He’s Become a Memory…

I’m learning that one of the strangest… Yet saddest things about death is the fact… Well the fact that my dad has become a memory…

He’s so far in the past now… So frozen in time… Held within the frames of photos and thoughts…

And it’s just sad…

Sad and altogether weird…

Because when I look at life now… At all of the life he’s missed out on… Well it hurts in a way… But it’s honestly just sad…

And I guess this is just part of the process of life… Of death… Of having a close loved one die…

That all of a sudden they’re so far behind… So many days, weeks and moments in the past… That well they become a found memory…

After my dad died.. My grandmother told me that, “you’ll soon forget about the bad times… The hard times.. The sickness… And you’ll just choose to remember what was good”…

And that’s where I find myself now… I’m no longer bitter and angry that he’s gone… I’m no longer left in tears because he’ll never return… And I rarely see my mom and sister filled with grief…

Because life has continued to carry on… And we’ve just simply choosen to hang onto the memories of him that made my father my father…

And I’m sure I’ll have more moments throughout life that remind me how much I hate that he’s gone… I already hate watching people I grew up with have kids… Seeing their kids with their dads… Because my dad will never be a grandfather… Something he wanted so much… Something he would have been so good at…

Instead he’ll be a memory to me… Withheld in my stories to my husband and children… He’ll be a memory to me like my mom’s father was a memory to her… I only know my grandfather through pictures and stories that I’ve been told…

And I just hope that I can represent my father well… That I can truly encompass his life through my precious memories of him…

My Tale of Two Fathers…

As I wander with stillness… I’m learning something powerful…

When I was a kid, my mom always told me, “the way you treat your earthly father is how you treat your Heavenly Father. And visa versa…”

At the time she was trying to instill proper respect towards both of my fathers into me…

Yesterday…. This truth my mom constantly spoke into my life was brought to my attention…

And that’s when I realized something… My relationship with my father was filled with areas of closeness…. But the foundation was built on fear, anxiety and constant worry… He would throw his worries and fears for me and others onto me…

And it wasn’t a good feeling… Yet it was all I knew…

So… As I’ve been allowing my Heavenly Father to become my only father… Well I’m continuing to learn… The things he “throws” on me are good things…. Love, peace and joy…

Nothing that has to do with the shortcomings and downfalls of life…

And I’m sure, if you’re like me, you’d agree that love, peace and joy are so much better than fear, anxiety and worry…

The problem lies in my ability to accept what my Heavenly Father is giving me…

Because…. Like my mother told me… I’m treating my Heavenly Father the way I treated my earthly father… And wrapped inside of what they both gave and continue to give… Well is a certain fear…

A fear of fear, anxiety and stress…

So… I’m challenged in a way… To simply accept all good things that flow my way… But to accept them with a heart of faith and peace… With stillness…

Because… Unlike my earthly father… My Heavenly Father has no intention of causing me to feel afraid of become stressed….

And in this simple truth… I believe it will cause me to just live a simpler life… Standing firm on the faith that my Heavenly Father loves me… And will continue to show up and provide when I need him the most…

An Open Letter to My Father…

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I feel like there’s so much to say… But at the same time I feel like there’s nothing to say…

Because death still sucks… A lot… But then I look and it’s been such a blessing…

And we’re approcehing a second Christmas without you… And you’re missed so much… But the difference is… Well, I can’t really feel how much I miss you anymore… But mom can… Mom feels deeply everyday… And grief experts say that means the love you both had for one another was deep… Deep and unconditional…

I don’t really cry anymore… I did cry three days ago though… Because, since your death, no man has really stepped up and checked on our family as a whole… Like continuously… No one has basically tired to be you…

And I think that’s ok… I’m glad no one is trying to take your place… But then at the same time… Well it hurts to know that we are… For the most part… Alone.. Without a male figure in the flesh…

But then I’m so thankful for God… For Holy Spirit… For their kindness and love… For their ability to fill in gaps… For God’s ability to be a father and a husband… For Holy Spirit’s ability to be a counselor and mentor…

Honestly dad, I don’t know anyone that could actually lead our family through this life altering situation… I don’t believe there is a human alive capable of doing that… So I am so very grateful for God’s blessings and his ability to be solid in our lives through all of this…

