Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

After Ten Years, Five Reflections on Losing Our Father



Today (12.15.16) marks ten years since the loss of my father Roger Burkholder. Some reading this will have memories of my dad, others will not. I hope these five reflections will help you remember or at least understand my dad’s powerful legacy as well as process grief in general.

Five Reflections After Ten Years:

1. I wonder…

I wonder what my dad would have thought about our family developments over the past ten years. My brother and his family moved to Australia for four years. I got the chance to travel to foreign countries four different times for missions. My mom moved out of a one acre plot and into a condo. We adopted a daughter. It’s hard not to think back on those events and not retroactively “photoshop” my dad into them.

2. I know…

I know many men in my life who have taken on the needed role of my dad from time to time. Celebrations, encouragement, rebuke, advice have all come from men in our church, community, or family. I won’t list them here, but I praise God for the wise, steady counsel and presence of men who have either intentionally or unintentionally stepped into my life. You have benefitted me more than you know.

3. Pursuit and provision of education

My dad stepped out of family life in Northeast Ohio and into college life – across the state at a tiny school called Bluffton. There he met my mom which of course paved the way for my existence and our family. My dad’s life-changing decision to go to college must have provided the groundwork for his desire to make educational opportunities available to my brother and me. I know my life would have gone down an entirely different path without my dad’s foundation of education. I am grateful to this day.

4. Normal never returns.

I want to share a brief word about helping people who grieve. Generally in loss and especially in situations of sudden loss such as my dad, normal never returns. Waiting for people to “get over” their season of grief or “move on” places shallow expectations upon wounded souls. Birthdays, holidays, and special occasions arouse the sting of loss and force those in grief to confront and process yet another milestone.

Over the past ten years, very few people have directly asked: “How are you doing with the loss of your father?” Please do not let fear prevent you from asking this type of question to people you know enduring grief. Just giving someone a chance to talk and showing you can provide a safe place will mean a lot to someone who otherwise feels isolated attempting to navigate their grief.

5. Fixed and certain hope 

Grieving with the hope of Jesus Christ has saved me from trying to soothe my own pain. A couple relevant Bible verses will help you understand what I mean here:

I Thessalonians 4:13: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

I Corinthians 15:54-55: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

These verses show the limited influence death has on our lives. When we turn from sin and believe in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, we inherit the hope (fixed, certain hope) we will live forever with Jesus. This is the clear teaching of the New Testament. God raised Jesus from the dead to prove His power over death and repeatedly calls us to repent and come into relationship with Him.

Therefore, as a believer in Jesus Christ I live with and embrace a fixed, certain hope God will set me free from grief in eternity. Why would I not trust God’s power over death when His own Son rose from the dead to give me the hope I have?

I hope this truth will guide you as you process any specific grief in your life. The hope of Jesus can fill you as well. Please use the contact info on this page or contact me personally if you have any questions about a relationship with God.


  1. Dianne Couts says:

    I know he would be proud of you, Kevin. Hugs to you as you remember him.

  2. Lisa Tippin says:

    What a blessing these words are. I always think of your dad when the hugh school Christmas Concert takes place. Many of my memories of him include music.

  3. Mr. “B” had a profound influence on my life….personally and professionally. He was the reason I became a teacher. I will never, ever forget him and the impact he had on my life and forever believe he is the reason I have such an immensee love for music. Thank you, Mr. B!!

  4. Jackie Boyd says:

    Very well stated, Kevin. I remember all too clearly the day your father died. He was a wonder man, husband, and father, and he had a positive and lasting impact on my family’s lives. Your dad would be very proud of you and Kyle for all you have accomplished so far in your lives, and especially the way you are living your lives with your families. His influence shows through you both. I can’t help but wonder at this time of year what it might be like for our loved ones who are in heaven to celebrate Christ’s birth with God, Jesus, and angels all around them. My mind can’t comprehend what a glorious celebration that must be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Speak Your Mind