365 days. That’s how long it’s been. I’ve heard people say that you have an event in your life that divides it into two categories – before it happened and after it happened. My event was when my Daddy passed away last year on this day.
Willard and I were in Guatemala on a mission trip. I don’t remember too much about the first 24 hours after I found out, but I do remember the first moment. Willard walked into the mission house where about 5 minutes before I had been holding a newborn baby boy. I was in my element, in one of my most favorite places in the world. I had no idea that our lives were about to change forever. He walked in and I immediately had a feeling something was wrong. He told me to come outside. As long as I live, I will not forget the look on his face when he told me. As hard as it was for me to hear it, I know it was a million times harder for him to say it to me. I could take you to the exact spot where I was standing. I know exactly what I was wearing. I even remember the color of my nail polish.
I am so thankful that I also remember what my Daddy smelled like (and I mean his good smell after a shower, not his stinky chicken house smell!). I remember what his hands looked like. They were hardworking hands, always dry and chapped and full of scraps and cuts. I can hear his voice in my head and I can hear his loud and annoying whistle. What I can’t remember is the last thing he said to me, and that has brought me great sadness for the past year, but I can’t fix it. I’m pretty sure it was something related to the fact that I had just said, “no, they cannot have another popsicle” about the time that he handed them another popsicle.
Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how I’m doing, or more specifically how my Mom is doing. I never know how to answer that. We are a pretty stoic family, I think. We are really good at putting on the brave face. We may be crumbling on the inside, but you won’t know it. Poor Willard would agree that I save my grieving for home – it comes out in the form of sadness or irritability. I know I haven’t been a very good wife, mommy, daughter, or sister these past 365 days, but it’s getting better.
Thank you all for continuing to love on my family, and for all you’ve done for my Mom. I know she couldn’t have made it without the support of such wonderful friends and community.