My Daddy/Grief/The Virus: 3 Points of Coping

Trigger warning: mentions father raping daughter

My daddy passed away the first of December this year. He’d been sick for several weeks and had ended up in the ICU. However, he overcame the virus and sent back to the nursing home where he lived. We were so grateful and excited that he was improving and getting back into a healthy routine. We were looking forward to visits and making good memories. Then one day, the workers found him gone, passed away, dead!


Not my dad!

He just survived this stupid virus! He’s gonna be okay!

No, he’s gone!

My mom passed away in September 2019. I did not experience these sharp knife-like pains in my being when she died. I strongly believe both of my parents are now in Heaven with Jesus, yet that hasn’t stopped my soul’s deep mourning!

I haven’t been able to find an answer to this soul-searing pain I now feel. In the beginning, upon hearing of his death I thought I was being cut from within the pain was so sharp. At least now, that deep pain has subsided to a lesser feeling and not as harsh. Still, I miss my daddy!

It’s so ironic; we didn’t have that good of a relationship in my beginning. He and my mom divorced when I was very young. I have only a few smatterings of memories of him from my childhood. When I was 19, a dear friend of mine had died in a car wreck, so I suddenly felt compelled to get to know my dad. My mom had always discouraged me from doing so, telling me he’d only hurt me. I had to find out for myself. I called my dad, who was driving a truck at that time cross country.

We agreed he’d stop in town and pick me up for a week of being with him in the truck, plus I’d get to see a lot of the country I’d never seen. About halfway through our trip out west one morning early, after I’d climbed in the sleeper falling into a deep sleep, I was awakened suddenly to someone pulling my jeans off. I’d taken allergy medicine before going to sleep and was so groggy. I just lay there trying to understand what was going on as my father raped me.

I made it back home safely but spent the next 30 days in deep worry over whether I was pregnant. Thankfully, I wasn’t!

Fast forward many years. I’d been going to counseling. I was attending a life-giving church, so I understood the principle written in the Word on the power of forgiveness. I learned when we chose (and it’s a choice) not to forgive but rather hold onto that pain, it’s in essence like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. How silly is that!

When I finally learned that truth, I began asking God to ‘give me the want to’ to forgive my father because I certainly didn’t want to, even though I knew I needed to. It took time, which seems to be my norm. Oh, I know God does miracles and can zap whatever situation it may be. For me, it seems I gotta walk through the process of it all! No instant healings, yet.

Fast-forwarding, even more, my sister reached out to me and said she’d found our dad. Later I reached out to him, which began a much-needed healing journey for us both. In one of our first conversations, he shared how deeply sorry he was for hurting me and asked me if I could ever forgive him. Wow….my answer was a resounding ‘yes’! Thus, we began our journey.

Now I’m not only connected with my dad but with two of my sisters. It seems my path has never been in a straight line but rather a jumbled-up mess of stops and starts. But the important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward!

At some point, for some reason I now don’t remember, he and I stopped communicating. It was a few years later that, once again, we were reconnected. And all was well. He was so accepting, and we continued to have healing in our relationship. That was such a good thing.

So now, up to this life-changing event: The death of my daddy.

As I’d been planning out his funeral where I would speak, I wanted to highlight some of the good things that occurred after our first time of reconnecting and continuing onward. Maybe three months or so ago, while at church one Sunday morning during praise and worship, we began singing a song.

Oh wait!

That sounds so deeply familiar!

I see the words on the screen and hear them in my ears.

Those words!

I know those words!

I’ve heard those words!

And then it hit me! Just before daddy and I would end a conversation, he’d say, ‘daughter’ in a rather gruff voice.

“Yes, daddy.” I’d respond.

He’d then begin saying these words, which at first [posted at the bottom], I thought was an Irish saying because we have an Irish heritage. But no, I was wrong!!

What my father had chosen to speak over me was a priestly blessing right out of God’s Holy Word in Numbers 6:24-26! He spoke this blessing over me almost every time we were on the phone together. What a miracle! What a transformation! What a most profound way to erase all those years of hurt and pain and instead, to soothe those broken places with Poppa God’s healing balm! Wow….

Only recently have I grown to appreciate what Poppa God did for me through my daddy! I was finally able to hear him speak lovingly and kindly to me, which was a soothing and healing balm to my tired and wounded soul!

Three things I’m doing to soothe the hurt of losing my daddy:

  1. Giving myself permission to feel

Until we learn that it’s perfectly okay to feel the emotions, we truly will not be able to heal all those nooks and crannies way down on the inside. Now, I’m not going to stay there in the sorrow and waller in it! I feel it to heal it and move forward.

2. Feel it to heal it and write it out

I receive healing when I’m able to sit down and write out what I’m feeling. And I do it ole-school with a pen and paper. For me, there’s just something therapeutic when I hold my pen and write in cursive across a blank sheet of paper in my journal. I hear and see my movements and know I can release those pains and receive healing!

Photo by John-Mark Smith on
  • 3. I focus on the positive memories

Believe me, there are many negative memories about my daddy yet, I chose to focus on the positive ones that bring a smile to my face. Oh, I could focus on the negative, but that’s a choice. I have control over that. Focusing on the negative is like taking poison, hoping the other person will die. It’s just silly and pointless. I chose life!

I miss you daddy!!

My prayer is that you will gain more peace and understanding this Christmas season. Make time to reflect and renew in Him. I simply can not imagine how my life would be if I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus!

Be kind to yourself during this season. Right now, many all around us, maybe even our self, struggle with all the new craziness! We are being told we can’t do this, or we must do that! I see fear all around me. Again, this is also a choice! I will NOT walk-in fear! Love overcomes fear!

Each of us must make a healthy choice! Not just for ourselves but for those around us.

I pray you will begin afresh today, making healthy choices for yourself because you are so worth it!!

Massive blessings for you!

Numbers 6:24-26

New International Version

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;

 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

By pamelarichardswoodall

Wife to my amazing soulmate, author, visionary, business owner, enjoying life adventures, a survivor of many forms of abuse.

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