Almost everyday of my life I drive by a certain site.  A site not too far off the road, on a small little hill.  It is there as I rush by to get my children to school on time.  It is there as I drive to visit with dear friends.  It is there as I go to church, to cub scouts, to our favorite mexican restaurant.  The constant reminder of the greatest loss I’ve ever experienced.  A grave marker with the name of my father, clear and unmistakable.  He is buried there…beside that road.  Some days I don’t even take the time to notice it, but some days I do.  Some days I glance over and smile or blink away the tears.  My Papa and Gran are now buried there and many other family members.  It’s strange that those graves and that large tombstone are such a very present reality in my daily life.  I know there are people who rarely go back to a grave site after the funeral.  But I see that stark and beautiful reminder usually several times a day.  It was a June night ~ 24 years ago that caused that marker to be made.  I remember so vividly what it was like the day before he was gone.  That day before the whole world shifted and changed irrevocably.  That day when I was 10 years old and life was complete.  And I miss that day.  I wish I could live it again and just hold him so tight.  How could I have known that the final “goodnight” was truly final.  After he died I would wake at night from a dream where he had just walked back into the house.  Everything was right again, it had all been a mistake.  He was there and it had all been untrue.  For a few seconds after that dream it felt so real, like I really could reach out for him and he would be there to grasp and hang onto… then I would remember that he wasn’t.  And the pain was so fresh and so sharp…I thought I would die.  I had that dream for years.  I dreamed a similar dream on my wedding night.  It was the first time Rob would hear me crying, sobbing in my sleep.  The truth is that kind of hurt never, ever goes away.  It is always there.  I have found my anchor and my comfort in Jesus.  He has not turned back time, but He has promised me the greatest hope I could ever have, the hope of forever with Him and my long wished for Daddy.

 As we’ve gone through this adoption, I’ve done a lot of thinking again about being that 10 year old little girl who lost her Daddy.  How it made me feel, how fresh those memories still are. I’ve thought a lot about my two sweet 10 year old girls in Ch*na.  What they must have been feeling to know they didn’t have a Daddy either.  For reasons we don’t even know, they are fatherless at 10 years old…just as I was.  And I know how real that pain is.  I know how afraid and alone you can feel when a Daddy isn’t there to protect you.  I know the deep aching that only comes in the dead of night, when you remember the loss and the reality of life without.  Pretty powerful aching for a small, little heart.  But unlike my dear girls, I had my precious mother and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and community who loved and sheltered and nurtured and protected me.  But my oldest daughters…they don’t.  They have wonderful nannies who love them, but who go home when they are off the clock.  Nannies who pour hours into them but who go to their real families when it is time to celebrate a holiday.  And at 14, these caretakers will no longer be required to care for them unless they so choose.  Because of my own loss and grief I think I can reach out and touch the tip of their feelings of life without a family.

 I can only begin to imagine how they must feel now, knowing they have a Mama and Daddy coming for them.  They have seen our pictures and we have sent messages back and forth.  I am sure that there is plenty of excitement and fear all wrapped up in one!  And I also know that no matter how hard and deeply we love them, there will always be a hole for those they have lost.  I know because that hole is there in my heart too.  I have a bond with my girls that none of us ever would have chosen to share.  But I have found the One Who fills that kind of hole.  I have found the One who stands in the gap for me and for them.  I know the only One who can truly heal and redeem that which has been broken and destroyed in the deepest regions of a wounded heart.  And I can’t wait to introduce my newest daughters to Him!  How I long for them to know that while they lost their first earthly daddy, they have the Father in Heaven who will FIGHT for them.  And Who WILL WIN!!!!  He fought for me and He won my heart and my devotion!  He is bringing them a new earthly Daddy who will show them such an awesome picture of this in their real, daily lives.  Rob has been willing to lay down his life for them, to lay down his desires and his will to become a Daddy to two treasures who need him so very much.  The Lord will not leave them or me as fatherless or as orphans.  He WILL come for us! {John 14:18}

So, this Father’s Day I remember my Daddy, dearer than ever to my little girl heart.  I rejoice that one day I will see him again ~ for he and I both will rise in the Lord Jesus!  I honor and so greatly admire my husband for being a sacrificial and loving Daddy!!!  And I praise You, dear Heavenly Father for being Father to the fatherless! {Psalm 68:5}

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DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

~John Donne


4 thoughts on “Daddy

  1. Beautiful.
    I don’t really know what else to say. I can’t even imagine what you went through–what you continue to go through–since losing your sweet daddy.
    You have the most lovely heart…I think it’s what drew me to you so many years ago when we were just girls. I am truly thrilled for your two big girls–for the precious gift the Lord has given them with you for a mommy.
    And you used one of my favorite poems! I LOVE teaching Donne. 🙂 Did you know he lost his wife just days after their twelfth child was stillborn? He raised ten children (one of their other children was stillborn as well) by himself! Can you even imagine?
    Have you ever read “Wit” by Maragaret Edson? There is the most beautiful scene that revolves around this sonnet…and the main character is a professor who teaches Donne’s Holy Sonnets.
    I love reading your blog entries…I can keep up with my sweet Katie! Keep writing…these entries are marvelous.

    Love you, dear friend.

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