Fathers play an important role in our lives; let's take a moment to say thank you.
Since my father died a little more than a year ago, I’ve come to appreciate more all the other fathers in my life. At a time when we hear so much about “toxic masculinity,” it’s good to acknowledge those men who play such an important role in the lives of their families and everyone they influence.
One of those men is my husband, the father of our son and the best partner God could have given me. When we fell in love, I admired his attentive love for his own parents, and I already imagined him as a loving and exemplary father. Today, with our son, I see his exceptional dedication, and this makes me love him beyond measure.
It was from him that I received the saddest news of my life—that of my own father’s death—but it was also he who consoled me and supported me, shared in my sorrow, and was a compassionate companion. The way he cares for me is almost paternal, and that transmits a feeling of protection and security that helps keep me standing tall and confident in my own decisions.
Another father whom I love very much is my brother, who is 9 years older than me. Some of my earliest memories are of him taking care of me when my mother was attending to domestic duties. When I was 10 years old, he noticed my passion for literature, and took me to a huge library in our city: an experience that I carry with me as a watershed moment in my life.
When I was old enough, he was also the one who patiently taught me how to drive. The years passed, and he became a father. Whenever I saw him playing with his children, I’d remember when we used to play together and how caring he was with me. Today, one of his daughters is already a mother, and it’s wonderful to behold the love he has for his grandson.
Nearly 10 years ago, I received another father: my father-in-law. As soon as I met him, I felt his care for me and his preoccupation that I be safe and well fed. I was quickly welcomed as a member of the family, and despite the cultural differences that separate us—he’s Colombian and I’m Brazilian—we communicate perfectly, because love is a universal language.
Talking about fathers, I cannot fail to thank the greatest Father of all. After all, it was God who gave me the gift of life, and of all the special people whom I have the pleasure to live alongside and to love. God who blesses me daily with His grace and with health, and who fills me with faith and hope whenever I need it.
It’s with God’s help and with that of all of these fathers that I manage to compensate for the void left by my own dad, and in this way, remember him with affection more than sadness.
That’s not to say I’m not sad when I think of him, because I do miss him, but if I weep, it’s just a reflection of all the love and gratitude I still feel towards him. I’m comforted by the hope that my beloved father is resting in peace, in the loving embrace of the Eternal Father.
Let us pray for all the fathers in our own lives and in the world, that God the Father will teach them and support them with His grace as they carry out their often challenging vocation as fathers and husbands.