To everyone who has found themselves here, in this specific moment in time, reading my very first (and probably not so eloquent) blog post, thank you. You're trusting me with precious time in your life. Today, I'm reflecting on time and how quickly it goes by, how we take so much of it for granted. I've been guilty of even wishing time away. "I can't wait until....the weekend, I get married, get my dream job, have children, pay off this car loan"....etc. How many of you have thought those very same things? I'm begging you right here, right now, to appreciate your life just as it is...
A week and 5 years ago, I was mid-way through the first semester of my senior year of college. I was so excited for the very next week, Spring Break. I wasn't doing anything too exciting, just going home to Maysville to visit with friends and family and have a much-needed break from school work. (That semester I was taking 21 credit hours and working a part-time fellowship for MSU's Art Department and freelance church bulletin-making back home. Needless to say, I was BUSY!) I wished that week away in anticipation for all the fun and relaxation I would have the next week.
At the end of the week, I parted ways with all my art ed girls and headed north. My hometown is beautiful, nestled right along the Ohio River, full of small town southern charm. When I stayed at "home," I lived with my mom. Dad lived downtown, in his own place.
Spring Break began with a fun St. Paddy's Day/Birthday party with my best friend and her family...my second family. Sunday was church day and in the afternoon I visited Dad. I didn't stay long because he had a cold and I was determined to stay well for my break. We talked a little, I ran some grocery errands since he wasn't able to get out much, and made him some jello (our favorite when anyone is sick), and said see you later on this week. Monday was restful and I was thankful. Tuesday, I drove mom to a doctor's appointment in northern KY. We had planned to do a little shopping after and have a girl's day. Doctor's appointment shopping trips were our tradition since she had been diagnosed with breast cancer a few years before that. Having a shopping day made us forget our troubles at least for a little while.
I dropped mom off at her second to last appointment for the day. It was a quick one, so I just stayed in the car. A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was my younger brother. It was hard to understand what he was saying through his shaky voice, but I managed to hear, "Dad died. Come back home."
The first thing out of my mouth was, "No, you're lying. Why would you say that? No!"
I knew it was true though...
Mom came back to the car right about that time and found me a mess. I put her on the phone with my brother and I have no idea what they said to each other. My world had just been turned upside down. I couldn't even think. All I could do was feel...so strongly. So painfully.
In such a short amount of time, a heart attack took my dad. The rest of spring break was spent planning a cremation, memorial service, cleaning and getting his home ready to be listed for sale, calling all bill companies to inform them what happened, and trying not to fall apart.
Why didn't I appreciate the time I had with him? Why did I wish time away? Why didn't I spend more time with him that week? What if I had been there and could have called an ambulance? These are the questions that ran through my head that day. 5 years ago, today.
I know this is a heart-breaking story. The pain is fresh again as I write this, as I re-live it. This story is important though...
I write it for healing. I write it because until now, I couldn't. I write it in honor of my dad. It's the least I can do for the goofy, light-hearted, talented, gentle spirit that helped make me who I am. I honor his memory today with my photography. He was my very first photography teacher. I have such wonderful memories of "helping" him develop his negatives in the dark room at The Ledger Independent. I'm sure I was a wild pain, but he brought me along anyway. I remember being so proud when one of my daddy's pictures made the paper. I wish I had more photographs of him, but he was always the one behind the lens. When I look back at our family albums, I can see us though his eyes. What a treasure!
I hope everyone reading this is able to stop running around with all these busy, life-sucking, tasks and take time to just be with their loved ones today. Do it for Captain Crouton. ;)
love & stuff,
There we are...
Beachin' it up!