There are certain dates that define you; I have written about them before. The date that you are born, becomes your birthday. The date you are married becomes your wedding date. There is also the date you were baptized, confirmed, met your soul mate, moved away from home, and if you're lucky, had your children. There are also those dates that etch themselves into your heart; the date you find out, "the truth", and the day your parent passes away.
This August 6th isn't the first one I have lived. I've done it thirty-five times before. But, this one is profound. This date that's passed, and every week-long milestone I've had since then means something to me. That date on my calendar will never be mistaken for just another day on the clock for me. August 6th, is the day I lost my father.
Never again will I see the passing of summer as just another season in my book of life. Never again will I envision it as the starting of a school year, new beginnings, and pictures on the front steps. I will never see August again without seeing my dad.
I was thinking recently about the hundreds of people who paid their respects to my father. And I mean, hundreds. When I thought about it, I was so proud. Proud of the man he was and the legacy he built for us. To think that that many people spent hours in line to hug us, see him, and be a part of his lasting love touches me deeply. And, to fully understand how lucky I am to have had him as my father, makes me weep tears of pride and pain.
No matter how hard we try, I don't think those of us here on earth ever find our last goodbyes. We will always long for one more minute, one more hour, one more day, one more, "I love you", one more chance. They are hidden and built deep within this lifetime and the next.
When I think of my dad, my first reaction is to smile. I truly believe that he is spending eternity in heaven. But, when I think of me and those of us left here to grieve, my first reaction is to stifle the tears, the pain, the longing, the hurt, because this is the kind of hurt that drives people to their knees.
And, then, on my knees, I find myself...praying. Praying for God to help me be a better person, mother, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, wife, and all of the other titles I hold. I just want to be the kind of person who lives her life in a lovely way.
And, when my bell tolls, I hope it rings loud and clear upon heaven's gates. For the place I want to go is the place my father saw when he passed. A place that is awesome and miraculous and full of life. One day, I hope to go home.