After a very lengthy illness my dad Nikola went to be with the Lord on May the 6th of this year. He had been hospitalized since early December when gangrene claimed his right leg. He never regained his strength after the surgery and became weaker with each passing day so I flew to Canada on two separate occasions to spend a few weeks with him.
He was not always lucid because of all the heavy medication. The very first time I walked into his room he inquired as to who I was and I explained, with a huge lump in my throat, that I was his daughter. His eyes then searched my face very intently and then he blurted, "WHY do you look like this?" I didn´t know whether to laugh or to cry and replied, "I couldn´t have aged THAT much since you´ve last seen me!" "Oh no, no, you´re beautiful," he quickly shot back, "I just don´t think I´ve ever seen you before."
Thank God that he did know who I was MOST of the time so that we could reaffirm our love for one another. He would stroke my face lovingly as I would reminisce about the many times that he took me fishing. Since he had no sons and I was his only child he was determined to make a first class fisherman out of me. He also had me cheering for Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr and Frank Mahovlich so it´s no wonder I´d rather go to a hockey game than go shopping for clothes.
I respected and admired my dad greatly. He was a giant of a man both physically and in every other way. My kids adored him also. We were shocked to find out that on top of everything else he had cancer in his bones and that it had spread to other parts of his body. It was heart breaking to see him become so weak and helpless. Even though he was very frail and in much pain from all the other complications, he never lost his will to live and although he was not able to even sit up for the last four months he would ask us daily to bring him his clothes and two strong men that could carry him to the car so he could go home. One time, after he had pulled out his feeding tube, his wife and I tried to coax him to eat on his own but he gritted his teeth and turned his head away from the spoon like a little boy would do and once again asked for his shoes (forgetting he had only one leg). We told him if he opened his mouth and chewed the food that we would bring him his shoe, and he smiled sheepishly and replied, "One shoe is not worth THAT much!" He never lost his sense of humor. He was hilarious.
He was also a very hard worker and always true to his word. He was self-taught and in spite of only a few years of schooling he could hold his own in any conversation about anything and everything. He was very well informed, very well read and he ALWAYS had an opinion. I loved the fact that he had strong convictions........EXCEPT when it came to God. Just like most people, he had his own misconceptions about God and the hereafter. Because he was raised in a communist country he could not fathom an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God. He would laugh when I talked about Jesus and then kid me that IF there was a man who walked on the water two thousand years ago then he could probably do that because he was a spaceman from another planet.
Fortunately, and because of many prayers offered up on his behalf, he did not remain in darkness. After my mother died he met a precious lady who was committed to God. She transformed his life and very shortly after he then allowed the Lord to transform him. He continually kept telling everyone that life was ‘never better than this’ and that he wished that he was younger so that he could enjoy it longer. In the hospital I kept reminding him that the best was yet to come because God said in 1 Cor. 2:9 "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (KJV) It is the one thing that brings me comfort and lessens my grief plus the assurance that my dad is beholding the face of God and that one day in the not too distant future we will be reunited around the throne of God.
Until then, there will be a gaping hole in my life and in my heart but I will not dread any upcoming Father’s Days because I know that both my Heavenly Father and my earthly dad are looking down from above, assuring me of their love.
My other reason for writing this article is to encourage everyone on this upcoming Father’s Day to reach out to the Lord who longs to be known as "Abba Father" which translated means ‘Daddy’, implying that He wants a close, intimate relationship with His children.
He will become your Father and adopt you into the Family of God the moment you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and receive Him as your Savior, trusting in Him alone to save you. You will then truly experience the unfathomable depth and revelation of His grace and love.