I wasn’t planning on posting today but then I listened to a song that I played over and over and over when the twins were born, not because it pertained to my life at all at that point in time, because it didn’t. I just loved it and it’s melody took me outside of myself. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to that song but today I pulled it up again just for kicks and it pertained to today. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you might know that my dad passed away when I was in college. It was 10 years ago today.
When he died, it was one of the hardest times in my life. I was closer to him than I was to any person on the face of this earth. He taught me everything I needed to know about love and how to love in the very, very worst of times, especially those who hurt you the most.. He was a very faithful Catholic and while he wasn’t immune to sin nor was he perfect, he placed everything he had into God’s hands and sought to be with his Maker by going to Mass regularly, not just on Sundays but any day that he could. We’d go together when I was home from college, my siblings and I and him, to the gorgeous chapel at Boys’ Town near our home in Omaha, Nebraska. While I was off at college he’d go and tell me about the amazing confession he just had with the great priest there. In the year before the end of his life, our family broke into pieces and although he struggled immensely with the situation, his faith never waivered. It’s that faith and knowing how close he was to Jesus and how he depended on him with his life that got me through his passing. We were given an immense amount of grace at his funeral, so much so that joy overtook us (my siblings and I) and instead of feeling sorrow, we were so happy that he wasn’t suffering anymore and that he was headed to heaven. We heard through the grapevine that a lot of people were really skeptical seeing that we weren’t all crying at his funeral. We actually wore white instead of black because we wanted to not mourn the end of this life, but the start of his new one; a better one. I know that you might raise your eyebrows at this but the truth is that the pain and heartache and missing him will always be here with me and yes, I cry sometimes because I miss him so much. But, I try and focus on how I’m living my life. I want to be like him. I know he’s on his way to heaven, if he isn’t there already and I want to meet him there. (As a Catholic, we believe that before heaven, one goes through purgatory. Think of it as a shower. While you live life, sin makes your soul dirty and so, before you get to heaven, you go through a cleansing or “shower” of sorts so that you’re squeaky clean when you arrive at those pearly gates. Yes, there are people who go straight to heaven; I doubt I’ll be one of them.) I want him to be one of the first I see. I want to move on from the suffering and pain in this life to one where suffering and pain don’t exist…forever! Thinking about that and focusing on walking the narrow way keeps sorrow far from me and hope right in front of me. :)
If you have a minute, please say a prayer for my family, the soul of my father, all souls, and for all those who have suffered and are suffering. There’s a joy to be had in sorrow and a hope to be found and I pray that all find it.
Here’s the song I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I hope you are as touched by it as I am. It’s “When a Heart Breaks” by Ben Rector.
[I know in his song Ben says "and you don't need Jesus, 'til you're here" and I'm not sure what his thoughts are with those lyrics but we always need Jesus. It's in the hard times however, that we need Him most.]
A fond memory:
We lived on a farm and so, obviously, my dad smelled like crap every time he came in from work. He’d always try and rub his “aroma” off on me with hugs and I always told him to stop because, obviously, that ain’t no “aroma”. Being the wise-crack that he was, he gifted me a snazzy nose plug for my 18th birthday…
…so that my excuses were zero.
. . .
Miss you daddy!