(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
One of the hardest things I’ve realized from losing someone I love to death (literally to death) is you don’t figure out a way to get past it or get over the loss. The loss is insurmountable. You just have to figure out a way to live with it.
Figuring out how to do that, I am starting to suspect, takes a lifetime.
When I was 11 years old, my father knowing my interest in acting and writing and poetry (wonder who I got that from…), gave me a book on writing called “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. On the inside, he had inscribed “Dear Deirdre, If you think you might, you should. I know you have the talent, all it takes is the will”.
From the beginning, my dad always talked with me as if I was an adult or a person whose opinion and thoughts mattered and were equal to his own. This respect of my intellect and opinions was invaluable to developing the sense of confidence and support which has carried me through my life.
There is an old family video where my sister and I are playing in the living room after dinner. I am turning somersaults in my knee highs and pigtails up and down the carpeted floor and my toddler aged sister is in a walker trapped underneath the slider curtains …and my father is talking to us about (and I quote) “The economics of Christmas”.
Throughout the shock and grief of my dad’s death, I keep returning to Psalm 34:18 where it says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” My father was a man of tremendous faith. Through him, I’ve been taught the example of what it means to make that the foundation of your life. Without this faith, I don’t how I would have found my way through the grief.
To summarize what your father means to you and who he was, is nearly impossible to do no matter what the circumstances. Nothing I can say can cover all the memories or wise counsel and examples I learned from him. Nothing I can say can properly articulate what the loss of him in my life means. But the enormity of what it means to have lost him speaks to the enormity of the sweet and wise old soul my dad was. What he gave as a father and as a husband is more than what words can express.
One of my greatest blessing is that my dad was the man he was.
One night about five years ago, I was on my computer in my little wooden bedroom in Chiang Rai, Thailand when the Skype notification popped up in the middle of my screen startling me. I clicked “answer” and as the screen connected, I saw my absolutely non-tech dad sitting perfectly in the center of the screen, his eyes flickering around like he wasn’t sure where I would appear. It was super sunny behind him and I remember he had on a red shirt.
“Hi Dad!” I said surprised and happy to see him.
“Oh hi, honey. I was home by myself and I was at the computer and this thing kept making noises at me so I decided to try it out.” he said,
“I am not entirely sure if I knew what I was doing but it sure is nice to see you.”