Plus, life just seems to move a long… Day in and day out… I feel like I just move farther away from you… My life is changing… It’s good… It’s something you would be proud, excited and joyful about…

And then there’s something else… Because it’s something that might seem a little out there… But when miracles become the theme of 2016… Well I’m believing that…. That all things work together for good here on earth… And in Heaven… Because I believe there’s resurrection power coming…

And dad… Within that… Well I believe that it’s possible to see you again… On the earth… Here… And it’s not a thought I hang on to… But it is a thought I have…

It’s a thought I believe in just as much as I believe in God and his goodness… It’s a moment that I believe could become a reality… Just like the moment we all watched you take your last breathe…

So… within all of the grief… All of the grief that mom mainly feels… Well please know that you were and still are deeply loved by so many… That the impact of your life and death is still felt in the hearts of those that cherish you… And that you are still so respected and admired…

And if God ever decides to resurrect you… Because I believe this would be an end time miracle… Well I’ll just wait patiently… Wait and live and love and enjoy the ride of life…

Because there’s so much goodness inside of each day… And I’m just so blessed to experience it all… To just live and be alive…

Ring Regretfulness…

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Being home means I am faced with reality… Meaning… I can’t ignore the fact that my dad is dead and my mom has been left with everything… Including a house full of their things…

So… I find myself here… In Shreveport… Helping mom make her way through… Well her life…

And I honestly haven’t had a clue how this would go… I haven’t known what to do at all.. Up until this point I’ve basically told myself and others that my nervous and anxious and just left in the dark on how to handle someone’s things when they’re gone…

And so mom decided we should start in dad’s office… Which might be the most difficult place because those are his things… His business… His moment to moment life was basically contained inside of that room.. But she wanted to start there… So… I didn’t argue…

Life and death are interesting…. When you’re here… I feel like you don’t think about being gone one day… So caught up in the moment, we move from one place to the next…

But I’ve noticed so many things that make the absence of a person standout so well… And it’s more than them not being there to welcome you home…

For me… for me it’s been smelling toast for another room and thinking for a split second that my dad is in the kitchen making something to eat…

Or waking up hearing the television and coffee pot knowing that dad is sitting on the couch…

Even sitting in his office had me thinking he would be home at any moment…

But then there have been the moments that remind me that he’s not here… Like seeing medical bills and funeral information… Or seeing that a house hasn’t been built in his name in a year…

Hand writing lives on after someone is dead… His is everywhere… Scribbled all over his note pads, boxes and things… It doesn’t disappear when the person is gone… Sure it unique to the writer… But it’s always there…

And I think the moment that caused me the most grief was stumbling upon 6 University of Alabama ring order forms…

Before I graduated the school started sending out reminders for rings… And dad called me everyday for weeks… And he’d say, “Come on Amanda, you should have a ring. You need a ring. You are graduating from the University of Alabama… and you need a ring.” My answer would always be the same, “no dad… I don’t need a ring. I don’t wear my high school ring. They are a waste of money.”

And of course he would banter back with things like, “But what you’re in a job interview one day and someone sees that ring?! It’s a real conversation starter. You know?! It would say a lot about you.”

But I was so set on what I thought and told his $400 was too much for something that would sit in a jewelry box…

And since that moment… Well I’ve thought about those conversations a few times… Halfway wishing I had one… But it wasn’t until I found 6 advertisement fliers that I lost it…

I just started crying… More like sobbing…

Because the fliers weren’t together… They were strung throughout October-December 2012 paperwork… Meaning my dad really wanted me to have a ring…

And when my mom saw me crying she asked why… And when I told her… Well she followed with “yeah your dad really wanted you to have one of those. It was a big deal to him since he didn’t go to college.”

And in that moment I felt myself filled with guilt… Sadness… Grief… Regret… I think it’s the first time I’ve felt regret over the loss of my father…

And each time I came upon a flier I cried more… Wishing I had just let him send the $400 on something that meant so much to him…

He did get me a huge frame to place my diploma in though… Which now I realize was such a big deal for him… For me to have a gift that displays my education completion… Since he never had that…

But I guess without moments like that… Without moments of regret… Well life won’t be life… It wouldn’t have these thoughts that say, “Really? really?!?! I really acted like that?!?”….

