Saturday, November 21, 2009

A new credo

I'm ready for life to begin again. Not that it ever stopped. When Dad died last Saturday morning, it seemed as if we were wrapped in a little warm cocoon. Our grief and the realization that he's whole again held us, as a family, together. Until someone you love dies, you never quite realize what goes on behind the scenes. We all took the time to be together and soak it up. Then reality hits, and there's a funeral to plan. Emotions run on high gear and you just go and go until you're ready to collapse. My daughter was able to fly home from college in Florida to be with us. In the days before, as Dad was nearing the end, I just wanted her to walk in the door so I could give her a hug. There's something about wanting everyone near. We can let our hair down, and just know, that no matter what happens during these times, that love is never far.

I will miss my dad. Even though we never spent tons of time together, I knew he was always there. His seat in the front row at the Perry Reese Center will seem extra vacant this year. He didn't go to all the games last year, but the seat was always there waiting for him like an old friend. Even at his weakest, he was at family events leading prayer or a song. Ready as ever with a sarcastic remark to make us laugh. Most of the grandkids remember him poking them with his cane --- my sisters and I remember the large knuckles rapping us on the head!

We never shared alot of words, but we shared the same interests. As a young child, basketball was a way of life. Tuesdays, Fridays, and some Saturdays meant games. We scoured every end of the neighboring counties, traveling near and far. That tiny gym at Jewett-Scio, the drive to Wayne County's Northwestern, the curvy drive to East Knox, and I could still probably drive to Lakeland (which is no more!) if I had to. He taught me to be a faithful not a fair-weather fan. Cleveland fans know this, as did Hiland's fans in those lean years. We love our Indians, and my love of the Browns is legendary. I have to admit I don't watch them as much as I did in the past, and that's not because they are plain awful. Life, kids, and a husband who hates football did that to me! I get as many games in as I can. We were never told we couldn't play something. Volleyball, basketball, softball, track. Whatever we did, mom and dad supported us. Even when I quit basketball after my freshman year. Dad told me this, "I would much rather see you happy. I support you." My dad never had alot of words, but that stuck with me. I'm sure he was disappointed. He used to come out to pick me up from practice, and watch us. Abe Mast was my coach, and they would chat on the sidelines. He helped me perfect my foul shot.

Dad was never afraid of life. He never cared what people thought of him or what he did. He said what he wanted, embarrassing or not. He could talk to anyone and their brother and make them feel like they were his best friend. Today I'm choosing to live my life out loud. To not be afraid or stand in a corner. I will not hide what I love, or make excuses for the way I live. I will put out front what I want to people to see from me --- whether they like it or not. Most of all, I will learn to laugh at myself -- life is too short to be too serious. This is me. Thank you Dad, for being an example. It took me 41 years and your passing to see this. Sing me an extra song, Dad. Your strength has made me strong!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A poem

A passage that goes to my heart at this time ....

I'm standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She's an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky comes down to mingle with each other. And then I hear someone at my side saying, "There, she's gone."

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she's gone, " there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

I love you, Dad.