My dad died before he could walk me down the aisle.
This was the first thought that came to my heart when I heard the words, “Daddy died,” from my mother's lips. There would be no father-daughter dance at my reception, no proclamation of, “Her mother and I do,” when the priest asks, “Who gives this woman away?” He was gone, and my heart went numb in a single breath.
The days that followed were filled with picking out a plot, digging through photos for a slideshow, and selecting songs and readings for his funeral Mass. The days sped by like a pointless music montage in a movie and then paused to a frame-by-frame, slow motion the day of his funeral.
In my entire life, I have never felt closer to the Lord than that day. Standing next to my mom, walking behind my father’s casket, I fully comprehended that my dad was, in fact, walking me down the aisle, not to my earthly husband, but to my heavenly bridegroom, Christ.
As his body approached the altar, I reflected on how he laid down his life for my family so we would know Christ’s eternal love. Standing beneath the cross, I recalled all the sacrifices he made for us, always unspoken, frequently unnoticed. Looking at the community assembled, I saw the village my father and mother surrounded us with as we grew up.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18)
The Lord was so close to me that day I celebrated my father’s life of holiness and prayed for his soul to be received into eternal rest. Just when we least expect the Lord to hear our cry, He listens. No childish tantrum or hysterics are necessary; no tear even needs to fall down our cheek. He provides refuge in the storm while the storm rages. In moments when we least expect to feel Him near, He remains close, close enough to hear His heartbeat when ours feels like it will never beat again.
Are you suffering a broken heart? Take a moment to stop by the Adoration chapel. Trust in Our Lord's love for you and His passionate heartbeat for yours.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-sized heart for hospitality. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen, International, and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, she is either in church, spending time with family or friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk. You can find out more about her here.