This is my dad. His name is Norman. Today would have been his 60th birthday.
He's been gone for almost two and a half years. He died on a sunny October day while I was at work mowing lawns and raking up leaves and accidentally falling off the back of the truck bed into a pile of horse manure. As unpleasant as falling into manure is, I was looking forward to going home and telling the tale at dinner -- I knew my dad would find it funny. I was not planning on going home and getting the phone call that you never think you'll get. No one ever expects to get this phone call. Only other people get this phone call. Never me. It wouldn't happen to me.
Well, apparently it would. It did. I was 22 and happy and things were good. Then, two seconds later, two words later, I was 22 and devastated and things were bad. Very bad. Nothing made sense. My dad was gone because of a seizure -- because a cyst in his brain had decided to kick into full gear after 57 years of inactivity.
It's impossible to explain how it feels to lose a parent unexpectedly. I'm sure it's different for everyone. For me -- well, after the explosion of adrenaline that raced through my body, the feeling that my stomach had fallen through the kitchen floor and into the basement, and the waves of shivers that took over (shock, I'm told), I went into business mode within 5 minutes of hearing the news. It's funny what your mind and body do to cope with shock. We had to tell people. We had to get things done. Call coroner. Plan funeral. Will process situation and cry later.
Two and a half years later, I'm still processing the situation. I still cry on occasion. But I smile lots, too. I smile when I hear Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. I smile when I read Psalm 92. I smile when we all sit around the table and reminisce, when we retell his old jokes, when I hear the Andy Griffith theme song, when someone mentions Walter Cronkite, when I remember Dad's words of wisdom and advice, and when I remember his frank opinions regarding social networking ("Facebook is for losers.").
I still wish it hadn't happened. I wish Dad were here. I wish he had been able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. I wish he could have met his grandkids (3 thus far!). A part of me is convinced that his story wasn't done yet, but another part of me is fully aware that God's plans and perspectives are bigger than mine. He sees so much more -- so much further -- than I do. So... I trust Him. I trust that He will bring me through the trials that are put before me. He has been faithful, and will continue to be so.
Thus far the LORD has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12