I don't remember a whole lot about November 11, 1988. What I do remember is the image of leaving the casket that contained my 37 year old father's body sitting alone in the rain as the funeral procession departed the cemetery. The internment had to be delayed because of the amount of rain that day. Being so overcome with grief it was extremely difficult for me to tell or even recall how badly it rained because I was crying so uncontrollably. The relationship I had with my dad was a very close one. When I look over old photos of he and I, it's very apparent of the connection. Those weren't posed photos. They really showed how I felt about him.

When he would drop me off at school as a kid it would pain me to see him leave because I loved him so much and I would cry but would do my best to fight back the tears so he would think I was a big boy and as the years went on he and my mom would split while my sister and I were very young. I still felt strongly connected. The pain I felt whenever we separated never stopped. Even as a teen walking into manhood, I was crushed whenever I had to leave him.

The time we would spend just talking about life stimulated my thinking and he was always very optimistic about things, always loving and encouraging to us as well as others. He was all the things I hoped to be; tall, smart, funny, good-looking, loving, caring and talented. One of the greatest gifts he gave to me was his transparency. A perfect man he wasn't. He told me of mistakes, his vices and I could see the pain in his eyes as he shared those things with me and I hurt for him. He may have wondered if I'd lose respect for him. I didn't.. I loved him more. So if you can try to imagine what that pain must've felt like leaving him physically for the last time. I'd thought I would never recover from that loss...

In the ensuing years following my father's death, life would have its share of ups and downs for me and at one glorious low point I found GOD. HE had been walking with the whole time I just didn't know it or recognize Him. I felt as if I had made peace with losing my dad and did my best as with the rest of my family to move on. About 10 years ago I began to feel a prodding to go to my father's gravesite. I had not been there since we laid him to rest and really didn't feel a need to go. It was too painful but this was 18 years later. Finally, I relented and decided to go on Father's Day that year. I called my grandmother to find out where I could find him. I didn't have a clue. It didn't really matter to me before then.

She gave me the information and off to the cemetery I went. For some reason I was under the impression that the cemetery was way out when it was merely a 15 minute drive from where I currently reside. I searched the area she instructed me to look in until...I saw it, Alvin Jerome Frazier. I almost fainted for the first time. Seeing my name on a headstone was startling.

Here's where things get interesting. I started conversing with my dad about my life and what all had happened since he left us. I was talking aloud because I was alone and every time I would attempt to say DAD LORD would come out instead. This happened throughout that visit. Literally every time. I was dumbfounded for I KNEW I was thinking about my dad ALVIN not the LORD.

I sat in my truck thinking about what just happened and I began to remember how God had placed people in my life after my dad passed who were like father figures to me but after knowing HIM I relied so heavily upon HIM for guidance and direction that ultimately HE become my father so much so that the very thought of the endearing term DAD as it related to my earthly father whom I loved and adored automatically defaulted to HIM who created me in the heavens before I arrived to my father and mother.

Father's Day is always a little somber for me because I miss my dad so and at times I feel fatherless but I reflect on that awe-inspiring experience in that cemetery that once brought me extreme pain 28 years ago and 10 years ago gave me an unspeakable joy of just how much Jesus loves me. SO for any of you feeling down today because you didn't know your dad or lost your dad know that the father of all LOVES you and has YOU in mind always. "HE will be a father to the fatherless..." Psalms 68:5.

Happy Father's DAY to all the wonderful fathers out there. Please remember its more than just financial support that counts its your presence.

ONE LUV

Al

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