Today is the four year anniversary of my daddy losing his battle with pancreatic cancer and entering his eternal home. It happened fast and his illness came out of left field. It still doesn’t seem real and I frequently find myself wondering if this is still just a bad dream. There remains a void at all family and life events. It just hits a spot that I didn’t know existed in my bank of feelings.
Today was the official kick off of the 2015-2016 school year! Ironically, my afternoon found me in extensive grief therapy training. It seemed a little funny to be fighting back the tears while learning how to counsel children who are grieving. One of the points that the trainer made is that it is important to “commemorate” the death of someone special. I wanted to raise my hand and say “I already have that planned for today!” We saw training videos from Sesame Street and I literally willed the tears not to flow as this puppet with blue feathery hair shared how she felt about the death of her father.
So, after the training I took a special field trip. I put on my Dad’s military appreciation game day t-shirt, I gathered my tailgate chair, I got a big cup of ice, and a can of diet coke that says “Share a coke with Dad’. I drove to our Clemson tailgate parking spot and I sat there. I looked at a book that my brother made, reminisced about how many times I sat there with my Dad- laughing, sweating, anticipating, eating, celebrating (or not!), reviewing plays, talking stats, making plans, chatting about life, hugging, chewing ice and drinking diet cokes. I read and reread a love letter that my mom wrote to me and my brother today. It felt good. Not another car on that street. I looked like a lone tailgater. But, it felt good. I don’t think he was there. I don’t really even think he looked down on me. (He is too busy worshipping Jesus!) It was for me. Just a quiet time to focus on my awesome memories of this amazing man. I thanked God that I had the privilege of calling The Colonel my Daddy. I praised God for carrying my family through this journey as He promised He would. I read the words that I blogged four years ago today…
“God carried my Daddy through the final chapters of his life. I do believe that Dad gave all of his effort to beat this disease but, it was not part of God’s plan. I do still believe in miracles even though God did not choose to heal The Colonel. I have no less faith in my God. I am not mad at Him. I do not doubt Him. If anything, I love Him more. I trust Him more. I yearn to please Him more.”
Tomorrow will start the 5th year of life without The Colonel. His legacy lives on…and it will. I continue have extreme faith in God and trust His sovereign plan. He is so faithful.
Here is a quote from my training today… “Grief never ends; But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.”
As hard as grief is – it is worth it to have known that kind of love.
(If you are reading my blog for the first time and are curious to hear our family’s journey through my Dad’s illness go back and check out all of The Colonel Chronicles (tab above) They are in chronological order and tell our story. And as always, if you want to know more about my faith and my Heavenly Father and the love and peace that comes from a relationship with Him, I would love nothing more than to tell you what I know.)