By Victoria Roomet, the president of CARP from 2011 to 2013.
It is torturous for me to think that we, relational human beings, could spend all of this time living together, breathing together, laughing together while we are alive, but then once someone dies, that is it‐ the end of our relationship. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that this was true as a child, so instead, I insisted on trying to maintain a relationship with my father even after he passed away when I was 7.
I prayed almost every night that I could have just one dream about him, to see what he was up to and how everything was going. The dream never really came, but I didn’t give up hope that we might be able to connect somehow.
I spent the summer before my senior year of college down in Washington DC to help out with events and projects within my church; the same church that my parents immersed their lives in after they joined in the 70s. I didn’t know so much about my dad’s early life in the church, but I’ve always heard incredible stories of family and bonds that were formed in those good ol’ days.
While in DC, I went around with a team speaking to different communities, and it seemed every time I introduced myself, someone would approach me afterwards with tears in their eyes, a warm embrace, and love in their hearts because they learned I was my father’s daughter.
These experiences persisted as I found myself in new communities around the country. “You are Steve Roomet’s daughter?!” they would say, with such compassion. This, of course, would be our first time meeting, but they felt such a strong connection to me, and, often would express a desire to take care of my brother and I.
In reflecting on these moments, I began to think: there must be something to the nature of love that can lead people to feel this way. Why would, pretty much, perfect strangers, feel so inclined to care for me, and why did I feel a parental concern for my wellbeing from them? It is almost as if the love that my dad created over 25 years ago finally found its way to me.
I was able to experience my dad’s love, which I longed for growing up, through each of those people who were affected by the love my dad gave to them. So, even though he died a long time ago, I realized, his love never did. I believe once love is given, it is never wasted. Love continues to live on long after we do and can reach destinations that we may never imagine.