Regret is part of death… Part of the end of something… Part of realizing that you’ll never be able to go back and do something again… It’s a teacher… I being that reminds you that the decisions you made may not bring joy in the present…

And I guess I just have to move forward… I can’t really allow it to bring me down…

However, I did look at rings last night… Just out of curiosity… Thinking for a moment… Well I could always buy one for myself… But then it’s not the same at all… Even though I’d like it to be…

So I guess I’ll move forward and let that be… Sure I’ll discuss it from time to time… It’s a moment I wish I could take back… But I can’t… And that’s just another reason life is just life… And we should just live…

I should and will choose to just live…

Too Young

It’s sad to think about mom being alone… It’s sad to hear her talk about selling our home… It’s sad to hear her say she’s going to downsize and get rid of things….

It’s sad because… Well… Because this shouldn’t be happening…. This shouldn’t be happening at all….

Dad was too young… Mom is too young… My parents were supposed to grow old together… They were supposed to have grandchildren to together… My kids were supposed to call them grandparents…

And I hate the thought of mom getting rid of things… Dads things… Their things…

And I know they’re just things… But couples are supposed to grow old together… Especially when you’ve been married for 30 years…

It hurts me to know mom and dad built a life together… A family together… A home together… And now… Well now it’s been disrupted…

Now mom won’t live out the rest of her life with dad… And dad won’t get to see his grandkids…

Mom said she was looking forward to growing old with dad… And I just hate that life for them… For all of us has been disrupted so abruptly..

I hate that my parents won’t be able to grow old together…

It just feels so unfair…

And I don’t like to hear my mom cry… Because it’s just so wrong… It hurts me… But it’s reality… My reality… Her reality… Our reality right now… And we just have to live in it…

And I know one day it will get better… That our hearts will continue to heal as we live… But in this moment it sucks… And I hate it…

I’m Happy Dad

IMG_1736.JPG the past few days have been a busy blur… and in the midst… well… i think about dad and then the thought is usually gone so quickly…

it wasn’t until yesterday… Yesterday when i was sitting in the theatre… seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway that i got emotional… and i missed dad…. i missed him so much….

and i guess it was the fact that the lead charater was at her father’s grave singing a song…. that’s what made my emotions run a little bit…

and all of a sudden everything started rushing through my mind so quickly… the death… the visitation… the funeral… and the grave sight service…

they were all right there and so vivid in my mind… and i was reminded of the fact that life has been such a roller coaster of ups and downs this year… and how… though i’ve had an incredible year… well… my dad still died… he still died quickly and unexpectedly…. and he’s not here today at all…

and i feel like those emotions are still so raw and real… because they hit me at the most unexpected times… and i always feel sad… sad and sometimes disappointed… and i just don’t know what to do in moments like this… so it’s best for me to just allow them to pass… and to move with them as they come…

so if i could say something to my dad right now… well… i would tell him that i miss him terribly… that it’s gotten easier with the passing of time…

With the scuffle and scurry of my life I don’t think about him as much as I did before… Something does remind me of him everyday… But it’s not a constant pang of pain…

Honestly… The rawness of it all is just buried beneath my current thoughts and emotions…

But I wish I could tell him how life continues to open up to me… How I continue to live, learn and love… How I continue to pursue what I want by pursuing what’s in front of me right now…

And dad… Well, I honestly don’t know where I’m going next… I don’t know how life will open up to me next… And I’m not secure in the place I’m living or the job I’m in… Because it could all change at any moment…

But I do continue to become secure in myself… And I do continue to gain the confidence that my life requires me to have… And sometimes the growing pains are… Well growing pains… But gosh I feel like I’ve become so successful at just doing life and being here in the moment…

And I wish I could share these things with you…

A year ago… Well a year ago I was a miserable mess… And I didn’t know if I’d ever make it… To this place of happiness… But I’m here… And you did always believe in me so much… And I’m so grateful for that fact….

And though this year has been tough… Well… It’s been amazing…. And I just want you to know that I’m happy…. I’m happy with myself… With my life… With the place I am…. I feel content… And I feel at peace…

And I just want you to know…. All of the time you invested into worrying about me just being happy… Well I am…. I’m happy and I’m grateful that through the worries… Well was a father who cared so much….

And I just love you dad…