Sunday, April 3, 2011

Waiting for Daddy...

I don't think it's a secret that I love to read.  Seems there aren't enough book selections for me, once one is finished, I'm ready to pick up another one.  There is one book that hit home for me, and I finished it today.  The Shack.  Words wouldn't be enough to describe the book.  Alot of people have told me they couldn't read it, yet there was no way putting it down was an option; entranced would fit me perfectly.  Walk through the door at work, and you would find my head in the book. At any table in the break room during lunch,  reading was how I spent my hour.  Before the sheets would even touch my tired body, sitting in a chair in my room with the book in my hand came first.  So easy for me to relate to  Mack and the pain he felt, longing for answers, searching to find peace; hoping for some type of understanding in the senseless murder/death of his daughter.  

Take a trip with me, and you will better understand what I am talking about..

It was a normal April day; 1978.  Five children are getting ready for school, three girls and two boys.  Their father had already left for work, while their mother was making sure each child made it to the bus stop in time. At the corner of their block, the bus would stop and pick up all five children throughout the course of the morning.   It was a simple day at school, nothing big or exciting happened.  The ride home from school had the bus slowing on Highway 301, police and rescue vehicles were blocking one side of the road.  A bus full of students rubbernecking, with noses pressed against the windows as the breath from their mouths hazed a small area, were just trying to get a view of what happened, but nothing could be seen by anyone.  When the bus arrives at almost the last stop; three of the five children from earlier exit the bus, joking with friends as they all begin to walk home.  They round the drive way to their house and see an array of parked cars along the fence line.  Members from the church they attended, along with their mother, come greet the three children in the green grass of the front yard.  Swelled eyes and red nose, in the softest voice they have ever heard, their mother speaks.  It is then the three children learn their father was killed in an accident.  None of the still bodies knew at the time, the accident the school bus passed, was the very location where their father lost his life. 

The eldest boy, had turned 17 just 7 months ago, was now the man of the house.  The three girls looked to him for direction, support, and comfort.  While the next boy, who turned 16 during the same month as the eldest tired hard to grasp loosing his idol, was transformed into the rock for the family.  His knowledge of his fathers fix - it - ways were greatly depended on, and the girls found great comfort in knowing that some how their father was still with them, in their brother.   With the house dependent on the mother working to make ends meet, the eldest sister, who was 6 months into being 15, became the cook and baker for everyone.  Meals and menus were planned before school, and when {even sometime while} homework was complete, dinner was being served.  A 14 year old girl kept the house clean, started and folded laundry,  looked after the youngest child, set the table, and sometimes washed the dishes.  Keeping the youngest child happy is what she worked hardest to do, turning 9 the month before the accident and facing the death of a parent is a great burden for even the youngest member.   It felt like family when their mother was home from work, and on the days she was off almost made the lost of their father seem like a bad dream.  Maybe he was just away for a while, and would return again when he was through.  Simply enough, that is just how the middle daughter thought.  

Times were hard, but through it all the family stuck together.  Each year came and went, as the remarried life of their mother took hold, the middle daughter waited.  More often then not she would search the faces of other men. New members of the church, other fathers on the streets, doctors, police, firemen, and any male adults she came across;  for the one she longed to see.  Soon the house began to empty as each child found their wings.  Time didn't stop as the middle daughter wanted.  Though she prayed that happiness would find her mother, peace would surround her brothers,  her eldest sister, whom she loved deeply,  would find joy and laughter, and her youngest sister who she dreamed to be like would find hope and love.  She always waited.  Maybe one day, her father would return.  Maybe when he was through. 

During her graduation, she wondered if somewhere he sat in the stands.  Was he was proud of her?  While she walked down the isle at her wedding she scanned seated guest, just in case he arrived late to walk the isle next to her.  Hoping she was pretty enough for him.  When blessed with her first child April 30th,  she talked to him, hoping the winds carried her words.  At the site of her only son April 14th {two yrs after her first}, she longed for him to carry  her fathers last name ~ and when she suggested it to her husband, was faced with plenty resistance.  Somehow she thought, a son was a gift from her father.  She would call out to her father, hoping he would come see his grandson.  Again praying the winds would carry her words.  Even through the death of her youngest sister and later on in years, her divorce, the middle child never gave up hope.  Maybe one day, her father would return.  Maybe when he was through. 

As her own children found their wings, the middle child still waited.  Looking now at the men she dated for strength, conviction, foundation; part of who her father is.  Something she longs for.  Something she misses.  Times she found herself hearing his laughter, the way he would sit on the sofa during a football game, laughing and clapping his feet.  The jingle he whistled, would ring out in the wind other times.  Often she found herself standing in front of the colognes with a bottle of Old Spice after shave in her hand, the smell she remembered as a child lingered in her nose, not even realizing she walked there.  Always waiting.  Thinking, maybe one day her father would return.  Maybe when he was through.

Today the middle child lives in Texas.  A picture of her mother and father in younger years, sits on her coffee table.  She just finished a book, The Shack.  I sit here with tears in my eyes grieving the loss of my father 33 years later, knowing deep down inside he will never return; but praying he would gave me strength to go on.  Still longing for him even today, and wondering if I make him proud.   The way the author, in The Shack, described the place where Mack's daughter went after her death, made me picture my father there as well.  The crisp waterfall, the scents of wild flowers blooming, the grass so green I can want to reach out and touch it.  

It's just a book.  Words on paper.  A story of Fiction.  But, it gave me inner peace.  Broke a great sadness inside of me.  I can't explain it. Maybe this is how the healing begins.  I don't know, and so can't say.  Dreaming my father is lying in a field of green, looking at the bright stars, taking time to look in on  his family and smile.  It's easier visioning him like that, then thinking he can't find me. 

Crying while I waited for my father to return, was normal for me.  
Crying because he'll never return... is new.    

My daddy on the right, in front.  I miss you so much, it hurts.  ^ ^

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