September 21, 2008

Blessed are those who mourn, Part 1

Sunday afternoon. Today's Bible class was good, our topic was "Blessed are those who mourn." Let me just say that this seemingly docile subject touched so many people, never have so many hands gone up in the air to add something to the conversation in class.

In my last ten years I have lost both parents.

My dad died in an accidental drowning after he had drank too much Chivas and passed out in a hot tub. My twins were 7 months old. I hadn't talked to my dad in several months. We weren't in each others lives regularly but we certainly loved each other. I found comfort in his apartment (he lived North of Dallas) that my siblings and I went to clean out, he had a beautiful red bible opened on his coffee table, his journey of self destruction through alcohol had found it's way back to the Lord. He still drank but he had turned back to Jesus. Praise God. My dad had died to me emotionally many years back. After I came back to the Lord, one of the first things that God had put on my heart was forgiveness for my dad. God knew that I had anger and unforgiveness in my heart where my dad was concerned, and that is food for the devil, the journey of forgiveness took almost a year, but at the end of the year my heart was once again softened to my dad, and there was no bitterness. That was several years before my dad died, I was so glad I had a loving relationship with him again.

Through those years that my dad and I had a rocky relationship I still sent him birthday cards and father's day cards. I remember standing in a card aisle for each occasion trying to find the right card for him, agonizing to find a card that stated that he was my father, but I didn't want anything that stated he was a "great father." I would find cards with expressions like, Happy Father's Day, have a great day, then I would simply sign the card, love, Tammy. No other words. Those cards that I struggled to buy were bound together by a piece of twine which he carried with him in his briefcase everyday for years until I found them after he died. Every card that I had sent him he had kept.

My dad was a man who was full of life, very charismatic, he could bring out the best in those around him, that was until he had too many drinks and then all that went away. He took this world by storm with his smile and laugh, spent some time at the top of the ladder, then slowly rung by rung hit bottom. When he died he was living in an extended stay hotel with a chocolate cake on the kitchen table and an empty glass and bottle of Chivas next to him, but he had found his way back to Jesus and I know that he was welcomed with open arms. The best of what was my father is complete and whole as he left his torment behind and was taken up to heaven and I anticipate the day I see him again.

How did I mourn for my dad's death? I don't think I did. I was saddened by it, but I didn't spend alot of time crying, my twins were 7 months and Derek was 2 years old, they got me back into the swing of things pretty quickly. Because of his lifestyle I think all of us kids knew that he was on borrowed time. I just always felt like he would die young, he was 57 years old. I was glad his 41 year struggle with alcohol was finally over. We had made our peace and that was good, had I not worked through that before he had died I think it would have been a much messier time for me. I did however mourn all of his life for the man he could have been without the addiction to alcohol.

Now losing my mom 9 months later, that was a different story for a different day.


Susan said...

Thank you for writing so eloquently and real about your feelings and thoughts. Love you.

Teeny said...

Its so crazy that we all have such different experiences with Daddy in the last several years of his life. I know from about 1995-6 I started talking to him alot more. I had invited him to my house for Thanksgiving the last year he was alive. He had agreed then of course at the last minute he changed his mind and something else came he said, although I know it was so he could drink. I remember how hurt and upset I was and I didn't call him for a couple weeks, then he was dead. I also remember thinking he was almost invincable even at that age. I was 24. I always felt safe even miles away, grown up, married, as a mother when he called me baby or pumpkin, which was every conversation.