Monday, April 09, 2012

hey, dad

it's been a year today since you went on to heaven. so hard to believe that that much time has passed, but it's easier to comprehend when i look at some of the last pictures we have with you and davis together. back last january at his christening....
and then at the last family lunch that we had all together, two weeks before you passed away.
we knew you were sick, and i guess we had always hoped you would be able to squeak by again--doctors scratching their heads, not quite sure what happened but discharging you home to us nonetheless. how grateful i am to know that you are whole, healthy, in your heavenly form not experiencing pain or suffering. looking back on some of the pictures that we displayed at your service last year, it's easy to think of you that....young, vibrant, energetic.
i've done a lot of reading about heaven and learning what it could be like for you up there. heaven is for real was a huge source of comfort for me, and that's why it's easy to imagine you in you like that. i see parts of me in you, parts of alan... and what's been fun lately is to look for pieces of davis in your baby photos as well.
hasn't he been fun to watch growing up? oh, he's so smart, dad. i like to imagine that you get to see snippets of our days--little video clips of words he's learned, funny moments we've had and those big milestones he's hit over the last 12 months. 
and it's fun to imagine what he'll get into as he grows older. looking at the pictures of you as a teenager, we get an idea. i got to hear a lot of great memories from the friends and family that came to your memorial service. i even got to meet the young woman from this photo--
and she shared stories about your families traveling together and going to your middle school formal together. those memorial services were full of mixed emotions--missing you, trying to figure out the logistics of everything--but also how we would move forward over the next few weeks and months.
and then there were lighthearted moments--laughing at some of your antics as a high school or college student and meeting friends who could talk about those days with a smile. enjoying time together with everyone, in combinations that we hadn't seen since my and alan's weddings.

but then we returned to the "real world." and some days were harder than others, but for the most part...we managed. thank goodness for davis, who kept us on his schedule. thank goodness for our friends and family who were there to care for us and check in on us. and thank goodness for the routine of our lives pulling us back into what we needed the most--structure. support. normalcy. except for that missing role that you played.
i do miss our conversations, particularly as we've gone through the first year of parenting. i would love to hear your perspective, and your memories of what it was like as a first-time father yourself.
i know you would love to hear about my new job and the students i get to work with. it's amazing the young people i've gotten to meet. there are several i work with that have experienced recent deaths of a parent, too, and i feel like they walk into my office specifically for a purpose. we share the knowing glances, the exchanged apologies and sympathetic nods, but with every session focused on someone else's grief and loss...i work through my own a little bit more. 

we don't have any big plans for commemorating today. a lot of my (new) friends don't know, and i imagine a great number won't remember the date. honestly, i had to go back and look it up (forgive me--i knew it was 6 or 9, but just couldn't remember which one.) and then, knowing it would be sometime around Easter, i kinda hoped for a symbolic date. good friday--a day of mourning and remembering, or maybe Easter sunday--a day of celebration and hope.
but here we are, the monday after Easter. a regular work day. a reminder that life goes on, and it has gone on for the past year. there are days that have hurt, days where i wish i could have called you and heard your voice. deleting your contact out of my phone. seeing your e-mail address pop up as a remembered entry as i'm typing something else in. reading the wonderful messages that others have written on your facebook wall that's still there--but knowing you're reading those sentiments from far above.
no, it hasn't been easy. but it's made me stronger and taught me so much. patience for others. empathy for those going through loss (and oh, dad, there are such dear friends who have gone through some difficult times.)
most importantly, the need for family. knowing that every moment is precious and should be treasured...and in the end, family is all that matters.
we've tried hard to keep up those family lunches, but we need to try harder. we've gone down east, back to the place where you grew up, where our family tree is rooted, where we can smell the salt air and feel the tidal pull that keeps drawing us back--but we need to go back more often. davis has been photographed in front of his namesake town sign, and we're going to make sure he knows the history of davis corner when he's old enough to appreciate it :)
his other grandfathers are doing an awesome job looking after him, and he is definitely all boy. he's going to need all the male supervision he can get! i know his uncle and great uncle and cousins will be there for him, too, showing him the family traditions.
keep watching over us. we know that as the years pass, the love won't fade. i sometimes get sad that i might forget the sound of your voice, or the feeling of your goatee scratching against my face when you hugged me tight. but i know that the love you have for family, the love i have for you as my dad...that won't go away.
we love you---always. we miss you. but we know you're looking out for us and waiting for us to join you one day. thank goodness for that hope, and until then--we keep moving forward one day at a time. like today. an ordinary day, but one day closer to home. 

your baby doll

*edited to add: my post from last year about my dad's health history*


  1. Lauren, this is lovely. I pray today is a good day full of good memories for you and your family.

  2. Rachel9:04 AM

    love this lauren - thanks for sharing.

  3. Elizabeth Y.9:24 AM

    Thanks for sharing, Lauren. This is so beautiful, and I was totally taken aback at the resemblances between you, Alan, Davis, and your Dad. Hope you can find some peace and comfort today. Love you!

  4. Christie9:49 AM

    Beautiful post Lauren. Thinking of you today.

  5. Lauren, as I read this, I imagine the look of joy and pride that would beam from your father's face knowing how you feel about him. As a childhood friend, I saw this look many times whenever our adult paths would cross (usually because of some event in his parent's lives). There is no doubt about the love he has for his children. And I testify to you that families can be together forever. How thankful I am to know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves His children. Keith emulated the love our heavenly father has for each one of us. And now you know that love too since having children of your own. This sentiment is such a wonderful dedication to your earthly father. Thank you for sharing it as it has rekindled memories of my own friendship with Keith. Keep those memories alive as you share them with the next generation. Yes, Keith is definately beaming with pride and appreciated the gift of family. Angela Taylor Best (his adoptive sister)

  6. Sharing my birthday and anniversary with him, I always remember. He loved you and Alan so much. He was very proud of the good people you became. He dearly loved Davis and would no doubt have another baby doll in Bethany. Love to you all.