This is it... the day
One year without my daddy.
This is the day I really DONT want to be Thankful.
This is the day that feels like we are coming to the finish line of some sorts in a long marathon -
as strange as that seems.
I really fought with myself on what do to about my Thankful Thursday post.
But the one thing I stand on a soap box about is that you can ALWAYS find God working in ALL things. There are blessings in the small things that mean a lot.
So today, on this day where I'm reliving every moment of last year - & feeling lost & sad & heartbroken ... I'm trying to shift my focus to the positive.
Maybe not find the "good"... but find some sort of blessings have have happened in the events of my daddy leaving this world.
This may not be a long post... but that its a post at all means something to me.
So today, I'll try & find the blessings ...
.... deep breath....
this is gonna be a tough one
This year I am Thankful For:
I'll never forget the nurses that took care of us that day in the hospital. That helped us make hard decisions. That took care of us while they also took precious care of my daddy. I'll never forget the nurse that came up from the ER, who was with us when they delivered the news... & she came up to the ICU to see us after her shift was over. Hugged us all & cried with us. She told me later -when I had to go back for my 2nd ER surgery & she was MY nurse - she remembered me!!! - she had said she makes it a point to not get connected strongly with patients because it just gets too hard.... but she said there was just something about our family. The way my mother was lost without my dad - the way she begged him to wake up - the way me & my brother handled the situation - the way our family & friends surrounded one another - she said we just stuck to her heart & it broke for us.
It really was the nurses that were angels that day.
Friends / Family on THAT day
I'll still never figure out how fast some of our friends & family got to the hospital when we got the news about dad. Honestly - I had just gotten to the hospital myself when friends were already in the waiting room. Family was already being ushered in. When dad got taken to the ICU after we found there was nothing we could do, the waiting room there was already full of people who rushed to support us & love on us & help us. & while we stayed in the ICU 99% of that day, our friends & family sat in that waiting room, asking to do something to help - bringing food in, drinks in, checking on us, lifting prayers, giving hugs. Surrounding us with love. I am eternally grateful.
I still am so thankful how my daddy's funeral turned out. We still say that we dont know what or if you can see anything from heaven, but man, I hope dad got some sort of glimpse of it - because he would be one proud cowboy. Between his wood casket & his saddle on top & his sunflowers flowing over top ... & of course, his baby boy, his horse, leading the way to his eternal resting spot. I know dad could not have wanted more for his last hurrah out of this world.
I'm still also amazed & grateful for the strangers that got Cochese to the funeral. I know I talked about that so many times, but how it all fell through to get the horse there & then everyone sharing our need on Facebook... & strangers actually stepping up & doing SO MUCH for us that day. I honestly think about them all the time & just lift up a prayer of gratitude for their sweet kindness to us.
For some reason, after the funeral, I got so upset about the people who didn't come to my dad's funeral - or visit us at the funeral home. Some of the ones who didnt show really hurt me. Broke my heart. I felt like we, or my dad, should have meant more to some people who could have taken the time to come give last respects. I'm not proud to say that. & it really made me angry at times weeks after the funeral. Now, I understand life is busy - Heck, I know some people didnt even find out till too late - & I get now that I am taking anger out of my loss on others..
But now I stop & remembered ALL the people that did take the time to drive up to a little town in Indiana & give us a hug, sit & talk with us, let us know they were sorry. Some people came a pretty big distance too... for just a few hours... but they did it for us. People we haven't seen in years showed up.... people from my last church that I hadn't prayed with in the longest time were next to me lifting us up to God.... people who didnt even know us but knew my dad still came, just to give "Red" one last goodbye. That's what I focus on now. & am so beyond grateful for each & every person we talked to, hugged on, loved on, spoke to, comforted us, sent flowers, , took care of us... all of it. If any of these things were you.... PLEASE know how grateful we are for your love those 2 hard days at the funeral. Its every single person who stood next to us that kept us from falling.
My goodness... for all the people who didn't live close by, all the cards we received - I just cant put into words. I still have my box I bought just to hold them. Who knew that the mail could hold little pieces of heaven in them? Because its words of kindness & love that I would open up & tears would drip down on them & I could just feel the hugs & love from all the distances they came from.
