Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Too Old For This

I don't know if any of you remember when we got the truck but, yea, I can't drive it.

If I am going to be on the interstate or I find about 4 empty parking places together than I am ok, really!

But, other than that, not so much.

So, I cut my loses a while back and went back to driving my little Suzuki. That is, until my daughter needed a ride.

Bobby came home with a little red number, a *Dave Ramsey Car* that gets very good gas mileage, so Denise got the Suzuki and I got a glorified go-cart.

It will eventually get up there to a good cruising speed, but I don't really push it too much. And I can park it ANYWHERE!! Amazing! I actually feel like a good driver again.

It is the, well, getting up and down off the ground as I get in and out of it that has proved to be the biggest challenge. I don't see how anybody going through mid-life crisis can make themselves feel younger by hoisting themselves in and out of an itty bitty sports car.

If anything, it has been a blatant, slap in the face kind of reminder that "the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be." And I am just pleased that I have managed to develop a technique that diminishes my awkwardness as much a possible.

But, you have to take the good with the bad. And I know that the truck would thank me if it could with it's many battle scars from mailboxes, curbs, posts and various other things I smacked along the way (some without even knowing it).

I don't exactly go vvrrrooommm vvrrroommm anymore, more like bbbbzzzz bbbbbzzzzz, but, hey, I still get to ride in the truck and I do drive it in low danger zones. So if my back survives I will have some extra pocket change to pay any medical expenses should my back not survive...

If you happen to see a middle aged lady running around in a little red car, I'm not having a mid-life crisis....I'm having a large-truck crisis.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I went to the funeral of someone very dear to me last Friday. Carrie was the nurse that trained me all those years ago and I keep thinking about the times that we shared, her heart and the goodness that went straight to her bones.

Carrie was the kind of person that we would all hope to be. I can't think of one single person that could say anything bad about her. She was everything that I strive to be but never quite hit the mark.

And I loved her. I still do. Her send-off didn't seem grand enough for such a grand lady.

I was blessed to know her, blessed by all of our talks, the times she shared her heart with me, and sometimes even her pain as she would ask me to pray with her about different circumstances.

I went to Labor and Delivery one day after Dad had his heart surgery. At that time we didn't think he was going to have to stay on dialysis and we were rejoicing because his labs were good. I stopped to share the news with Carrie.

As usual, it didn't take long before we were both crying. She told me finally that she was so glad I had come to tell her because she thought it was from the Lord to encourage her. You see, there was something going on with her kidneys and she was scared.

Thank you, Carrie, for all the things you added to my life. For trusting me, for the little presents I would find on my doorstep from you, for the trips to Helen, for the love that was genuine and felt. Saying goodbye is not easy, so I will just say I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rising to the Occasion

Today has been a hard day for me. I am feeling lost and sad due to present circumstances and the fact that in my imperfections that I walk in daily, I am always reminded that others are imperfect, too.

On March 2, I lost my Daddy. That "box" that had carried him for 69 years suddenly could not contain him any longer. And I miss him beyond words.

No one will ever know how much I appreciate the years I had here with my parents, in health and in sickness. In many, many ways, it was the trials of his health that gave me the opportunity to know him as I never had before, because, you see, I realized he was human.

I have so many wonderful memories of the times with him, even the hard times. So many stories that I would have never heard if his health had not slowed him down, because, I assure you, that was the only thing that could have slowed him down.

I learned about his character and his heart. I watched his faith grow even it the face of overwhelming circumstances. And I was given time to build a relationship with my father that will surpass even death.

Do I have regrets? Oh, more than you could know. I regret that life interfered with my ability to do more for him. I regret that, at times, I had to rely on others to help me, because, you see, as much as I would have liked for it to be otherwise I had responsibilities that could not wait.

I have also been thankful over and over that someone was able to help after I changed jobs. I have thanked God so many times.

I regret that life got in the way, but I am ever so thankful for all the time I was allowed. I have no energy to be bitter.

When I break the box of my praise over my Master's feet, I praise Him for ALL things. And the cost of my praise is unknown to anyone but me.

My Daddy taught me many, many things during our 43 years together. I saw in him character that is missing from most in the world today. Over and over when problems arose, when situations presented themselves, when sadness came, during times of great joy and during some of the darkest days, even when that "box" had almost failed him completely, my Daddy rose to whatever occasion came his way. He was dependable and true to who he was until the very end.

So shall I rise to the occasion of losing such a great man. I will carry myself with dignity and behave as he would have expected. And I will continue to praise the God of my salvation who knew the end from the beginning. I will continue to live my life in such a way that I can have that hope of seeing my Daddy once again. And on that great day may my soul be prepared to rise to the occasion of that marvelous resurrection.

But, until that day will always miss my wonderful Dad.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beginning The Process

I have to say that for the first time in my life I am at a loss. I can't quite figure out the next step here as I navigate this new territory. And compounding this is the fact that everything has taken on a surreal quality eclipsing the very evident reality of my life at this point.

I am at a standstill.

I know that there are billions of people in the world that have suffered the same loss that I have. And as a nurse I have studied the Stages of Grief as outlined by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I have seen grief first hand on more than one occasion and I have grieved myself over past loses.

I knew in my mind that day was fast approaching. I actually prayed for God to have his way. And I have listened to the well meaning words that he is no longer suffering, no longer in pain. I do know this even though this is not the main reason I prayed for God to intervene.

I knew that big strong man was still there in that wrecked body. I could look at him and still see him in his starched white shirts, his Florsheim shoes, his steps sure, his posture erect, the dignity he carried himself with and I knew, I knew.

So, today I begin, and I will begin again tomorrow. I don't know what else to do.

Lord, shelter me today. I need you now more than ever.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

I laid down last night and the first thing that came to my mind when it settled down enough to allow me to listen to my own thoughts was the first line of "The Long and Winding Road" by Paul McCartney.

I know this is not a Christian song but I have often thought of this song when I have thought of death. I don't know what was intended when this song was composed, but I have always pictured a tired soldier ready to go through that door at the end of his long journey of life.

Last night the biggest, strongest man I have ever known came to the end of the long and winding road of his life.

We started a different journey as a family several years ago when my father's eyesight began to fail. Then in 2006 he had heart surgery.

If any of you have followed my blog through the years you have been part of our journey. We have been on the mountain top and we have struggled through the valley.

I was able to spend last weekend in Louisiana just being with my parents. No one was in the hospital, we just spent time together.

I am so thankful for that time. You know, I could see the direction the road was taking, and I knew that God was in control. That doesn't mean that my heart is not broken because it is. But that means that I trust Him and know He works ALL things for my good.

I can still see him, in my mind, big and strong as I looked up at him from my little girl eyes. I was certain that he was undefeatable.

And as the years have passed I grew more and more certain that he was the wisest, strongest man I would ever know. He has been through so much and I marvel that we have had the time with him that we have.

So, tomorrow the body of a great man will arrive in Douglas to be interred in that body's final resting place, but my big, strong Daddy is long gone. Today he can walk the streets of gold on both legs. What is such a day of sadness for me is a day of celebration for him.

No more sorrow, no sickness, no pain. No more goodbyes.

So this is not goodbye, Daddy. When I reach the end of my long and winding road we will have the chance to meet again. What a day, glorious day, that will be.

You are the best Daddy there ever was. And you are loved beyond measure.