Monday, January 28, 2008

five years later...

and i'm still here.
when i began this blog, it was to help me get through the long, blank days that kept on going after my mother died. it was alarming how i could just sit and stare and the walls for hours, doing absolutely nothing else. i could pass entire weekends that way. and writing was what kept me sane, when i could actually do it.

so it's been five years. here i am, back in the world of typing out my thoughts for anyone to see. in 5 minutes, it will be the one-year anniversary of my father's death.

it affected me much differently than my mother's did. mom and i were close. so close. we were so much more friend and friend than mother and daughter, although that is a bond closer than any other. and when i became her caregiver, our relationship grew in a whole new direction. she needed me. she relied on me. i did for her, as an adult, what she did for me as a baby. cancer ate her body from the inside, out. it was terrible. but when she died, she did so with grace and with peace. that probably sounds weird, but it's the honest truth.

after mom died, i stopped. just stopped. stopped living. stopped doing. stopped dreaming.

i was allowed, for a season, to live in a world where i stopped, but the world kept on going around me.

and bit-by-bit, i started living again. God brought purposes to my life. not big purposes. little purposes. bite-sized ones. things i could do without too much pain or effort. things i could succeed in. those purposes were closely related to people, and they were a critical part of re-discovering myself.

one of the people who had always been in my life, who had allowed me to stop so i could heal, who understood how much it hurt, was my papa. and who would have guessed that this man who had known me every second of my life would become such an important part of it?

how many girls get to be grown-up friends with their daddies? not very many, i think. i was one of the lucky ones. would i have had this blessing, this treat, if my mom were still alive? probably not. i told papa once that the one and only blessing i could think of that came out of mom's death was that he and i got to be friends.

i miss him.

one year ago, january 29th, i was on the road between kampala and kabale, uganda when i got a phone call saying that he died. he had a seizure. it was unexpected. he was healthy. he was only 70 years old. and just like that, he was gone.

my last words to him, as i was leaving for the airport for a two-week missions trip, were, "i love you, papa!" he smiled at me, and said, "mmm, i love you too."

i hope to share some stories of the adventures papa and i had during those five years after mom went to heaven. right now, my abba is with his Abba, and i have to believe that i've got two daddies looking down, taking care of their little girl.


"it is good to remember that we need each other greatly, you and i, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than most of the time we dare to admit." - fredrick buechner

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