Fifteen years ago today, my father “went home to be with the Lord,” as they say. Only much later did it register with me that it was Epiphany. I thought, “How neat!” He had the greatest revelation of all, seeing Jesus face to face.
Some time afterward, a friend was speaking at our church. He was a new father. Relating the details of his daughter’s birth, he gave the date and time. The day she was born was the day my father died. That did get my attention, but what really stunned me was her birth moment. She came into this world the very next minute after Daddy left it!
I had never had anything affect me the way hearing that birth announcement did. Tears sprang from my eyes with absolutely no warning. It was as if someone had turned on the fountain! I had no control. Just as one life on earth was ending, another was just beginning. I was struck by the sheer awe and beauty of life and death and how one generation passes away while another is being born.
On this day I always remember the shock I felt at hearing the news of my father’s passing. I remember the sadness that settled onto me and the heaviness that threatened to paralyze me. I remember the turbulence of the plane ride home and how amazingly numb I was to it. I remember feeling that the part of me that was connected to him had been amputated. Death is stunningly difficult to get used to.
At the same time that I remember death, I can’t help but remember the life that followed on its heels. The very next minute! I always know how old Hanna is, and I am always in disbelief at the speed with which time passes. I always smile when I think of her birth and the innocence of a newborn baby and the joy of her parents. I am grateful that her father shared the details of her birth day. For me, it is a source of comfort and peace.
“Epiphany.” A revelation. An appearance. A good day to go. A good day to arrive.
“. . . a time to be born and a time to die . . .” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)