Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Dad

The call came that afternoon.

"Your father is here in the hospital.  You need to come. " The calm voice on the other end of the phone spoke softly, but firmly. 

"What's wrong?  Is he alright?  What is going on?" "Who is this?"  I couldn't wrap my brain around this alarming piece of information. 

Again, the voice summoned me with direct and urgent instructions  in such a way as to cause the least amount of freaking out on my end.   We left immediately. 

What ifs went through my mind all the way to the hospital.   With my pulse racing, my upper body swaying back and forth in the passenger seat, I remember praying frantically with fingers laced together.  I never cried.  I remember that.    I did, however, beg.  I begged and pleaded in disbelief that we were even on the road to the hospital not knowing what was going on. 

Walking through the hospital doors, I locked eyes with my brother.  I knew.  He was gone.  I just knew.   I just didn't want to believe it. 
"No no no he's ok right?  Just tell me he's ok." The whole emergency waiting area heard my pleas. 
My brother's broken heart could be seen in his eyes.  He came toward me.  "He's gone Gail."
"No...." My husband grabbed me just as I lost my balance.  I beat him in his chest with my fists until my body went limp.  I had no strength.  My husband tells me my eyes were open but I wasn't there.  It was a hard moment for him...for all of us.

May 08, 1999.   Today in history. 
He was 54 when he died.
There is a lot that has happened since we said goodbye. 

Grandkids of his born, great grandchild too!  High school and college graduations, marriages...LIFE.

One day I needed to go to my father's grave.  I traveled alone and sat there with my pen and paper.  I marvel at what flowed that day on to paper. 
A letter from him to me...

"I think I know how much this hurts to not have a parent here on earth.  Remember, I lived the deaths of both your grandparents.  Those were hard days for me...I am proud of you my precious child....move past your grief...don't grieve for me.  I am where I have always wanted to be."

Much more is in this "letter", but I walked away from his grave different. 
The need to be there was so strong.  Now its gone. 

I think of him a lot.  He was my dad. 
I try now to think of the good things.  Like his cool whip sandwiches he made every day after work for his "snack."
Being the first visitor to the hospital when both my children were born.
His laugh.
The dirt under his fingernails.  He had a strong work ethic.  I think that is where I get it from. 

Ah yes, today is a memorable day.  But I know my dad is in heaven.  Without a doubt.  It gives me great peace. 

Is there a day you will never forget?




  1. Thinking of you. I miss my dad terribly. He died in May of 2002 at 66. How fast the time goes, but the sadness of missing them doesn't. I try to ponder on the fun memories and cherish the time we had to say good bye. Cancer sucks, but at least I had time. Sorry you didn't. XXOO

    1. Hi there friend.
      I remember your dad. I think what I remember the most is how much you adored him. He was your hero. I know he always will be. He was your "go to guy." I am glad for you that you got to spend time with him. It was a gift. I saw my dad the week before his death. All was well. I have no regrets. That is my gift. I got to tell him I love him. I can still see his goofy grin....simple moments. Those are the ones I cherish most. Blessings to you.

  2. Gail, I am sorry that you lost your dad so young. That's one journey I haven't walked yet. I'm glad there are good memories, especially that life changing event at your father's grave. Isn't there great comfort in knowing you'll see him again?

    One memorable day for me was the day I got to hold my oldest son for the first time. I counted his fingers, toes, and marveled that God would give me the desire of my heart.

    1. I have learned the brevity of life Jeanne. Somewhere on this journey called life I found this quote. It must have meant a lot to me because it is in ink on the open pages in the front of my bible.... "The wise remember the brevity of life. Exercise may buy us a few more heartbeats. Medicine may grant us a few more breaths. But in the end, there is an end. The best way to face life is to be honest about death."---? anonymous.
      That is about as real as it gets. I am learning to Trust on a daily basis and live. I love the verse in Acts. 17:27...He is not far from each one of us..." I did not imagine losing both of my parents young. It is a path that continues to teach me how I am so not in control of anything. I am blessed. Many many others have suffered much greater loss than I. I grieve for friends who have lost children. A pain cannot possibly be greater. I am humbled and grateful for daily bread and the life I have.
      On this Mother's Day weekend, how blessed we, as mothers, are that God chose us to be nurturers for the next generation. I do not take that lightly. They are mine for a time. Happy Mothers Day everyday. Blessings.