God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One year later

The fact of the matter is, I miss him. I miss my dad every single day. Every day since September 12, 2009...a whole year ago now...I have in some way felt the impact of my dad's death. Some days it makes me feel very very sad. Other days, I feel indifferent. Some days I even feel an inexplicable joy. Joy that he doesn't have to suffer the hurts of this world and gets to bask in the glory of God. Every day, though, I wish that that stupid tractor would have kept its wheels on the ground and we could have had more time to make memories for the future.

I just cannot believe that a year has passed. So much has changed in our lives. We've moved 600 miles farther from "home." We've celebrated the joy of becoming parents and given our tiny miracle back to heaven. We've all had another birthday and made the rounds of holidays. We've laid a dear cousin to rest. We had a wonderful family reunion, and have done many of the same things that we've always done with Dad--like camping at the fair and going to Branson. So many changes that I wonder sometimes if Dad would even know us anymore. I am reminded, though, that change is a part of life and he would be adapting to all of these changes along with us if he were still here. Therefore, the change does not necessarily represent a movement farther away from the time that he lived, but life its self. Life does go on...as much as we want to pause it indefinitely to the time he was here, time keeps marching forward. For a while my world seemed to stand still as I dealt with the shock and sheer horror of our loss, but now the world seems to be revolving at a quicker than ever pace as the loss continues hitting me in new and different ways.

One thing that people assume is that you're going to go through some stages of grief in an organized fashion. Like you'll just wake up some day and realize that you have moved on to the next stage. So far from true. I still have days where I honestly feel shocked that my dad has died. I still have days that I am angry, and I still have days where I've accepted all this--but there is no rhyme or reason. Is it because we have had a series of losses instead of just one, or (perhaps more likely) because I don't deal with things in the normal way? I don't know. I don't have the answers and maybe I never will, but I do know for a fact that I never never never could have predicted that losing a parent or anyone that is that close to me would have affected every single facet of my life and change not only the way I respond to things, but the way I actually think.

To say that thinking of my dad's life only in a past tense has resulted in nothing good is untrue. Lots of good things have happened that I probably would not appreciate as much have taken place since he's been gone. (This is not to say in any way that I don't wish with everything in me that the accident never happened). My dad's death has helped me cope with the loss of our son on so many levels. It is comforting to me to know that Dad is with our little boy...that our son is not there all alone. I have been blessed to be able to recall some conversations that Dad and I shared that I haven't really thought about much since they originally occurred. I have found a sense a peace that I have never known before regarding my own life and salvation, and I know that they are all a part of my dad's legacy.

On the other hand, the hurt is so deep and the pain is so raw sometimes. Especially when I think that my children, besides Madison, will never know their grandpa. That they'll never have the chance to walk with him in the pasture to see the spring calves or take a ride in the farm equipment. They'll never know his laugh or his gentle spirit. That is heartbreaking to me. Sure, we'll tell them stories and show them pictures, but it is not the same.

I am determined to allow my daddy's seemingly untimely death to make me a better person. I will not allow his death to make me bitter or full of self pity. That is so far from the way he raised me and would be a direct contradiction to the legacy that he intended to leave. I have already seen some of the ways that it has made me a better person. I am more patient. I am able to see with more clarity the good in things instead of the bad. I am able to identify those things that are more important in life like health, family, and good friends rather than careers and cash flow. I can now see things from other's point of view more than ever before. I can see the light instead of the darkness, and I can give and receive love in a more meaningful way. I hope that some of these qualities remind others through me the kind of person that my dad was. There is nothing I can do to bring him back, but I can certainly change things in my life to reflect his best qualities, and in some small way that heals this hole in my heart just a little. A hole in my heart that will probably never close completely, but is filled to the brim with love for others--Just like my dad's was.