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Daddy, Don't Leave Me
Photo: Noriko Cooper
It was a cold, rainy winter morning in Santiago, Chile. Our entire family was up very early that morning. We were heading to the airport where Dad would embark on a 14-hour flight to New York. Dad had secretly planned this trip without telling anyone, not even my mother. 

For years, he had worked in the American-owned copper mine companies in northern Chile and then in foundries in Santiago. He loved working with American engineers. It was there that a dream was born to go and take his family to los Estados Unidos de Norte América (The United States of America). With the help of those engineers he had secured a visa. This cold and rainy morning he was making his dream come true. 

I was 10 years old and nothing could have prepared me to understand what would happen to us that morning, specifically what would happen to my eight-year-old sister.

The time came to say good-bye and Dad started to hug and kiss each of his boys, his little daughter, and lastly his 36-year-old wife. As he was walking out of the terminal through the metal gate and then onto the plane, my little sister burst into screams, grabbed his trousers and begged Dad, with tears running down her cheeks, “Please Daddy don’t leave me, please don’t leave me!”

Held on Like an Octopus

He picked her up, held her tight in his arms and kissed her over and over. When Dad tried to put her down, she refused. She held on to him like an octopus, pulling on his trousers while her screaming and crying echoed throughout the small airport. He picked her up, holding her tightly, and the tears subsided. This scene went on for several minutes as Dad struggled to pull her off his arms and body. The moment came when he had to pull her off for the last time and run to the plane. My mother picked my sister up in her arms and we all cried together as we saw Dad go up the ladder into the plane. The rain was subsiding but we could feel the drizzle on our faces joining the tears on our cheeks.

It was two years until we joined Dad in America. I think my sister never recovered from this separation. When Dad passed away years later, I stood by her side as she cried and held onto him at his funeral service and secretly said to him, “Daddy, please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.”

Every time I remember this experience I think of what it meant for Jesus to leave his “boys” behind—what it meant for him to leave them behind while he stepped into Calvary. What it meant for him to be hanging on the cross and not be able to soothe their pain and dry their tears. And when the final hour came to depart and say good-bye, to give the last hug and say the last words, I wonder how difficult it must have been for Jesus—not to mention what it must have felt for the boys. His final words of encouragement resonated in their ears for years, and have resonated for centuries in the lives of millions.

"Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together" (John 14:1-3).

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By Sergio Torres. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version ®. http://www.e-gracenotes.org/article/admin/2608

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