Well today is Sunday, and those who may have been looking for it, might have missed my “in memory of my dad story” yesterday. I’ve been a little busy, which is no excuse.
- sleeping (today anyway)
- trying to revive a dead front yard from a serious drought
- cleaning out a junk room of boxes and inessentials to make room for a crib and diapers
- scouring baby books and the internet for the perfect little girl name
- guarding my red toenails from pecking chickens
- gathering 5-6 fresh eggs a day
- enjoying the beautiful fall days
- teaching a class of 22 darling second graders
- cleaning, washing, drying, sweeping, mopping
- attempting to bring my husband back to reality from our recent visit to Colorado
- Oh, and building a baby
I went to Lubbock, Texas this weekend to listen to one of my most beloved Bible teachers, Beth Moore. Some church friends and I spent the day knee deep in the book of Luke and Acts and reveling in the reminder of how awesome our God is, and I wasn’t able to get to a computer to post my dad’s story and did not have the wherewithall to post earlier. I’m sorry, but I’ll make it up shortly.
While my dad was living, he spent some time writing commentaries and sports for his hometown newspapers, The Tahlequah Times. My sister brought me a basketful of old newspaper clippings, so each Saturday I post one. I will post them until I run out of stories or until I run out of Saturdays, whichever comes first. I chose Saturday because that was the day he died. A Saturday afternoon. Just a normal, unsuspecting one. Much like this day 10 years ago when our country was attacked. Much like the day when Jesus will return. Normal. Unsuspecting.
I had spoken with him back and forth on his facebook wall that morning, and was planning a visit in July for a family reunion. That afternoon, I was home alone standing in my kitchen with a cardboard box and newspaper pages scattered on the kitchen counters, wrapping drinking glasses in preparation for a move to a new place when my phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it because the number was bizarre. I’m glad I did. It was my dad’s friend, Jane, on the other end tearfully explaining to me “we’ve lost your daddy.” I had to call my sister, my mom, and my brother. It was a difficult day, as is days that come and go still. My dad has been gone a little over six months and my goodness, so much has happened in that short time. I miss him, and I so wish he was here to share what is happening in my life now.
When I first shared with my family that Jason and I would be having a baby, both my mom and my sister remarked how they wished my dad was here. How he would have loved to know the baby. And it made me sad for a split second. But then I remembered something my friend had told me and I had an epiphany. We all come from different backgrounds and beliefs and sometimes we get stuck thinking ours is “right” and everyone else is wrong. I have a very dear friend who, when speaking about babies, she would often mention “spirit children” in heaven waiting for a body in order to come to earth. I had never heard of this from anyone before. Although it was her belief, it was one I didn’t share. I hadn’t been taught this idea, I hadn’t ever read about this idea, so I dismissed it, quite frankly, as cuckoo. Until the day I needed desperately to believe that.
I believe that our spirits live forever. When we die our spirits live on, either in heaven or in hell. And it came to me clearly, if our spirits live forever after our earthly body is gone, then how narrow-minded of me to think our spirits only begin when our human bodies form in the womb. Of course they exist before our earthly body and of course they exist after our earthly body. Of course there are “spirit children”. And of course my dad’s spirit, who lives in heaven, and my baby’s spirit who lived in heaven, have met one another. My dad is not missing out on knowing my baby. I believe they have met one another. In the heavenly realm of which we know very little about, they’ve become acquainted. They are well acquainted.
I let my imagination run wild with this idea. Not only have they met, and shook hands, and said hello, I’m your grandpa, but perhaps they’ve played together. Maybe he’s already given her horsey back rides and swung her around in his arms. Could it be possible that he’s sat her in his lap, hugged her close, kissed her cheek and stroked her hair. Have they’ve splashed in crystal seas digging for the perfect skipping rocks ? Have they held hands and played ring around the rosey on a golden street?
Is it unfathomable?
Not to me.
Is it cuckoo?
Not to me. Not anymore.
I enjoy Saturdays with my dad’s stories because I get to hear from him again. I’ve never read all his stories, there were only a select few that he mailed to me. I’m so glad I have them, and I’m honored to share them. Granted, some are better than others, as are all of mine as well. But we live on with our words. We can impact people years later with our writings. Last week his story told about a blue and white seersucker jacket he had that served him well for both weddings and funerals. My sister commented and said I should have posted this picture of him wearing that jacket.
That’s us in 1993. I’m the one with the big hair. Take your hands off your gaping mouths. Yes, that hair is real. Yes, I left the house with hair that big. Yes, that hair was sort-of in style. And that’s my handsome dad standing proudly beside me. He was always proud of me, and told me often.
I thank God he was my dad. I thank God for the time we had together. I thank God He prepared a place for him. And for me. We will see him again. And we will laugh. And hug. And he will give me his sloppy kisses as he always did.
He loved much, and is loved and sorely missed by many.