Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It's been 365 days since my father passed away.  365 days, 52 weeks, and 12 months.  It's been hundreds of tears, thousands of memories, and a million "I wishes".  It's been a year of heartache that has, at times, broken me to pieces and a year of heart-soaring-laugh-with-abundance-love-deeply times that bandaged me back together again. 

When my father first passed, I remember when it was an hour after his death, then two, a day, then three.  I remember when a week suddenly became the first month.  And then, something happened that caught me completely off-guard; I quit counting.  Suddenly, the calendar didn't matter and the only thing that did was the fact that my dad didn't belong to this earth anymore.  He was gone.  And I wasn't. 

What I didn't expect was that this past week, I would start counting the days again.  Reliving the days, the emotions, the terrible sadness and helplessness proved to be an unwelcome visitor.

It began with the days leading up to my dad's passing...My brother's wedding.  A trip to the hospital.  How sick he looked, but how amazing he was in spite of the weakness his body imposed upon him.  Finding out the news.  Flying home to Phoenix.  The gut-wrenching, how-do-I-know-when-to-leave-and-what-to-do mind game.  Knowing that his heart was broken as he lay there, barely strong enough to speak. The phone calls.  His last words of comfort and love to me; spoken from thousands of miles away.  Friends driving through the night to find me and my broken heart in a lonely airport to take me home for my last goodbye.  Holding his hand.  Whispering in his ear.  Being there the moment he died.  Telling him I loved him dozens of times as he went home to heaven. 

My friend told me this morning that I would manage to get through today because the love I have for my dad is greater than any sadness I might feel.  She was right.  She was also right that, just like her, I wouldn't trade a single lump-in-your-throat moment I was there with him. 

So, with a very heavy heart, I wish my dad a happy first anniversary in heaven.  For everything there is a season--a time to laugh, a time to cry.  I've managed to do a little bit of both today--very much like the day he went home. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Father's Love

What I've learned about a father's love is, it's different and unique and special with every child he has.  The relationship that I have with my father is stunningly similar to my brothers' relationship with him, but at the same time, strikingly different.

With each of us, he learned, he grew, he knew what to change in rearing us, and what to keep the same.  He figured out what worked and what didn't and he revised his parenting skills along the way.  Being a parent now, I realize, that's what we all do. 

When that child comes into your life, you're thrust into parenthood.  You can read all of the books you can, you can talk to your friends, and now, you can even download apps about being a good parent, but the only real thing is doing it yourself. 

Being present, getting your hands dirty (no pun intended), and allowing yourself to express and show your children just how much you love them. 

I think that's the biggest hurdle; letting yourself go and loving your kiddos with all you've got.  I think that's the hardest, because that's opening yourself up to an entire world of pain if something doesn't go as planned.

But, isn't that life?  Taking the good with the bad.  The happy and the sad.  Not one of us will escape this life without some sort of hurt.  It's how we deal with it and the lessons we take away what matter.

I am still trying to come to terms with many life obstacles.  What made my heart smile today was hearing my coworkers telling me it made them smile to hear me laugh...across the building!  To still be able to find joy in life has taken a little practice, but the happiness I feel is in direct correlation to the pain I've faced. 

To hurt deeply is very sorrowful, but to understand how much love, friendship, and family can heal you, is a life lesson hard learned, but one that I would not give up easily. 

So, thank you to the man, who graced me with a father's love.  A man who had an desire to mold me into a better person and one who had an unyielding love for his children.