Merriam-Webster says this is defined as:

First: adj. preceding all others in time, order, or importance
Heartbreak: noun. a very strong feeling of sadness, disappointment, etc.

So this is not necessarily about the first time I was ever disappointed or sad, but that moment of sadness that tops my list of sad moments. My first heartbreak. My heaviest heartbreak.

There are holes in our roof.

I don’t see them but I feel them when I wake up in the middle of the night, soaked in rain water flooding half my bed. I decide to sleep in the sofa bed… the one that rests in our sala, my father’s death bed.

I lay there unable to sleep as the leather cushion buttons pierce my back. This was the last texture his back felt. I opened my eyes, found the ceiling. He spent almost two months with nothing but this view. The silence is deafening. The clear image of my father on this very bed enters my mind. My hands trace the curves the linings make, desperately wishing they’d find his. Those hands that I will never touch again. I will never again feel them wrapped around my head while his lips kiss my forehead goodnight. My hands will never again hurt from his therapeutic hand massages on a bad-stomach day. I will never again see those hands pinch his face to make a funny face while watching television; or cover his whole face when he’s in deep, intense prayer. I will never again hold them during our pre-meal prayers, how he would squeeze my hands when he said, “Amen.” Those hands. My father’s hands. The hands I long to hold.

I can’t sleep now. My heart is broken. I didn’t realize the weight of his death until that early morning.

Papa. My mind whispers. A call to the darkness. An invitation to return.

Papa. Papa. Papa.

My mind begins a rhythm, a chant to battle unbelief, anger, and pain, wishing he’d make his presence known once again.

Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa.

The word has no sense anymore. He is gone. I am a fatherless child.

Then a voice echoes back in the depths of my brain. One that says, “Child. I am here.”

I hear my chant transform.

Papa. Abba. Papa. Abba

Abba. Abba. Papa. Papa.

Papa. Papa. Papa.

Papa. My Abba Father. Papa.

All the truth held by my heart came to life that evening.

“Our Father in heaven…” (Matt. 6:9)

I am not fatherless. I am a child of God. He is now my Papa. He’s always been. But now, it’s more profound.  His hands hold my hands. He loves me with an everlasting love. His hands heal me and wash me. He is my father. He will never die.

“For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” (Isa. 44:13)

Sleep found me that night as I rested in the arms of my Father. One day, I will see my earthly father again. Until then, I rest in this truth, my new and eternal identity.

Rest continues to come even if there’s still a hole in the roof.