There isn’t much I am more afraid of than living a life of irrelevance. Of any other fear, this surpasses them all. To come to the end of my life and have it amount to paying my bills and taking care of myself… what a nightmare.
Yesterday my father’s death, along with the death of 12 other members of his church, shook me in a way I have never been shaken before. I love my mom, but I was always a daddy’s girl.
I remember 5am coffee and coco (he had coffee; I had coco). We were both early risers and would enjoy that special time before my siblings and mom would wake up. I’d be rubbing sleep out of my eyes but dad had already been up praying and reading his bible.
My hair isn’t quite long enough or else it would be in pigtails today. Dad loved my hair in pigtail braids. And I loved my daddy so I wore pigtails… through high school. It didn’t matter how big I was, I remained daddy’s little girl.
Church was a huge part of our family; I was born on a Wednesday and sitting on daddy’s lap in choir that Sunday. My parents didn’t attend church… they were the church. My parents have served in every role that a church has, from music minister to secretary. Dad loved people and cared that everyone know about him.
But my dad was in his prime with pre-teens. Maybe it’s because my mom always said he was “10 going on 2” and often behaved with the maturity of his kids. But really my dad just knew how to have a good time and knew how to be serious when the need arose. The kids loved and respected him and he has impacted innumerable lives.
My father wasn’t a teacher who collected a paycheck. He loved his students with everything in him (and was often accused of acting their age). Thousands of students sat under him in the private schools and public schools he taught over the years. These students and their parents have shared so many heartfelt stories of how dad impacted their lives.
Painful as the grieving process is, reading through the comments and memories shared by so many people who have been impacted by my father has been a source of strength.
As I said last night, my heart aches at the thought that he will never see me in a wedding dress or hold my firstborn. But I know with full confidence that my father ran his race and completed his mission. The ripple effect of his life will be felt for generations.