Surviving after death

If my dad were alive, he would have turned 95 today. I love this particular picture because as a parent, I recognize the harried look in his eyes (and hair). Yes, I’m the critter in the picture with so much hair. And that’s original Coke, baby. Those of you that know me, now you know why I drink so much soda! 😉 

Me and my dad
Me and my dad

My father died of a heart attack three days after his 61st birthday on May 8, 1980. I’m pretty sure I either got him a tie or some socks that year for his birthday. Whatever it was, he never had time to wear it. The worst part was that I was in 2nd grade at the time, and I became “that girl whose father died.” I hated that, being known for the death of a parent. Having people whisper about you behind your back like you couldn’t hear them.

I think that’s one of the reasons I so enjoyed Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk. Her main character, Meg, said this after losing her brother in high school:

“Once they knew about Wyatt, things would be too awkward. I needed friends, not more people who felt sorry for me.”

Yep. Of course, we had friends, our church, and my mom was (and is) this amazingly strong woman who kept it together. We made it through, and now his death is just something that happened in the past. I remember scraps about my dad, and enjoyed digging through pictures tonight to find ones to share with you. Bittersweet memories.

Meg, on the other hand, deals with major survivor’s guilt, a mom who has mentally checked-out, and a dad who relocates the family to Wyoming to try and get a new start on life. She leaves behind everything she knows to get a do-over, a chance to be a normal girl where no one knows about her past and the tragic death of her older brother. How does it work for her? Slowly, but that’s all I’m going to tell you. So go read the book. 🙂

I’ve got the sequel, but I haven’t read it yet. Soon, though.

TELL ME – ANY BITTERSWEET MEMORIES YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE ON THIS CINCO DE MAYO?

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7 thoughts on “Surviving after death

  1. Love this picture, Lisa. I was older than you but also lost my dad to a heart attack the day after I came home from my junior year of college. I heard him and my brothers talking in the morning before going to work and thought about getting up to say hi to him. But decided instead to enjoy not having to get up. I’ve always regretted that decision, because he died that afternoon before I could see him again. On the brighter side, I know I’ll see him again in eternity. 🙂

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    1. Sudden deaths are more difficult than lingering ones because you don’t have that last chance to say good-bye. My husband’s grandmother died a few years ago in hospice care in her home. It was more peaceful because the family gathered to say good-bye and celebrate her life and legacy. What a different experience.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting book. And is it funny that the instant I hear “Wyoming” my ears perk up? (What perks up if it’s something you read? My eyebrows and interest?) Having married a Wyoming boy and lived there for several years (and still living so very close-by) I’m always curious to see how Wyoming is portrayed in media.

    That is an awesome picture. Your dad has that “deer in the headlights” look and you had such a cute head of hair! One of my first major crushes back in 6th grade was a boy whose father died. I felt so badly for him but also really admired the way he carried himself through it and was such a strong support for his mother. Plus he played the piano beautifully and we had a very competitive ongoing ping-pong battle at every youth group meeting. 😉

    My most bitter-sweet memories come from that time period. When Hurricane Andrew blew through Florida and wiped out the Air Force base we were living at. We evacuated to my grandparents home in Hollywood – they had a basement, something rather unheard of in Florida – and lived there for weeks afterwards. My dad spent days standing in line to get reassigned. There were so many military personnel to relocate, the AF gave them their pick and he chose Eglin AFB. We were allowed back on base just long enough to pack up what remained of our belongings (quite a lot compared to many others) and then we were gone. We didn’t have the chance to see a single one of our neighborhood friends, home-school friends or church friends. The only chance for good-bye would come 2 months later when our youth-group leader tracked us down over the phone and we got to speak to him briefly. And this was back in the days when most people didn’t have computers, the internet was barely off the ground, long-distance was never free and always expensive, etc. It was traumatic, especially for me at my age back then. The Air Force later sent out these psychological surveys for all the teens who had gone through that. I’ve always wondered what mine said; because I know I did a good job faking it but that event broke me inside and it took years for me to allow God to heal the damage.

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    1. Wow. I can’t imagine. What you went through was very traumatic. Have you hooked back up with any of those people on FB?

      I’ve always wanted to go to Wyoming. I don’t know why, it just sounds like a place with land stretching as far as the eye can see. And my eye would like to see that.

      Thanks for sharing, Sparks. 😉

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      1. Wyoming really is beautiful. And it is like that, though my favorite parts are with the mountains on one side and land stretching out the other side.

        I did look up many of those people on Facebook once but I didn’t have the nerve to contact them. “Hi, you probably don’t even remember me but 20 years ago we were friends.”

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  3. Well, hey there, Lisa! Just ran across this and was touched by your post about losing your dad and the line in the book that spoke to you. Losing someone happens in bits and pieces for years, doesn’t it? It’s nice to imagine being a place where nobody knows and you can relax for a moment in yourself. Great to connect with you. — Laura

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    1. Hi, Laura! Thanks for stopping by. I’m almost finished with Perfect Glass and can’t wait for your to talk about both books here. 🙂

      Just like the news, people’s memories are quickly erased for things that don’t concern them directly. It can be both a blessing and a hardship.

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