Author: Lucille Williams
My father-in-law passed away this past year. Having served in World War II and following the times of his generation, “Dad,” Wally Williams wasn’t one for emotions or feelings. Men were taught to be men: one must never cry, don’t show weakness, suck it up, man up, and never put your guard down, were the theme of his generation. Some perpetuated that theme to the next generation.
Growing up, my husband never heard, “I love you” or “I’m proud of you.” Even as an adult, hearing “I’m proud of you” from his dad didn’t happen.
Just before Wally passed, we traveled to see him knowing our visit would most likely be our last. As Dad lay in his hospital bed, he wasn’t coherent most of the day. One afternoon he became clear and lucid, he pointed to my husband and said, “I need to talk to you.” Then, he asked everyone except Mike to leave his room.
Of course, we (me, my brother-in-law, and a family friend) all followed his request and left his hospital room. As we waited in the hallway, my heart raced. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I could see my husband, and I could tell this talk was E.M.O.T.I.O.N.A.L. Actually, it wasn’t really a talk because Mike didn’t say much, he mostly just nodded as tears rolled down his face. At the close of the talk was a hug.
When we all returned to the room, Dad was no longer lucid. It was like he became aware just to have this talk.
Not long after, he passed on to heaven.
It wasn’t until weeks later that I learned his dad had told him how proud he was of him during their time of what I like to call “the final blessing.” Not much different than Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 27:26-29), Jacob and his 12 sons (Genesis 49), and David to Solomon (1 Kings 2:1-4), where a father gave his final blessing.
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.” Hebrews 11:20-21
There’s significant meaning in a blessing from a parent, passing on permission and authorization to prosper and succeed, and then being a blessing to others. Being a parent who lavishes praise and confirmation is giving one of the best gifts a child can receive—no matter what age that “child” is.
For some, holidays like Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Thanksgiving come with great sorrow and sadness as the loss of a loved one is remembered. Let us not forget that with that sorrow comes blessing. Blessing for love once received. Blessing for what we are now able to pass on to others. Blessing for love.
Letting our children know how much we love, respect, and are proud of them will carry on from generation to generation. Don’t wait for the last moment to let your kids know how much you love them and are proud of them. It’s okay to be emotional, especially when it comes to our children.
Be lavish with love.