Ten Years

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…
photo 1 (4)

…so that my excuses were zero.
photo 2 (4)

.           .           .

Miss you daddy!


  1. Sheena,
    Just beautiful! Your Dad was amazing. He gave the best hugs in the whole world. He would (and is, I'm sure) be so very proud of you and your beautiful family and the way you live your life. I think of Rick often and miss his smile. :) I hope I get to see you and your family sometime soon. Please let us know the next time you are in Nebraska. I'm sure traveling with 3 little ones would be a blast! Ha! Love to you all!

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss-I know you still miss him. He sounds like a wonderful dad and such a blessing to you. I'm sure he would be so proud of you!
    PS You're from Omaha?! That's not so far from me! Let me know next time you come up this way!

  3. I have fond memories of your family and your dad, Sheena! He was so cool. :) I feel blessed to have known him and your family. :) Praying for you today!!!

  4. I have fond memories of your family and your dad, Sheena! He was so cool. :) I feel blessed to have known him and your family. :) Praying for you today!!!

  5. Sheena, thank you for sharing. Sending prayers to you and your family today. I think it's really beautiful you all wore white to send him on his new journey, what a great way to celebrate life! The pictures are beautiful, you have the same smile! Prayers and thoughts to all of you today xo

  6. Dearest Sheena, I relive this day of ten years ago more than anyone can know!! I understand that one should not live in the world of "what if", but I can't help myself to constantly relive days and months before this day and wonder what if I would have….... But we live in a fallen world and have to learn to deal with lots of sad things. Your dad had shared with me that he would go into the field and sit in his pickup and have Quiet time with God and just talk out loud to Him. That gives me comfort that they shared a close relationship. So I leave you with this wonderful encouragement from a devotional book of mine…. "Press on. Precious Loved ones await you in Heaven!"
    God Bless each and everyone of you!! Sending Hugs and Love.

  7. Sheena, this post is so beautiful. I'm so sorry that you lost your sweet dad so early, and I'll pray especially today for you and his soul. God bless you guys.

  8. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  9. Prayingfor you,your siblings, and the repose of your dad's soul!

  10. What a beautiful song, and a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing Sheena, I'll definitely be praying for you and your family!

  11. A beautiful post Sheena, thank you for sharing. I can't imagine losing one of my parents, I lost my grandfather last year and the very thought of it is such a sharp, deep pain. But I know exactly what you mean about the joy of there being no more suffering and the security and confidence in knowing we'll see them again—an audio recording of my grandfather's testimony and faith in Jesus was played at his funeral and we cried in sorrow and in joy—what a mix!