The Relief Of A Tragedy

It's quite a story. But I will do my best to summarize everything. But I promise you, it's worth reading & hopefully I would get supporters at the end.

This story is about my Dad.
My Dad was great. He was very generous, very happy, always smiling, and have a VERY big heart.
He loves listening to music (I call it "old music") Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Elvis "old people from his time :)" I'm like my Dad. I guess I'm stuck on the 50's and the 60's too.

My Dad is a morning person, he leaves the house around 4:30am to jog, hang out with his "jogging" friends til about 7:00am.

This is his everyday routine:
When he's done with his jogging. He stops by my brother and sister's house and hangs freshly baked bread by their gate. Then he prepares breakfast for us. Throughout the day we barely see him. He's always hanging out with his friends.

No, its not a perfect marriage between my Mom and my Dad but they stayed together for 38 years.
Back in 1995 my Dad met a pastor and he was saved. I was the first one to be saved, I was eight. I will never forget that day. Although I was young, I was ready. It was a odd relief feeling. I cannot explain it. But I felt.. different.

My brothers, sister & Mom didn't quite experience what I had. After all, they were very much Catholic. The Pastor understood that it's a big step thinking about being Catholic to "Christian"

Nothing really happened since then, I moved to Florida, went to school and learned more about who Jesus is. My Dad and I talked about sharing the Gospel to our family, they seem to listen but we could tell they weren't really interested.

My Dad's side of the family have this "family feud" for as long as I can remember. One day, my Dad asked me if I could help him find his youngest brother. I guess you could call it "the source of the feud" nobody really liked my Uncle, he was basically banished by the family.

I have younger cousins who disrespect him and not even acknowledge him as a relative even though they were not even born when this "FEUD" happened. But my Dad raised us different, he told us no matter what other people say.. He is your Uncle, He is my brother, it's just money, it's just a house. You can replace all those things.

So we grew up respecting my Uncle. Although we were in good terms with him, we don't know where he lives or what's going on with him. So my Dad and I went searching for him. In 2005 we finally found him. I will never forget the look in his eyes. He looks like he was about to RUN FOR THE HILLS and waiting for a BEAT DOWN from my Dad. I know my Uncle knows what he did was wrong (he looked so scared when he saw my Dad. I started laughing)

But for some reason, he just stood there. Frozen. Staring at my Dad. Waiting.
I was assuming my Dad would yell at him and tell him to apologize. Then my Dad said "Sorry brother. Sorry for taking me this long to come find you". My Uncle was confused and said "Why are you sorry? I was wrong. How can you forgive?" My dad simply answered "I'm the one who should be sorry, for not forgiving. I'm sorry it took me a long time, you were lost and we left you behind. I am the oldest, I am responsible. Yet, I left you."

Then Dad said "Let's celebrate and invite all family"

He explained to his brothers that they were getting old, it's time to let go. Some families came but not all. And my Uncle was still treated as an outcast. We were the only one's who welcomed him. I saw pain in him, I knew he felt lonely. My Dad knew.

So he told me "There has to be a way, to find peace and show them that Jesus will change their lives!" I cannot explain what happens next...

The song My Way by Frank Sinatra was playing in the radio and my Dad was singing along.. It kept skipping and my Dad said "maybe it's because I'm doing it My Way" I giggled: No wonder some won't come.

October 2005, Wednesday. My Dad woke me up around 4am telling me "I'm taking the motorcycle, where are the keys?" (My Dad NEVER takes the motorcycle he always use the car) Woke up around 8am, and there is NO BREAKFAST (by the way, it's not because I'm a spoiled brat, it was just odd. Ever since we were kids this was a routine) So I went to see Mom and she said "Why is your Dad still sleeping?" I told her "He left already"
Mom: His car is here.
Me: No, he took the motorcycle
My Brother: Yea. He just called 9:00am He "accidentally" left his keys inside the seat
Mom: Ok. What is he going to do now?
Phone Rings (my sister): Where's Dad? I didn't get my bread today
Mom: Come over, we'll prepare breakfast here (at my mom's house)
Me: Why would he put his keys inside the seat?
Bro: He said he was getting something in the seat but he didn't want to lose the key, so he placed it inside and forgot he needs the keys to open the seat! He called a locksmith and he's waiting inside the coffee shop.
Phone Rings (my aunt - who also jogs with Dad) Bro answered: Hey, when are you coming? You need to identify him.
Bro: Auntie, who needs to identify who?
(my brothers face pales)
Mom: What did your Dad do now?
Bro hangs up the phone and writes down a number.
Bro: Auntie says we need to claim him at the morgue
Mom, My sister and I looked at each other.
Bro: That's probably not him. I just talked to him like 20 mins ago. He can't BE in an accident he doesn't have the key yet.
My sister called the number and confirmed it is our DAD.

