From February 2005 just a few months after I lost my father:
It was a hard weekend – I spent multiple hours in my mother’s home cleaning out my father’s office and boxing up the business he ran for twelve years. When someone you love dies, it’s not just the death that hurts – it’s like you lose another piece of them every time you turn a corner. Losing my father started with a shock – a cancer diagnosis. Immediately, the cancer diagnosis changed him. He was depressed and hopeless. We all lost a part of him that day. But we didn’t even have time to absorb what cancer meant for our family because it took only three and a half weeks for the cancer to take his life. But while that blow was the hardest – there have been so many more-
- the first Christmas without him
- realizing that my phone wasn’t going to ring at nine o’clock so we could discuss the latest episode of LOST.
- discovering that I didn’t have even one handwritten note from him – nothing at all.
- seeing his December calendar on his desk with his plans for that month – plans he’d never live to do.
- reducing his entire livelihood to a pile of boxes in a basement closet.
- watching his dog still waiting at the front door for him to come home.
And they just keep coming. People talk about grieving and loss, but nobody warned me that my entire family would shift – the dynamics are different and I’m not sure where I fit in this new family. Perhaps it’s because I have a family of my own, and I haven’t lived at home with my parents for almost fifteen years. Still, the losses will continue to come. As my children are raised with only the memory of a grandfather – the youngest won’t even remember him. And eventually, I will get to the point where I spent as much of my life without him as with him. That’s sad too. Life will move on, whether we want it to or not.
I won’t know until I reach heaven whether my dad made it there or not. I’m not sure where his heart was, but I have hope. And for now, that’s all I need. Meanwhile, as I face the losses, I lean on Jesus – because I have no strength in myself. He is the One who gives me strength to carry on. “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Today’s update – more than six years later – I still miss him. He would have enjoyed watching the kid’s theater productions. He would have gotten a kick out of Fringe. If the cancer hadn’t killed him, the current gas prices probably would have. And I can’t believe it’s been that long.