Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One Year Later

My senior year in high school, I wanted to go to our last home JV football game... but I wasn't able to.  I don't remember if I was sick- or grounded- but I remember pleading with my mom.  "But Mom... it's the last home JV football game of my high school career!"  Her response (in true Janer fashion) was "Yes.  And this whole year you are going to have lots of 'lasts'.  This will be the last Thursday in October that you are in high school.  But we can't mark every one of them with an event.  That logic won't work this entire year."


But that is how I work.  I bench mark days, weeks, events... all of it.  I remember significant dates- the good and the bad- and use it as a marker of where God has brought me.  I do it with lasts... and also with firsts.

These last 5 days have been hard for that very reason.

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the last time I saw my Daddy.  Last March 22, he and Mom drove down for lunch and to see E's new playhouse.  He and I sat on our porch swing while Mom and E walked through the yard.  We talked about Mom's health deteriorating and how thankful we were that she had an upcoming appointment to help us gain an official diagnosis.  We laughed at how funny E is.  At lunch, he messed with the server by oversharing how we were all connected.  I cried Friday as I passed West Town.  That booth will forever be etched in my memory, as will that day.

the last picture I have of Daddy... he was trying to make E laugh.
Anticipating that Friday would be hard, I kept E home from school and we had a big day.  We took Mom out to lunch and shopping.  I allowed myself to cry when I needed to, and I'm again thankful for friends who aren't scared of my tears.

Saturday marked one year from the last time I spoke with Daddy.  My friend Angela and I were driving to our retreat and he and I had a typical conversation on the phone... ending with me hanging up on him because he said something inappropriate.  I looked at the clock Saturday around that same time and thought "I cannot believe it's been a year since I've heard his laugh."

Sunday, while not the calendar year mark of "the" anniversary, was the one year mark in the traditional sense.  It was as church was letting out that I was trying to reach Dan to let him know the unfathomable news.  Sundays were painful for me for weeks.  This one proved to be the same way... 

And Monday.  The one year mark.  One year since my Daddy left us.  One year since I became as lonely as I have ever been.  One year since I became grown up in ways I never cared to be.  Anticipating the pain of the day, I planned every hour to the fullest.  I met friends for lunch at a spot filled with memories of my Daddy.  I delivered some treats for friends who had "done good" for us over the year.  We had dinner with friends who love us well... and most importantly, love E well.  This whole year has gotten me thinking about who would fill in the gap for her whenever she has to walk down this miserable road.  She is fortunate to have loads of my friends who love her and who would "Momma" her if I weren't around to do it.  While the pain would be no less strong, I know that she, too, would survive.

So as I wrap up my painful anniversary, I want to leave you with some key things Daddy taught me:

1. Always invite people to share a meal with you.  Even when your house isn't clean and you "can't afford it", you'll never regret time spent feeding people you love.  And send home leftovers.  You might lose some Tupperware in the process, but it's worth it.

2. When shopping, if you see something that makes you think of someone else, buy it for them.  This is true of "gifts" as well as groceries.  Daddy stocked up in a "prepper" kind of way... not to take care of his own needs, but so that he could give things away to others.

3. Always take time to talk to someone when they need it.  Even if they make you crazy.  It's not always about you.

4. Keep in touch with people who were part of your life years ago- family doesn't just come from blood relation.

5. Being inappropriate is sometimes exactly what is needed.

6. Tell little people that you love them... and also let them know that you are the boss.

7. Shop at Home Depot.

8. Start traditions... throw parties... go big or go home.

9. Good coffee is made from one coffee scoop/ 3 cups of water (marked on your carafe.)

10. Do good.  All the time.

11. One bonus- not from Daddy- but from that horrible time one year ago: People Puppy Chow helps everything taste a little bit better.

I wish you all could have known him.  He was truly one of a kind.  Half of the time we were grateful for that... because one seemed plenty.  But what I wouldn't give to have another one like him now.  Do good, y'all.  The world needs more people who will.


Janie said...

No words. Love you.

Rutledge 7 said...

so so good. hugs:)

The Smittys said...

love you, my brave friend. you keep putting one foot in front of the other in amazing hope, even when life is really really hard. xoxo