past homepages

"Our Longing to Connect With Others"

It's hard to believe that we're already past a year and a half since my father passed away. The time goes by fairly quickly, but during this time, a lot of events have occurred, a lot of tears have been shed, a lot of memories have re-surfaced, and a lot of growth has been spawned.

I run into people each week who are learning to live life without a close loved one. Tithe more I listen, the more I recognize that people are looking for someone to hear their story. Losing a loved one can be a silent journey. You're often misunderstood and sometimes, cut off from those you once related to. Some, unfortunately, can't understand the intense sadness you feel and even get frustrated when you're not further along the process. However, who's to say what is the optimal way of grieving. Each person is different and each will respond to loss differently. Personally, I believe one can never experience happiness again until they first fully embrace the sadness. Sounds strange, but it's true.

The reality is that when the casket is closed and the body has been respectfully laid in the ground, real bereavement begins for the one(s) closest to that loved one. There's no relatives around, no friends to be with you 24 hours, 365 days of the year. Even in the middle of the night, when dreams of that special person come to your awareness, there's no one there to wipe away those tears.

The pain of losing a father has been a transforming experience for me and I can honestly say that already much good has come from something I once deemed as tragic. Giving hope to those who have lost hope is my life message, but this message was birthed long before my father passed away; it includes my entire life experiences, especially the painful moments. These circumstances have distinctly molded me into who I am today. And as much as I would like to think that they are solely for my benefit, they're not. Everyone of us has a distinct life message which I personally believe comes from God himself. So instead of asking what is my purpose, I ask God, "what is your purpose and how can my life line-up with your overall purpose?"

For the past year and a half, I've experienced intense moments of personal testing. Many of you have had your share also at some point. Life trials will always come our way, but as much as we don't care to experience them, they can be for our good. Contrary to popular belief, crises moments don't make a person's character; they reveal it. It's how one responds to such challenges which demonstrate the depth of one's character. All the years of preparation are given for such pivotal occasions and only God knows what is ahead.

With this memorial website, I've been very transparent throughout my writings. I've tried to share enough without going beyond what doesn't need to be shared. From the very beginning, I've tried to be honest with the process I was going through and would continue to face as the days unfolded. I consciously stayed clear of any facade or superficial niceties so as to portray an image I was not. I simply wanted to be authentic with myself and with you, the reader.

Since the launch of this project, the numbers of site visitors continues to rise each month. I can't attest to why this phenomena is happening because the site isn't in any major search engines or directories, at least at this stage of my writing. My hunch has to do with the uniqueness of the man I write about. I've known him as father or dad. He lived a life of integrity and righteousness. He walked the narrow path which only a few of us really tread down in our lifetime. Although he wasn't perfect, it was his willingness to quickly get back on track which made him real and "touchable." I also feel that the need to identify with others is another reason people come to the site. There are certainly other reasons, but these are my initial thoughts.

The original purpose of this website was to first reflect on the life of my father, extract wonderful life lessons, and then pass them on to others. It has been "place" of healing for me as I work through these life issues. But now, I'm beginning to see that others are searching and wanting to connect because they are facing similar issues.

Knowing this, I've staved off any further development of other personal projects, even though I'm committed to completing them. At this time, I feel my greatest investment is with this website. As a result, I'm continuing to develop, write, and build upon what has already been established. It has been your feedback and encouragement which has caused me to move in this direction. It is you who has given me much hope, even when that hope began to quickly fade away. In return, I pray and ask for your prayers that I can offer a glimpse of hope that is real, not contrived; practical, not abstract; and healing without unnecessary platitudes.

Thank you to the many who have been so gracious to me, and understanding when the path I needed to walk down didn't make sense. Your rewards are eternal.

We will tarry on together until our Lord calls us home.


- Justin