My dad died 9 years ago today. Sometimes it feels like that was just a few weeks ago, sometimes an entire lifetime seems to have passed. I’ve never shared much about those days and weeks leading up to his death publicly, but with my Mom having a stroke 2 weeks ago and my anxiety super high the last few days, my nerves are raw and I feel like writing is the thing to do.
When I think back on the 3 weeks between when Charis was born and when we buried my Dad, it’s not the pure insanity of it all that dominates my thoughts, it’s actually just the opposite. My Dad’s death was totally unexpected and the timing was terrible (I mean when is the timing of DYING actually good…it seems Death doesn’t really care about closure or schedules or newborns). I was barely home from the hospital with a brand new baby and a fresh c-section incision when we all packed up and drove to Dallas to be with my Dad in the hospital. When we got there, he was already in a coma with a very bleak prognosis. And since I was fresh out of surgery, I wasn’t allowed to drive myself. Which meant I was basically bumming rides off of anyone and everyone that would take me to see him during his visiting hours. He never met my daughter since babies weren’t allowed in the ICU. And we drove back to Memphis on a Sunday morning, unsure of how long he would remain in a coma, and he died that afternoon.
In spite of all of the crazy, my mind finds these other moments, these supernatural moments, when I start to remember those weeks. I remember thinking of the verse in Psalms that says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”. At the time I would hardly call my Dad a saint, but I needed to find that verse. I picked up this random Bible that I found at Half Price while I was there and the translation happened to read, “The death of the one that belongs to the Lord is precious in his sight”. The one that belongs to Him. I wept over those pages as I felt God saying that my Dad was His. That it didn’t matter if his life looked saintly or not, because he belonged.
I remember my friend’s mom driving me to the hospital and asking if she could come in and pray over my dad. She read Scripture to him and prayed and a single tear ran down his otherwise unresponsive face. I couldn’t even pretend to keep it together.
And I remember being at my Dad’s funeral, in some random town in Mississippi that he wanted to be buried in with a toddler and a newborn and family that I hadn’t seen since I was little and looking up to see my best friend Erin walk through the doors to the funeral home. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to find someone to watch her littles or to even find that tiny town, but she showed up. She just showed up. I’ll never forget that moment seeing her come through those doors as long as I live. It’s honestly the perfect picture of friendship to me. She loved me enough not to even ask if I wanted her there, she just came. She played with Jac and held Charis and was THERE during one of the hardest days of my life. For that reason, if Erin ever wants to rob a bank, I wouldn’t hesitate driving the getaway car. I’d probably even take the blame and do her time in the Big House for her. She means that much to me.
I miss my Dad. I miss baking with him. I miss watching him dance all weird in the living room. I miss his stories about his grandmother. I miss his affection for stemware (you read that right). But I can confidently say that he belonged to God, not to me. And when I see him again, I’ll show him pictures of my babies and we’ll laugh about how nerdy Jac is, how certifiable Charis is, how flighty Abigail is and how rotten Jones is. And I kind of think he’ll already know but act like he doesn’t so I can tell stories. And then we’ll make seven thousand pies and pair them with the perfect glassware. Until then…