Friday, February 26, 2010

1 Year

So... it's finally here. The dreaded anniversary has arrived. One year ago today. In fact, in about twenty minutes it will be exactly one year ago that my dad went to be with the Lord. I remember that day vividly and incrementally. It feels like 5 different days all in one. The day started out just like any other. I said goodbye to Patrick, fed and dressed Paige and myself. Then I took a pregnancy test, 2 in fact, and found out that little Elijah was on his way.I met Patrick for lunch at Chipotle and shared the good news with him. We decided to wait until after Evelyn (my niece) was born to share the news with everyone else. She was due to arrive March 25th. I left lunch, stopped by the store to pick up one more test just to make sure, and came home to put Paige down for a nap. As she slept I got to work on decorations for a friend's baby shower that I was helping host in the coming weeks. Then, a little after 3 p.m., I got a call from Annette. She was frantic and hard to understand. She said that dad had been in an accident, Richie had called her, and she and my mom were on their way to Plano Presbyterian Hospital. I called Patrick and Alyssa and prayed and prayed as I got Paige up and dressed for what I thought might be a long night at the hospital. Patrick came and picked me up, and we embarked on the worst car ride of my life. I prayed and worshiped the Lord to Chris Tomlin as we hurried there. My brother called to see if I was on my way, but wouldn't give me details. He just told me to hurry. I felt that he wasn't telling me the hard truth. He called again, we were taking longer than expected. We had gone the wrong way and ended up driving into a shut down street. As we passed the accident, I saw the motorcycle from afar and knew that it was my dad's accident. I can still see that picture of the crash in my head. The motorcycle looked like the accident wasn't too bad, but I feared the worst. Richie was imploring us to get there, and I made him tell me that my dad was gone. He said he didn't want to tell me that if I was driving, but when I assured him that Patrick was behind the wheel he told me that dad was gone. I called Alyssa to tell her, but she already knew. Richie was afraid to tell me if I was driving and wanted to wait until I got there. We arrived at the ambulance bay a few moments later. It was not even 4 p.m. Rich met us outside. He came up and hugged me and cried and told me how sorry he was that he couldn't save him. I didn't know, but Richie was riding on a bike behind him and had seen the accident. He tried to save my dad, but couldn't. I was heartbroken for him. I looked up and saw people from the church waiting with my nephews, and people I didn't recognize. How did they get there before me? Who called them? It was wonderful that they were there, but I was so surprised to see them. I went in and saw my mom, sister and my dad. There he was. Laying there with a big black eye and a bruise on his head. He looked good. He looked like himself. I expected to walk in and see him and that he would look different, lifeless. But he looked like he was sleeping. He was so handsome. I would not let myself cry in front of my mom. I wanted to be strong for her and not add to her grief. And it just all felt so surreal. Like, how could this be happening? It didn't feel real at all. I kept expecting him to sit up and say it was all fine. I kept studying his hands. His little stubby fingers, hairy knuckles, nails bit down very short, always tan and calloused from hard work. I was afraid I forget what his beautiful hands looked like. I was afraid I would forget his laugh, or the sound of his voice, or the funny things he would say, or the expressions he made, or how he smelled. I was afraid I would lose the things you couldn't capture in a photograph. We stayed there for hours. Afraid to leave him. Wonderful pastors like John and Larry came in to love on us. My mom and family were amazing. We finally left and went to Annette's house. Aubrey and Aaron from the church had dropped off pizzas for the whole family, and the ladies from our Bible study came not long after with food for the morning. So many people blessed us with flowers, food, prayers and help in the following days. It still boggles my mind how much people did for us. We went to the airport to pick up Alyssa and drove past the spot it happened. To this day it's impossible for me to drive past it without thinking of my dad and the accident. But I can drive past it. That car, that place, that motorcycle, that accident didn't take my dad away. My heavenly Father called my daddy home, and not one minute early or late. We picked up a very pregnant Alyssa and Brian. We drove home in a very quiet car. We drove back over the spot. We stayed up altogether, but no one really spoke. We just kind of stared. Then, very late that night, we went to bed in little Joey's room, with Paige sleeping at our feet. All of us stayed at Annette's house for the next couple of days as family and friends came in from all over. It was an amazing time. God provided for my family in ways I never knew I would need Him to. He took care of food, bills, work - all kinds of things. He brought so much comfort. And the more I look back at that time, I see God's loving hand in all of it. He even tied up so many loose ends before my dad went home. The day he died, he had just finished the front porch he was putting in. I think now how painful it would have been for my mom to come home day after day to that unfinished. But mercifully, God allowed my dad to finish that beautiful front porch right in time. Also, about a week or so before the accident, Alyssa and Brian made an unplanned visit out here to see us. On a whim they drove out and spent a few days with my mom and dad and visiting with us all. God did not have to give us those last days together, but He graciously did. My dad had reinstated life insurance he had once let lapse, and a million other little things that revealed God's loving hand throughout that whole time and all the time since. My daddy told me everyday how much he loved me, that he was so proud of me, and that I was the prettiest girl. We didn't see each other without giving a kiss and a hug and lots of I love you's. I am so thankful that we left nothing unsaid, and that I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is rejoicing with the angels in heaven. My dad knew Jesus intimately here on earth, and now gets to rest in Presence all the time. I miss him, but I know that this is not the end. We do not grieve like those with no hope, because I know where my dad is and to whom he belongs. I know we will be together again. And I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful father and friend for almost 27 years. Most people aren't that lucky. I also don't believe in coincidences. I feel that my dad got to see Elijah and Evelyn before all of us did. Elijah has my dad's blue eyes, and a lot of Adams features. I see so much of my dad in him, and I rejoice that my dad will never truly be gone from us. The life that he led and the faith that he had will bless all of us for generations to come. This anniversary marks a sad and beautiful day when my dad left us, and joined Jesus. I feel very blessed to have had him as my dad. I miss you daddy, and I can't wait to be together again!

1 comment:

Zann said...

Gina - I just read this and I'm in tears. It's beautiful and I'm so glad that you have these wonderful memories of your dad and I'm especially glad that you have the peace that you have that this is all part of God's plan. I love that. I love you and still think about you often and the loss of your dad.