September 21, 2013 marked the one year anniversary of my dad's passing. It was a hard day. I was so glad we could all be together. Chalise and I were able to go home for the weekend to be with my mom. The three of us went to the temple together Fri. night which was a special experience. We stayed up late that night talking and crying and watching the sweet, thoughtful home video that Caleb made of pictures of my dad. He made it as a tribute and it is amazing. On Sat. we planted a rose bush (yellow- dad's favorite color) in honor of him, ate his favorite dinner (cheese sandwiches) and then headed to the gravesite to take flowers. We talked and cried and remembered.
Oh, how I miss him. Sometimes I still forget that I will not see him again in this life. The grief overwhelms me at times. Everyone told me the first year is the hardest and it has been hard. Even though I know I will see him in the hereafter (and I'm so grateful for that knowledge), it doesn't take the pain away completely. If I allow myself to think too much about what might have been--what should have been--then it breaks my heart. He should have been here, holding his two newest grand babies, taking his grandkids down the river, playing in the Symphony with my mom, getting ready to retire and serve a mission. I heard someone once compare losing a loved one to losing a limb. You gradually learn to walk again without a leg but it is incredibly difficult and your life is never the same.
Someday I hope I will understand all the reasons why. I do know that my Heavenly Father loves me and he has a plan that is greater than I can possibly comprehend. He sees all things--the end from the beginning, and he needed my dad on the other side more than we needed him here. He has not left me comfortless the past year. He has helped me carry this heavy burden. The scripture in Matt 11 that I have read all my life has had new meaning for me. "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." I have come to understand the Atonement more deeply and personally than ever before. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." I can honestly say that amidst the sorrow I have felt peace.
I had a really great dad--the very best. I am so grateful for all he taught me, the way he raised me and the incredible example he was for me. He loved us so much--he loves us still-- and he is watching over us from the other side of the veil. My Mom has a framed saying in her house, "God doesn't give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we are given." I know that to be true as I have felt that help (seen and unseen) this past year.