Funny in an odd-not-ha-ha-sorta way to be writing here again. I don’t quite know where to begin or what to say. For those of you who know me (or think you do 😉 ), you know I’m rarely at a loss for words. It’s kind of like the nervousness you feel when you haven’t seen an old friend in a very long time and you’re so, so pleased to see them that you want to smother them with a grizzly-bear-hug hello yet you’re not quite sure if they feel the same way. Does that make sense? My blog "sea legs" are kind of shaky right now.
It’s been a week full of highs and lows, laughter and tears, healing and pain, with a good dose of family drama and dysfunction added in that would do an episode of "Dynasty" or "Dallas" proud. Too bad I can’t write about that, m a y b e when I start that anonymous blog I’ve only dreamed about. Now THAT one might up the ratings!
For those of you who blogged your thoughts and prayers over the past several days, THANK YOU! Each of your words were a "moment of beauty" to me, and my family appreciated your kindness as well. While there’s a part of me that wants to publicly express my thanks to those who wrote me privately, I decided against that; give me a little time to extend my gratitude individually for the personal e-cards and emails, I know YOU know your concern and condolences encouraged me greatly. I do have to say, however, I was touched by Karmyn’s post expressing her sympathy to me (and asking her readers to do the same); that simple gesture of her knowing me well enough to know what makes me "tick" somehow made me feel better.
While I was home, there were a few sacred moments that stand out among the rest: 1) For the first time I recall–EVER–my two brothers, sister and I were alone together Wednesday night. Totally alone. The four of us. Alone. There has ALWAYS been a parent, spouse or child around (or one of the four of us was missing). I was 18 when my youngest brother was born, so I’ve never really lived with him (my older sister was in college already, my other brother was 15). When I realized this was a "first" for us, I knew it was something special, something we needed to recognize and savor. Our sibling relationship is changed as a result of Daddy’s death, the bond we share has only strengthened, necessarily so.
The second sacred moment came when I spoke Friday during his service.
How do I explain this to you? First, you know I’m a "words of encouragement" girl, so words not only mean something to ME, they’re important to me. In this case, they were the most important words I would ever utter on behalf of someone else. None of my other siblings were speaking, and I wanted to paint a picture of my father that would bring him to life, that would "introduce" him to those who attended his funeral who were friends of ours but who didn’t know him. My hope was that it would reflect him in a way that they wished they could have known him personally.
Second, it was a chance to thank and recognize the people who have devoted themselves to his care over the past 14 months (almost a year of that at home with 24-hour care), most notably his wife of 15 years who has lived out her marriage vows faithfully and honorably, when many would’ve simply given up, and my older sister, who has not only borne the brunt of his care while managing a family and full-time job (she’s less than an hour away, I’m three hours) but also helped with his business affairs (he was a wheeler and dealer, there are lots of "affairs"…).
It was opportunity to share how my faith has shaped my response to all of this. Because of my belief in a God who loves, forgives, blesses and redeems, who extends grace and mercy and wisdom and peace, we are left with much HOPE…and although grieved by our loss, death was merciful.
You know how people say "it was an honor…", "it was a privilege…." to do this or that? It WAS an honor and a privilege to speak for my father. I felt like I was on hallowed ground and I think I experienced a peace beyond understanding because I never lost my composure. I had penned my thoughts in advance so I wouldn’t ramble when it was time to speak, and the three times I "practiced" the gist of what I planned to say, I lost it multiple times…the remembrances moved me to tears. But when it was "time"….I held it together. And I truly, truly believe, it was because of many of you and countless friends who were praying for me when I so desperately needed it! That’s how smoothly it went! People were so kind afterwards, and many said variations of "I NEVER could have done that without breaking down" etc., and the thing is, neither could I! It was a "God thang" if ever there was one in my life…and I’m humbled…and thankful to have gotten to do this.
More soon, I can assure you my mind is swirling with a gazillion thoughts. For now, again, thank you from the bottom…and top…and middle of my heart for your lovely thoughts, prayers and encouragement.