I felt cold. Walking in the hallway with my Mom. I was the first one to walk in with my Mom by my side. He had the most amazing smile. He looks happy and rested. Obviously we were all sad, crying, lost. But nothing prepared us for this.

After he hanged up the phone with my brother, while waiting in the coffee shop with his friend. A random white van started shooting the cafe. Apparently, the owner has some issues and he just happen to stand near him. My Daddy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was shot 9 times. Witness say the shooters were trying to avoid getting my Dad but since he was in the line of fire... well.. i guess they got him too.

Yes it was sad. But God was not done with us yet...
At the morgue, they handed us my Dad's items. It was a picture of US. Pictures of my brother restoring his old volkswagen, picture of me sitting by him, pictures of OUR family.

A friend of my Dad said " He went back to the motorcycle to show us pictures of you guys. How proud he is that his son has a hobby of restoring vintage VWs. Bragging about his grandsons. About you. And "accidentally" locked his keys inside the seat"

Finally. The Funeral.
Everyday, random people stopped by and was surprised my Dad had passed. They told us that days before he passed my Dad visited them. Gave them money, bought grocery, paid some of their bills (i'm letting you know now We Are Not Rich or even Above Average) we were just a regular average family. More than 300 people came. And we learned more about the things my Dad has done in just few days. The Pastor eventually found out and offered to help with the service.

ALL FAMILIES came and finally put the FEUD in the past and a lot of people were saved.
At the gate of the cemetery, his "joggers" offered to carry the casket all the way to the burial ground. It's about 2 miles.

As soon as we entered the gate it poured raining, it was our final goodbye. When we reached the burial ground the rain stopped and clouds separated with the Sun in between.

I felt like I was 8 again, the day I got saved. I did not have pain in my heart but joy. We came to realize it's not the Religion but the Relationship you have in Christ.
The RELIEF in the tragedy.
What a powerful testimony. Your father truly sounds like he was an amazing man! Although sometimes confusing and just downright unfair, God uses us in ways our human minds can't quite comprehend. Whether we know it or not or want to accept it or not, God does everything out of love, he truly adores us and would never lead us astray. God truly loves us all and when we reciprocate that, the confusing pieces of the puzzle start to come together and begin to reveal his masterpiece.

Thank you for sharing and God bless!
Tears are streaming down my face. THANK YOU for sharing that. Beautiful! I hope my dad gets saved :(

Your family sounds awesome, Jerilee!! God is just shining in your story
Tears are streaming down my face. THANK YOU for sharing that. Beautiful! I hope my dad gets saved :(

Your family sounds awesome, Jerilee!! God is just shining in your story

I don't share this story often, just a couple of friends. One friend even mentioned "It's so surreal, like you sugar coated everything, if I wasn't there with you. I'd brush this story off" They often feel sorry for me because they know I'm very close to my Dad. But I'm glad I shared it yesterday..

I smile when I hear people talking about this. Because this is not a sad story at all.
It's a reminder, that no matter how hard your life is, even if its a tragedy. When you have faith in Him, He will deliver. He can take your pain away & comfort you in ways you cannot explain.

Thank You AllieWi I'm glad my story inspired you.

Jesus Freak

Previously DanaCovert68
Sorry you lost your Dad. But I'm glad you're saved and happy in this time of tragedy. We all should never be sad that someone dies. But happy that they are face to face with St. Peter. And I'm glad you're a part of this AWESOME thing we call religion.
Sorry you lost your Dad. But I'm glad you're saved and happy in this time of tragedy. We all should never be sad that someone dies. But happy that they are face to face with St. Peter. And I'm glad you're a part of this AWESOME thing we call religion.

There are times that I miss my Dad, who wouldn't miss someone they lost? But his death was a happy moment for us, knowing he is forever in Heaven. I was very close to my Dad.

Now that I am in times of need, I miss him more. It's very comforting thinking about him. People often feel sorry that he was murdered and I remind them not to keep a grudge but learn to let it go and forgive.
It's that time again when history is going to repeat itself. I know it sounds terrible that it is my father's last moment with us but there are no words to explain God's love for me.