Thursday, September 01, 2016

One Year Later

It's been a while since I wrote anything here in this space.  Today is the one year anniversary of my father's death.  All of August I was emotional, following my Timehop posts of our big trip across the country while we were on vacation in Missouri, all the while knowing that on our way home, we'd turn around in Hannibal, MO and drive to 15 hours to Texas.  It was almost like watching a movie where you know the tragedy that's coming and you keep yelling at the characters "No! Don't do it!". But you're powerless to stop it.

Yesterday I had to go to The James at OSU to pick up a charger that my mom forgot when they transferred her to rehab.  The last time I saw my dad, I had gone all the way to the hotel and realized I forgot my charger and I was going home the next day.  My sister drove me back and dropped me in front of the hospital to run up and get it.  I ran in, knowing she was waiting with her two young children, grabbed my charger and gave my dad one last hug and kiss, and told him I'd see him in a couple weeks.  2 weeks later in rehab, he died in his sleep.  

I talked to him the day before he died.  He was grouchy and uncomfortable and impatient.  He was waiting on his physical therapist.  We were talking about how he'd feel better when he got stronger and my plans to come down at the end of the month.  He wasn't in the mood to talk.  So I let him go and said, "Work hard".  Well, he'd worked hard  his whole life.  More than just at a job.  His life was not an easy one and he suffered quite a bit.  I think he was done working hard.  I don't blame him.  He told me and my sister, Janet, that he was ready to go.  He told his friends he was ready to go.  I guess God finally agreed that it was time and took him home.  I like the image, though it makes me cry, that he closed his eyes to go to sleep and opened them to his mom and dad and brother and met the brother he lost to SIDS, one big happy reunion in heaven.

When he died, I began praying for his soul.  I asked God for a sign of roses that he was in heaven.  In January, I was given a bouquet of roses out of the blue. You think when you ask for a sign of roses, that when someone gives you roses you would freak out immediately.  But I just said thank you and went on about my day.  It wasn't until hours later that I looked across the room at the roses I placed under the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that I realized what this meant.  Daddy is in heaven.  I am so happy for him.  It's such a joy to think he's there with Jesus.  But why does it have to make me so sad, too? He's in Heaven, I'm on Earth. I feel robbed, but he's in glory.  It's paradoxical that you can be so happy for someone you love and so grief-stricken at the same time. How are we able to carry deep sorrow in our hearts yet still move on an be happy and laugh?  I'll never understand it. I'll just have to accept that there will always be tears and that grief is complicated.

All of August I was wondering how I could honor the memory of Daddy.  If I lived near my family, it'd be easy.  We'd get together and have a good time reminiscing, laughing and crying. I wish we could do that.  I realize now that the best way to honor his life is by living a full life of my own.  Not only living a full life, but a holy life so that one day we might be reunited in heaven. Happy one year anniversary in heaven, Daddy.  Please pray for us. 

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"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." ~Colossians 4:6 (NASB)