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The “Dad Bomb”

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 by Laurie Coombs 2 Comments

For almost a decade, revealing the story of my dad’s death to others proved to be difficult. In fact, after a number of years, I began calling it the “dad bomb.” I knew that if you stayed in my life long enough that the bomb would have to be dropped––at some point, I had to reveal the truth.

It usually came up when asked about my parents. My dad would come into question, and I’d have to tell them. “Well,” I would say reluctantly, knowing where this would lead, “my dad died when I was twenty.”

To which they would reply, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” Then the look on their face begged the question before it was asked. Some had enough nerve to ask the question right away. Others, however, waited, at times months, to get around to the inevitable question, but I knew it was coming, “So, how did he die?”

There it was. The dreaded question to which I had to respond with an honest answer. Frankly, part of my hesitation in answering this question had to do with the fact that my answer always put the other person in an intensely awkward position. No one knows how to respond when I say, “He was murdered.” There’s just no good way to say it.

And the response was always the same. It began with a startled look and usually a stuttered answer as they reel back from the weight of the information that had just hit them. “O, oh…that’s terrible! I’m so sorry!” And there it was. A bomb had just been unleashed. And in that moment, I felt bad for whoever was on the receiving side of this terrible news.

For a long time, this was where the story ended––with my dad’s murder. With tragedy. When asked about my dad, I would certainly recount many cherished memories, but when it came to speaking of his death, there wasn’t much more to say beyond the facts of the murder.

But now, there is so much more to the story. God has done a mighty work, and I no longer approach my dad’s death with trepidation, but instead, I feel compelled to share my story, for there is a newfound hope to be found in it. A hope that doesn’t end with what Jesus has done in my life, but continues to be transferred to others. A hope that conveys the ultimate truth that our God can do all things. A hope that allows us to see our God for who He is––a Redeemer, a Healer, a Comforter, a Guide. And it is this hope that tells us that the redemption Jesus displayed in my situation can extend to yours the moment you lay the circumstances of your life down before Him.

{Jesus takes our terrible tragedies and brings beauty out of our ashes.}

Do you have trouble revealing certain parts of your life to others?

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  • It’s challenging to tell people I have cancer (although I don’t think as challenging as sharing your dad’s story). My reasons for not wanting to share it are the same as yours – it makes people uncomfortable and that makes me uncomfortable. I’m so glad that God has taken your difficult experience and turned it into a story of hope and redemption that you not only feel comfortable sharing, but are happy to share!

    • I can only imagine your struggles with talking about cancer. It’s a difficult position to be in. Most people don’t know how to respond, and it’s awkward! But honestly, allowing people into your life and into your pain is a beautiful thing. Then when God brings good out of your situation (as he most assuredly and faithfully will), it’s an even more powerful testament to those around you who have been walking the journey alongside you. Praying for you, Rachel!!!