Community & Friendship · Fatherhood · Healing

Letter to a 13-something-year-old from a 30-something-year-old on how to live through the loss of our parents

Dear My Beautiful, Precious Young Friend,

Today you turn 13 — and what a significant and special milestone in your life, this adolescent space of yours,  so ** for allowing me to write, for giving me your heart.

Firstly, I’m so sorry that your birthday arrives after such recent sorrow.

I too lost my Dad when I’d just turned seven, right at the point where girls need their big man, and tweens need their big fan. Smack-dab in the middle of identity crises and friendship fizzles, so I think I might understand to an extent what you may be feeling from time to time –because you and I, we’ve both lost one dearest to us.

I know that there are days when you’d bounce with life, love, and laughs — even in the midst of all this loss —but then, there’d be days when you feel totally lost, totally lonely, totally angry, totally sad…and that’s totally understood.

You need to know that you will still be fine.

Being 13 isn’t easy: mood swings, sibling fights, friendship fickleness, freckled pimples – just to name a few, and you may be tempted to skip over this phase. But this is also a sweet spot you’ve got, a wonderful moment of time to build a strong foundation for the kind of life you want to have later on.





black butterfly preaching on peach flower

When I lost my daddy, I became inwardly afraid that any other person could be easily taken away from me, my Mum especially. I became fearful of abandonment and rejection, and so I clung on to her like a little koala to her Mama koala. I was afraid that people would start leaving me, and so I lived with a big hole in my heart. I was also secretly afraid of accidents, diseases, plane crashes, wars and tragedies — or anything that might spring on you unexpectedly, so that kept me from being a happy and carefree teenager growing up.

Until God began to heal my heart.

The first thing that God did to me was that He saved me.

That’s pretty cool. Because what I realize is, life’s events are unpredictable and out of our control, but those who know their God will always have the rested assurance of the God who is in control.

The second thing He did to my life was to father me.

I know — it sounds absurd, right? I mean, how can someone remotely visible father a flesh and blood? But it’s true. He is able to father us, and is in fact, is the most perfect father we could have ever asked for.

I’m now much older, and I’ve made some serious and silly mistakes in my life. But I am also slowly realising that He is the Daddy I have always longed for, and ever need in life.  He is the Daddy always present, always available, who will never leave us or die on us, and who is able to comfort us in every place that is too raw, too deep, too painful.

And He will father you too, *promise*.

I don’t know how, but He’ll do it in a special way that makes you feel especially loved.

The Bible says that in these verses below:

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Hosea 11:3-4 God:

“Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”

Deuteronomy 32:11-12

“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”

Isaiah 66:13

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 49:15

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

He will never let go of you — remember this, okay?

Remember that our losses can drive us closer to God and not further away from Him.

And you are going to be okay.

Life will continue and your losses will not dominate, you will adjust and you’ll be stronger, you’ll bounce back in life, and you’ll know that there is life beyond death and resurrection happens.

And though it hurts, God will use what you’re going through right now to shape and harden you for the challenges ahead. You’ll know God personally in your life.

He will also surround you with people who’ll be a tangible source of strength and comfort to you as you navigate life waiting on God.

Whenever you miss your Mum — let God comfort and sing over you.

There’s no doubt about it, for the Christians, death isn’t something to fear, eternity isn’t something too distant — because our hope goes beyond this life we have on earth.

Remember Sweet Girl, He loves you despite how you may feel about you. Or about life. You can always trust His heart towards you; His unquestionable, unchanging, un-beatable love that He’s proven on the Cross just for you.

So promise that you’ll enjoy this birthday of yours okay?

Promise that you’ll take it all back to Him; the big and small stuff of adolescence and adulting, trusting and walking strong every day…

Love you,

The Older Me

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