I still say its the craziest thing ever that my dad always told his brother who was fighting his battle with pancreatic cancer, that he would get to heaven before him. HOW & WHY this came out of my dad's mouth? I'll never know.... but when my dad's brother ended up passing away just about 10 weeks later, I have to say, I feel like God knew my dad wouldnt have been able to see his baby brother leave this world. I really think it would have just broke my dad. So I really do feel like in my heart, God knew my dad needed to be there in Heaven to welcome his brother home. I just see it in my mind. .... I told Ricky just the other day, I sure hope my uncle told dad all about his funeral & they just laughed & laughed about it. "Yep Tommie, your horse was really there!"
Pictures & videos
I think I aggravate everyone with all the pictures I take. I've always done it my whole life. I've had a photographer's soul in me since the days of developing film & Kodak booths were a the thing. & man, I'm so grateful for all the pictures I have of my dad the past few years. They come up in my Timehop & they make me smile. Instantly bring back memories of that day & what were doing. I can almost hear his laugh.... which makes me even more thankful for videos we have of him. & it does hurt a little that we dont have more videos. I'm always the picture person & I wish wish wish I had more videos where I see him moving, see that walk, hear that voice, especially that chuckle. It hurts sometimes to see it, but man, some days I just CRAVE to hear that voice ... "Bec"... oh man... why didnt I save all those voice mails?.... but I'll just keep flipping through all the years of pictures - watching my daddy with that bright red hair when I got married - to the growing of white shooting out of that beard while he became a grand parent. It's watching his life over & over again... all from a single click.
& side note - for your own life - PLEASE take more pictures. & if you are one of those people that hate being in front of a camera - do it for those you love. They truly are priceless treasures!
Kind of the same as above... but I love the emails from my dad. You know how people are behind a screen ... just look at this post for instance. It's where you can be more vulnerable - open - say things you probably wouldn't say to someone to their face. My dad had really connected to the internet & loved emailing - & sending stupid YouTube videos - every day. & LORDY- if I didnt have a blog post up by 10am, he was REALLY emailing me wondering where I was. If I was OK. I have kept a lot of his emails that were really deep thoughts or words I wanted to remember. I put them in a folder & go back & reread all his misspelled words. Dad was the worst speller... but man, it was him. & when I read these emails, I just try to feel like he's just still on the other side of the screen, still saying these words... still waiting for that next blog post... & still checking in on me to see if I was ok for the day.
HAHA... always has been a family thing. That number pops up everywhere. But when dad passed away & we found that letter he had wrote years before & said when we see white horses or 444, it means he's near....& man, do we ever see it. I post all the time on IG where we see it - & its always at the funniest moments. I love even more when I get texts or emails with a pic where others pop up seeing 444 & say, "Hi Rebecca's Dad"... that just brings a smile to my heart. I just have to know his spirit is near somehow, some way in those moments.
Hope in Jesus
I honestly dont know what I would do without my relationship with God during all of this loss & feeling the emptiness over the past year. It's truly an emptiness that I know ONLY God can fill.
YES - I can totally add onto this so many more things I'm grateful for over the past year during this - especially my husband, my mother, my brother & his family, my aunts & uncles, all my family, all the sweet friends... SO MANY PEOPLE... so many things.... I feel like I have tried to really do that over the year pointing out specific areas in these thankful posts.
But the Hope in Jesus... man, its just amazing how I've just been forced to LEAN into Him & His comfort ... grateful for the promises that the Bible gives us... for the comfort that my heart can find in knowing God is near me through every tear that has fallen.... so grateful that my daddy raised me to know who our Savior was & especially knowing that my daddy believed & trusted in that too.
The hope of a future together... the hope of a reunion... the hope of an eternal life with one another - with all of our loved ones ... & all of it with Jesus.
I could not be more thankful in my life for the earthly father I have had ... & beyond that, I am grateful he pointed me to my Heavenly Father to carry me & comfort me & love me while my daddy can't be here to do that.
I love you daddy... I will always be grateful for the 46 years I had with you. Knowing so many dont get that many years with their father. Grateful for the priorities you have instilled in me, for the examples you showed me & the love you showered on me & the direction you have pointed me.... heaven bound.
In the hardest of loss, I know I am blessed.