Father

Long hours worked.

Days spent at the hospital, weekends on drill and the pager that went off at ungodly hours. The pinging sounding a soldier with wings.

Last rites administered, returning home, he would make the sign of the cross on our heads, we knew nought; unaware he had sat besides deaths door.

The journey of those 60 years summed up in that example.

What is a life well lived if you have not served your fellow man?

What mark have your left if the imprint of Christ’s cross cannot be seen by those who walk with your offspring?

I can only imagine what he would tell me today, eleven years after his passing.

Most likely it would be to vaccum out my car, change it’s oil and call my mom.

He would also, like Tolkein, tell me “not to let grief harden my heart”.

So today I sit with a grateful heart for the man that walked with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grief and Joy

My father passed away 7 years ago today.

He was powerful, confident, loving and complicated.

For 30 years he filled up my world.

For the last 2,555 days I have walked this road without him physically present.

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Grief is a strange thing.

I liken it to a wound that scabs over but never completely heals.

You never know when the scab will break open and the contents its covering well to the surface.

Experience has taught me that the marking of the days and years since his passing does not lessen the grief  but rather shifted how close it sits to the surface.

I know this day is coming so I can center my focus- away from the pain and towards the joy.

I will attend a work event tonight and channel him. The man who loved the art of connecting with people.

Reaching out a hand for the greeting, I will think of  the feel of his well-worn hands.

His eyes will glimmer in mine this evening as conversations are unfolded. The dance of one topic to the next and I will be reminded of his boundless energy for words.

And his smile;

I will think of it a million different times tonight. I will remember how it would take over his face. How you couldn’t help but feel accepted when he turned your way. I will pray my smile reflects the same openness.

I know there will be days ahead that take me by surprise.

Days where I unexpectedly ache from his absence.

But today

because of how he taught me,

because of the way he lived his life,

I can find the joy.