Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Losing Dad... one year later.

As I sit here typing these words this morning, I am sipping coffee and staring out at Mt. LeConte in the Smoky Mountains.


 If someone would have told me one year ago that I would be here, in my own little cabin just outside of Gatlinburg, TN, a place I have loved since childhood, I would have thought them crazy.  But there is one thing I have learned in the last few years of my life.  God's plans for us can have many unpredictable twists and turns.  Some of those plans include hard struggles from which we can learn and grow.  And some plans are just beautiful surprises that show us that HE can work all things out for our good, no matter what the circumstances.

One year ago today, I was sitting by my Father's Hospice Bed.  He had been unconscious for 4 days now.  We had said our goodbyes and now it was just a matter of his little body giving way to his spirit.  I remember reading something about how in those last days, as the body grows weaker and weaker, the spirit gets stronger and stronger, so that it can launch up into heaven.  I got comfort in that imagery.  Of course, my little Daddy, always had a strong spirit!   He was truly an amazing human being and I still miss him terribly.  But......

.... as I look back on pictures that my "Timehop" app sends me daily, I am reminded of just how frail he was.  And instead of feeling deep sadness that he isn't here with me anymore, those pictures actually give me deep comfort because it's clear he was struggling every single day, and now I know his struggles are no more.  He is with Mom, and his parents, brothers, sisters and friends who had gone on before him.  I'm sure they all gave him quite the welcome when his spirit joined them in heaven on March 16th, 2015.

I almost posted a picture of him in those last days.... but then I decided against it.  I don't want anyone to remember him like that.  That wasn't him.  That was his earthly shell, still taking in breaths, but not LIVING.  Instead, I'll post this:

Thanksgiving 2013, Gatlinburg, TN
 Dad loved to travel, but during his last years, it got too difficult to make many road trips.  This was his last travel experience.  Of course, it was to Gatlinburg.  One of his favorite places on this earth.  He loved the mountains.  I was telling my husband yesterday that I finally have figured out why I love this area so much.  I remember coming here with my parents as a child and having such sweet family memories here.  Lots of laughter, love, and God's beautiful natural artistry. My parents were happy here, and I'm so glad that we got to bring him here one more time.  That's how I want to remember him.  Smiling and in his "happy place".... which has now become MY "happy place".  And I am so grateful that we were able to find this little cabin, well, it actually almost "found us", but that's another story for another day.  Just let me say that it was clear God sent us this place and that Dad wanted us to have it.  That is why we named it "Heaven's Gift".  I am so grateful for this beautiful and magical place!


I recently watched the most amazing eulogy that Oklahoma Thunder assistant-coach Monty Williams gave at his wife's funeral.  Actually, I'm gonna post that here because if you haven't seen it already, you need to take 7 mins and watch this:



I took away many things from his speech, but the one thing that truly hit me was him saying,

 "I did not lose my wife.  When you lose something, you don't know where it is, and I know exactly where my wife is."  

 That is how I feel about Mom and Dad.  I haven't lost them.  I know exactly where they are.  They are together with our Lord in heaven, and someday I will see them again.  I am so thankful that they instilled in me such a deep faith and love of our Lord from an early age.  I might have strayed a time or two in my life,  but I always came back to what I knew was true in my heart and soul and I have them to thank for that.  

So with this one year anniversary passing now, I will choose to honor them from now on... not by mourning or grieving any longer... but by living life to it's fullest.  I will honor them by loving the people around me that are still here.  I will honor them by loving the Lord with all my heart and soul and strength, and hopefully passing on that love to others.  

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since we said goodbye:




One year ago, I never thought life would feel "right" again.  But I was wrong.  Life feels very right again..  It's different, yes.  I am stronger now.

I will always miss you Dad.  But thanks for teaching me how to be strong enough to let go of the grief and learn to smile again.  Happy one year "Angel-versary".  I'll love you forever.... Marcia  






10 comments:

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    1. Thanks my friend.... Hope to see you soon! :-)

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  2. An excellent post dear cousin! This warmed my heart today. I'm so glad I was able to visit with him on his 90th birthday. That was a great time! Peace and blessings today.

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    1. Thanks Mike! It meant SO MUCH to him that you made the trip for his 90th.. and it meant equally as much to me that you came to help me say goodbye to him when he passed last year. Love you!

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  3. he was an amazing man, in every sense of the word, happy, humble provider, devoted family man, dedicated servant of town, community, students, church, and so many others. his legacy will stretch far beyond his brief 90+ years, as his patient and loving teachings live on in all who knew him. Marcia please keep telling us those stories. his wisdom has been very valuable to me and I'm sure many others. One of my favorites, that you passed on to me from him: "Do you want to do what is easy? or what is right?" He blessed so many... his legacy lives on!

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    1. Thanks Kim! You were always so sweet with him and I know he was grateful to you for being such a good friend to me! :-)

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  4. hey! above is from me. didn't know how to ad my name.
    duhr.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, Mrs. "Unknown". I thought you were just going incognito! Ha!

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  5. This is beautiful! My amazing earthly daddy joined our Heavenly Father 13 years ago. I still miss him, but am so BLESSED to have had him. How wonderful that you have your place in Gatlinburg. God's plans are always so much better than we can ever imagine for ourselves. Enjoy and I am so thankful you had a wonderful earthly daddy, too!

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    1. Thank you so much!.. and yes, God's plans ARE always so much better!! Have a great week!

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