Today at our church and at churches around the nation, prayers and prayers and more prayers were lifted up for Orlando… My heart breaks for all the families who are planning funerals and memorial services when they should be planning holiday barbecues and summer vacations. I know from experience how incredibly difficult the holidays are after losing a loved one, having lost my mom nearly 30 years ago, and my dad nine years ago. Losing a loved one is hard enough, but their grief is compounded by the senselessness of these violent losses. We will all continue to pray for these families, that they can get through this incredible tragedy and carry on after such loss.
Today was my ninth Father’s Day without my dad, and church was a welcome diversion in the morning, a routine that helped me to get it going on a morning when I would have loved to sit around missing Dad and feeling lonely and wistful, especially since my girls are with their dad on Father’s Day and it’s just me, myself and I at home.
After I got home from church, a jumble of memories flooded back to me in no particular order, like a memory playlist on shuffle. My dad loved puttering around his koi pond, gardening, building things, delivering wise lectures that typically began with, “in life…” and working outdoors. And of course right after the happy memories came the bittersweet wistfulness: how I wish my girls could have known him! They were so little when he passed away, and we’ve missed out on so much.
I’ve found that on days like these it helps to keep busy, so today I spent some time PUTTERING, in my dad’s honor. I cleaned off and polished the beautiful heirloom server that had belonged to my parents, and as I polished it, I admired the beauty of the intricate woodworking. I imagine my dad did too, especially because he had done some beautiful woodcarvings of his own.
After I finished polishing the server, I went to admire one of my dad’s woodcarvings. There aren’t that many, and sadly, he said that the nicest ones were confiscated by a senior officer when he was serving in the US Army. Apparently he had quite a lot of time on his hands when he was stationed in Alaska, and he said that compared to the ones we’ve seen, his Alaska carvings were exquisite. I can only imagine, but I’m so grateful for the ones that we do have. And I guess that’s the takeaway for me today. Even though Father’s Day is difficult without my dad, I’m so grateful for the time that we did have, and so thankful for the happy memories.
I’ve arrived at a stage in grieving that I wrote about here, where it comes in waves, and where there is life in between the waves. I knew Father’s Day would be tough, so I was prepared for it, and actually for me it’s not just the day, it’s the whole time period that begins just before Mother’s Day and ends on Father’s Day. And I’ve survived it again this year, in part by admiring my dad’s handiwork. Looking at it now, it’s a great visual reminder that we’re never alone, and even when we are physically alone, all we have to do is LOOK UP.
I do have so many happy memories of my dad, and because laughter is good for the soul, I’m sharing a clip from The Skit Guys that celebrates Fatherhood. I was blessed to take the girls to see The Skit Guys recently, and they are absolutely phenomenal, they gave an amazing performance and they were so nice and down to earth, we were all so blessed. Enjoy!!