It’s been exactly 20 years since my father died and it sometimes feels like I’m still that little girl watching his chest pump once, then twice, then completely stop and not quite believing my daddy just took his last breath.
Sometimes, it still feels like Monday, December 8, 1997, all over again.
He was an amazing man, an amazing father.
I can still see his smirk launched in my direction when I walked in his line of sight (I totally inherited it, too!) and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.
He was the stuff primetime television was made of. He was gentle in all the right ways, firm only when necessary, but consistent in his expressions of love, loyalty and faithfulness.
He was my daddy and his passing was my first lesson in learning that some things you never get over, you just get through.
There’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t cross my mind – the tears aren’t as frequent now, but they’re still present.
But this status isn’t about my daddy, at least not completely.
It’s about the amazing woman who still had to raise two children in their formative years after their daddy died far too soon.
It’s about the woman who had to temper her own pain after losing her mother, sister and husband — back-to-back-to-back — because she didn’t have the luxury of breaking down with a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old who still needed her strength.
It’s about the woman who walked out of OSU Hospital with her heart shattered, but her tears in check and her back still straightened, with a child in each arm, after giving the OK to pull the plug on her 46-year-old husband, because according to the doctor: “What makes Joe, Joe, is no longer there.”
It’s about the woman who we heard crying in the middle of the night, but whose tears never manifested during the day.
It’s about the woman who still mourns the death of the man she should have grown old with.
It’s about the woman who sent two children to college and graduate school without her helpmate and without a second source of full income.
It’s about the woman who sacrificed everything — her rest, her recovery, her tears, her pain — so her children wouldn’t experience a hiccup in their livelihood.
It’s about the woman who exemplified how the peace of God can surpass all understanding if you just have the audacity to trust in him.
It’s about the woman who taught my brother and I that we’re good enough, more than enough, better than the best, and what we do in this life matters.
It’s about the woman who remains our strength and our constant — even in our adult years. It’s about the woman we are blessed to call our mother.
We love her beyond words, beyond expression, beyond limitation.
When you see her, you see us. Know we’re not far behind – we’re creeping around a corner; posted in the car waiting for her arrival; waiting by the phone for her to confirm she made it somewhere safely.
She’s ours — and she’s the best thing that has ever been ours.