Ok, here goes:
I lost my dad three years ago. I was driving home to Texas from having spent Christmas with him, my mom, my sister, and my nephew the day after Christmas when I got the phone call. Dad wasn't gone yet, but he would never come out of the coma he'd fallen into just hours after I'd left and he would die before the New Year could ring in.
Holidays are not as tough for me as one might think, but this year has been a little tougher than the last two were. Memories of my father stream in and out of my conciousness every day over the last two weeks. I feel like he is here with me and it worries me. It is almost as if he's come back to wait for someone. Will I lose my mother? Will there be complications in my own recovery from a recent surgery? Is Dad just visiting?
Whatever the reason, I have to say that, although I have indeed spent some time bawling like a baby the last few days because of it, my memories of my father mostly make me thankful. Thankful for all the years I had him. He was 73 when he died and had experienced a lifetime of medical ailments that included several brain surgeries beginning when he was only fifteen years old. I was always amazed at how intelligent my father was, even more so because I knew that 1/3 of his brain was gone. Permanently destroyed as a result of the many invasions over the years.
This month I am teaching a Sunday School class that my father would have felt at home in. This week I opened my lesson talking about my dad. Here's what I said:
I lost my dad three years ago over the holidays. About two years before he died, I was sitting at his table eating breakfast (my dad was the best breakfast cook - he couldn't cook much else, but his breakfast was IT!), and he said "Elaine, I think of all of my children, you know me best. I want you to write something to be read at my funeral." Of course, I was taken aback, but the day he went into the hospital, after I had turned my car around and driven through smoke-filled skies (Oklahoma was on fire that night, literally), and blurry eyes from the tears, I began to formulate what would become the words to be read at my wonderful father's funeral. I'm going to share the first paragraph with you. "Someone once compared my dad to a “broken vessel in the marketplace.” Dad always liked that comparison, seeing himself as a quiet, humble person, largely unnoticed by the masses. I never believed the comparison fit him. While Dad surely was as humble and unassuming as a broken vessel, he did not spend his life unnoticed, nor did he go through his life without touching the lives of those around him." Perspectives - that's what this class is about today.
I could go on and on about all the things my dad taught me over the years, but I won't bore you. What I will say is this - this season, I am most thankful for time. The time I had with my dad. The time I've had with my mom, my sisters, my brother. The precious time I've had with my children. The time I've had to truly live.