coaster has molded me, grown me, put life into perspective in ways I would have never known otherwise; but…. I think that ship has sailed and I am done on that ride now. I can now accept that this is what the relationship looks like for me- and that is fine.

God saved me from the statistics of what my future should have been. He saved me from the damage I would have caused myself had I let my anger and emotions to control me. 

The brief sober moments with my dad…. I am thankful for them, I embrace them. 

But… I am even more thankful that I serve a gracious God who does not ever fail to draw His children near to him; and that’s where I have found myself today… completely thankful that God has drawn me close to Him. 

Heaven age 3

Heaven age 5

Heaven, Bethany, Sadie (sisters)

First time seeing each other in 6 years- (June 2015)

First time meeting Alex and the girls (August 2015)

Christmas Morning 2015- First Christmas together in 11 years

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4 Comments

  • Reply Karol

    So true Heaven we all have a story yours brought memories of my own life story. We have an awesome God and are thankful for his protection in our young lives. We can follow in others foot steps or spring away with God’s help and make a better life. Always thankful for prayers and God’s constant strength and grace.
    Bless you and your family.

    April 9, 2017 at 12:26 am
  • Reply Sonia

    You were and continue to be an answer to prayers. You are the perfect soulmate for alex and an amazing mother to my beautiful grandchildren.
    God has always had his hand of protection over you and through His grace and faithfulness, you have chosen a different path for yourself and for your family.
    Your blog is a transparent picture of your life and because of that, I am sure many will find comfort in your words and also be able to relate to your experiences.
    Always know that you are loved!
    Sonia

    April 9, 2017 at 1:14 am
  • Reply Bri Edgerton

    Thank you for this! What a wonderful reminder that prayers are so important. Sometimes I forget! I talk to God or about God with my family often, but I rarely set out to have intentional prayers about things like Maddox’ (oh my gosh. Is it Maddox’s???? I don’t know!) future wife and family. That’s so wise! Will and I are going to start doing that! I just love your way with words and hearing more and more about your heart. Love you!

    April 9, 2017 at 2:02 am
  • Reply Beverly

    I love my little clone, say what you want but you are. 😘

    April 9, 2017 at 3:35 am
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