Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What I would say to my Dad today, April 27, 2010

Dear Dad,

Today is your birthday. This year, as with the past couple, however, your birthday does not beckon a celebration. I have no reason to enter a Hallmark shop and look through the cards to find that perfect one that would make you cry. (I always knew it was the right card when I achieved my treasured result.) There is no reason for the family to gather. It serves no purpose to excite my girls with exclamations over what this date means to me. And yet, I know there is still much to celebrate in this life.

My heart hurts to realize this letter can never get to you. At the same time, I really have no idea what kind of moments God allows you to witness there in Heaven. I have no idea what type of experiences He gives you the privilege of knowing you played a part in. Somewhere in my heart, I hope He gives you glimpses of the joys here on this earth. I realize no joy here can compare to what is there. There are so many moments with your granddaughters I long for you to be a part of. Nikelle still creates smiles on the faces of others just because she extends love unconditionally. And every time she does, the little jingle you borrowed from Sara Lee runs through my head. Jaycie is extremely shy in groups of people but if you catch her at just the right moment, she is so terribly goofy. I can almost hear your laugh as I watch her and I think that laugh would encourage her to continue in her goofball ways. Andelise will point to your picture on the refrigerator identifying you as “Papa” and, for a brief moment, I will forget that you have never known her as she has never known you. Her fearless ways would make you concerned for her safety and yet I think you would learn to appreciate, as we have, her little stunts. She is just our little gymnast and athlete who wants to be included in everything her big sisters do.

58 years ago, God brought you into this world. For almost 56 years, you had the opportunity to impact those around you. You and Mom chose one another and welcomed the birth of four children who you would attempt to pass the baton to. Now today, more than two years after you left our world, I realize how very much your life impacts me still.

After your death, I was forced to face things in my world I had never faced before. Oh sure, there were the minor house repairs that I would want to pick up the phone to have you quickly fix. There have been the family gatherings where there is no longer great joy in wondering if the meal I prepare will leave you satisfied after you’ve mounted your plate high before you sit down at the table. There have been the trips to the zoo and the farm where I find my heart aching that you are not around to smile and laugh and comment on the kids’ reactions to different moments. Yes, there are plenty of things in my life that have required adjusting since your death.

The biggest adjustments have been those within my own heart. I never knew how much pain and anger I stored within myself. It all came to a climax after your death. I found myself eating for comfort until my clothes didn’t fit anymore. My emotions continually exploded with the force of a volcano at every little disruption in my life. Witnessing all of this has caused me to do some serious soul searching. I most certainly do not want to continue causing unnecessary pain to those I love or even myself for that matter.

The question of what is truly important to me has been nagging at my soul. I do a lot of talking and lip service to those things I treasure in my life. Still, I don’t believe my actions have been confirming much of my talk. I finally think I am on the right path. There is a long journey ahead of me but with the help of so many people, and mainly from God, I am experiencing real change.

Your death has left me asking what I want my own husband and children to remember about me should my life end unexpectedly. I have come to the conclusion that I was not living a legacy that would be worth leaving behind. Back in high school, while I was visiting some friends in Indiana, I came across the lyrics to a song by Philips, Craig and Dean entitled “Will You Love Jesus More?” I’ve always wanted that song to be a tribute to my own life and yet after all these years I believe I am only brushing the surface of that desire.

You may not be here anymore to influence me on a daily basis. My baby will never have the privilege of knowing how very special the word “Papa” is. I will likely continue to long every day for you to still be here with us and sadness will probably always remind me of your absence. And yet, your death has changed me for the better – more than I could have ever imagined possible.

For so many years, I longed to live my life to please you. I desired your approval. I pined for your affection. Today, I realize that I life is more about living for the approval of my Heavenly Father. God, himself, is really the only thing that satisfies.

I am so grateful to you and mom for introducing Him to me and impressing upon me the importance of a relationship with Him. We had no way of knowing that I would be forced to rely on Him in this way. Somehow, because of what you passed on to me, I knew to cling tightly to my Lord and Savior.

For some reason, now that you are in heaven, eternity is more tangible for me. Eternity has always been the hope I clung to and even still, just differently. The promises God has left in the Bible are what I live and breathe each day.

I just thought you should know the impact your life and your death have had on me.

With love,

Trist

3 comments:

  1. Oh, how I want to hug you right now! Thanks so much for your open heart. I've never heard that song before. I am positive that if that is your prayer, God will honor it. That should be all our prayer. I can relate, in that Jessi's death moved me to think about my own legacy. Every time we remember her, I listen to what people remember about her and it makes me wonder what they will remember about me. Does my life make people think about Jesus? I pray it does! Praying for you and your family today!

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  2. I thought I'd hop on Fiona's computer and saw this URL and clicked on it. I'm not gonna read all the junk you've posted since who knows how long you've had this site, but I will on dad's birthday. It's hard to overcome sad feelings as we think of those close to us that we've lost (especially when it's our dad). I read Mel's comment about Jessi and it only doubles the sadness and frustration. All we can do is count our blessings. The kids were watching the movie Ratatouie or whatever you call it. I decided to watch it with them for a bit and heard a wise saying on a cartoon nonetheless. Can't quote it exactly, but it went something like this: If we dwell too much on the things that have past, we will miss the things that we have to look forward to. Anyone who cares for you and passes away would truly want that. I know if I died, I wouldn't want anyone to miss a beat but only use my passing to better their own lives. I'm trying to do that in dad's memory. Maybe not so comforting, but it works a bit for me.

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  3. Will, that's a good movie. I had hoped that was what I was saying in this post. I want my life to be one that impacts others in a way that is truly missed. Not so they will be depressed when I'm gone but in an inspirational sort of way. A bettering way, like you said. It's still sad but I'm grateful for the way it's changing me for the better. Thanks for reading and for your input. I started blogging back when Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Writing is one of the ways I feel bettered and freed. I love him and miss him but I refuse to let that consume me.

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