When Laughter Is An Act of Defiance

When you finally get the news, you hope you'll be ready. You never know until the moment arrives, until you're finally confronted with the long-awaited reality. A few weeks ago, my mom called to tell me that my father's long fight with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's was coming to an end. Seven years of fading memories, of weight loss, of slow death. Seven years of decline, then plateau, then sharp decline again. Seven years of stooping shoulders, trembling hands, increasingly vacant eyes. It was finally coming to an end.

Memories of a Happy Father

He wasn't always like that. In the weeks since my father's passing, I've seen pictures and watched old videos. They've rekindled my memory of my father whole, before he grew dim and faded from the world. You can see the brightness in his eyes in every picture, the sly smile that told you he had a one-liner he was about to use on you, the ease with which he engaged with everyone around him.

He gave me my first experience of true masculinity. Whether he was up early preparing breakfast or up late doing dishes, he embodied the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility that is the mark of manhood.

Seeing those pictures reminded me of the dad I'd lost: present and active, engaged and unashamed of his sons, happy and self-forgetful. When I say, "Be the smile of God to your children," my mind can't help but recall his smile, his presence, his laughter. I miss him.

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]