You are Never Ready to Lose Your Father

17 October 2021

3.6 MINS

Jordan Peterson says, “It is necessary to be strong in the face of death, because death is intrinsic to life. It is for this reason that I tell my students: aim to be the person at your father’s funeral that everyone, in their grief and misery, can rely on. There’s a worthy and noble ambition: strength in the face of adversity.”

I wish I had heard the wisdom in his words before my dad died.

I still clearly remember the day my secretary called me and said that there were two policemen who wanted to see me. I opened the office door and was greeted with the news that my father was dead.

He had been found dead on a street in Taree, 400 kms north of where I lived in Wollongong, Australia.

From all accounts, Dad had suffered a massive heart attack while trying to make contact with his estranged sister. The year was 1984, but I can still remember it like yesterday. I fell on the carpet and began to sob uncontrollably.

I was surprised by my reaction to the news of my father’s death. I had always figured that three score years and ten was a pretty good innings and 74 was the average age of death for men at that time.


In the back of my mind, I had been trying to prepare myself for that knock on the door. Even with Jordan Peterson’s words, I can guarantee that you are never ready for your father’s passing, no matter what you do.

You see your dad’s death will open up a whole host of emotions you never thought you had. As Brian Burnham says, ‘a loss like no other’.

My grieving continued over several months of incredible aloneness and a deep awareness of my own mortality. I had a very close relationship with my Dad.

I had been robbed of his presence in my early years because of my mother and father’s marriage problems, hence my current passion for helping men navigate the rocky waters of marriage through our work in the Dads4Kids.

I also vividly remember the last day that I spent with my Dad, only three days before he died.

We had travelled to Sydney together in the car and shared lunch together while working on a business deal. We had talked and shared our hearts with each other while driving, as only a father and son really can.

Looking back I was glad we had the day together because that was the last day I saw him alive.

Thankfully when the funeral came around a week later, I was somewhat on an even keel. I was able to encourage people at the funeral and offer solace to them.

I also wish I had read the below article before I lost my Dad. Then I would have been better prepared.

Even reading this great article by Brian Burnham called ‘Losing Dad: How a man Responds to the Death of His Father’, found on the Art of Manliness blog has been a tonic for my heart.

I believe it will be the same for you.

While growing up, our fathers, whether for good or ill, are our earliest and strongest examples of manliness. Even for those who grow up fatherless his influence is a major one, conspicuous for its absence. It is therefore only natural that the death of a man’s father is an event that holds incredible and often very painful significance. When I last wrote for the Art of Manliness, I spoke to the ways in which men grieve. It is not surprising that many of the men who responded to that article alluded to the loss of their father. While a man grieving the loss of his father will go through an experience similar to what was previously discussed, the fact that the deceased is the man’s father makes the experience unique. Many men who have lost their fathers describe it as a loss like no other. They report that the way they grieved their father was different from any other grief that they experienced and often felt that the only people who could readily understand were other men that had also lost their fathers. ((Veerman, D., & Barton, B. (2003). When Your Father Dies: How a Man Deals with the Loss of His Father. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing.)) I know that I certainly felt this way when my father passed in February 2009. It is that uniqueness, as well as the short and long term effects of losing a father, that I hope to address here.

In their book When Your Father Dies: How a Man Deals with the Loss of His Father, Dave Veerman and Bruce Barton interviewed sixty men from all walks of life who had lost their fathers. While each man’s story was unique, the authors identified and described the common themes that readily emerged from these accounts.

Read the full article here:


Sometimes it is wise to prepare the heart to mourn. It says in Ecclesiastes that “better is the house of mourning than the house of pleasure”. As fathers, we need to know what we are about to face and place great store on our relationships with our loved ones.

If I can give you one piece of important advice it is that the greatest thing you can do, if your dad is still around, is to honour him while he is still alive because ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’.

Yours for ‘honouring our fathers’

Warwick Marsh


Originally published on Dads4Kids. Image by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash.


We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and big-tech censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate today.


Leave A Comment

Recent Articles

  • 17 August 2022

    2.5 MINS

    A study by The Heritage Foundation Center for Education Policy has found that increasing minors’ access to cross-sex medical interventions does not necessarily decrease suicidality among youth, as is commonly claimed. In fact, the report states, “it likely leads to higher rates of suicide among [...]

  • 16 August 2022

    1.1 MINS

    Victorian MP Fiona Patten is pushing a new bill that aims to take away the rights of publicly funded hospitals with religious affiliations to refuse to perform abortions and euthanasia. The state’s current laws allow women to access an abortion up to 24 weeks into [...]

  • 15 August 2022

    9.9 MINS

    I was shocked to read a recent survey that found less than half of Australians believe Jesus was a real person. Whatever else you may think of him, to be uncertain of Jesus’ very existence is absurd: that Jesus was a real person can be [...]

  • 15 August 2022

    5.3 MINS

    How are you doing in God’s refining process? According to Scripture, God both tests and refines His people, and images of refining fires, crucibles for metals, purifying fires, the smelting process, and the like are often used. While testing and purifying are somewhat distinct but [...]

  • 14 August 2022

    4 MINS

    Our culture pressures us to keep working and consuming. It takes a conscious effort to step back, take a breather and re-prioritise, but doing so is really worth it for good health and peace of mind. “We have more 'things per person' than any other [...]

  • 12 August 2022

    8.9 MINS

    Deciding to home-school can feel like a massive undertaking, but it is worth it. Here are some gems from a father’s firsthand experience. As the primary educators of their children, stable parents are best-placed to form their offspring, and have access to many resources today. [...]

  • 12 August 2022

    4.8 MINS

    Yes, as Christians, we should share our values and beliefs with others -- boldly and unapologetically. It may be uncomfortable, but it is our prophetic duty and also our democratic right to speak up. I hear Christians all the time saying that we cannot and [...]