To My Daddy,
To my Daddy, the words I use to write on most of your birthday cards every year. The words mean a little different to me this year. You would be 58 years old today if you weren’t already locked in time at forever 57. We lost you only 4 short months ago. Today is your first heavenly birthday and I can guarantee you are probably enjoying this day more than I am.
Shortly after you passed, I wrote a post about tips on dealing with grief after the loss of a parent. I did research, I talked to family and friends, and I journaled on what I thought would be great tips to share. I needed a “how-to” guide so I created my own. And you know me, Daddy, you now that I like my lists, my organization, my schedule, my checkmarks, and highlighters. I checked those boxes and I did the steps. However, I still don’t feel like I have “dealt” with the grief of losing you. What have I learned? That there is no “how-to” guide on loss.
I almost felt like a hypocrite writing that post. I felt like I couldn’t possibly give advice on dealing with grief because I feel like I am failing horribly at moving forward in this life without you in it, Daddy. However, your words rang loudly in my ear. “Why do you write, Lana? Who do you write for?” One thing you taught me, is that if your time, passion, and effort can reach even just ONE person, it was all worth it. So, to answer the question you asked me so many times, I write because I love it because my heart calls for me to put words to the page. I write for myself and because my words could touch others, even if it is just ONE person. You always felt that after spending decades in the classroom that if you only reached ONE student then you succeeded.
And, oh how you touched so many of your students, your kids, as you like to call them. It was truly amazing to hear all the stories from your students about their memories of you. I would be rich if I had a dollar for every student that told me that you were their favorite teacher. So many students shared that you were the only person to ever believe in them or to ever make them feel intelligent and worthy of more. You had this ability to give strength to the weak and you loved everyone. Seeing how many of your students reached out after you passed and the ones that showed up at your visitation/funeral was an honor.
More than one shared the memory of how you were always saying, “gooood morning it’s a wonderful, fantastic and marvelous day!” You touched the lives of so many…many, many more than just ONE.
Your passion for FFA and agriculture was passed on to many and you left a huge legacy, with your friends, family, co-workers, and everyone associated with FFA.
I wish I could have made you your favorite cake one last time. I loved the look on your face when I would surprise you with a homemade red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. You joked that it was all yours. “Mom and Landon better keep their hands off.” I like to think that you are being served a big, ‘ole red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and that it is the best red velvet cake you have ever had, even better than the ones I would make you.
Apparently, you would share your love of red velvet with everyone. A student of yours told me the story of you making special out of the way trips, while you were on school trips, to IHOP so you could eat their red velvet cake pancakes!
The plants from your funeral aren’t looking so good. It makes me so sad because I wanted to keep them thriving so bad for you. However, I also can’t help but smile a bit because it reminds me of a certain phone conversation we shared not too long ago. I had called you to check on how to keep a certain type of plant alive. You responded, without even missing a beat, “You leave it at the store.” What?!? Seriously, Daddy? You never had much faith in my green thumb or lack of. You always thought it was hilarious that you taught horticulture and yet you had a daughter that couldn’t keep a plant alive.
Your words live on inside of me and I read what you wrote in my two Bibles daily.
I miss you today, Daddy, so terribly. You had such a contagious laugh and smile. I miss the slightly annoying way you would wake me up each morning singing…
“Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!”
Even though, it was so annoying at the time, usually, because it was accompanied by you flipping my bedroom light on, I would give anything to hear you sing that song just one more time.
However, I have passed on so many memories and stories that you shared with me to my boys. Your grandsons love you so much and talk about you every single day.
Today, I want to remember you and how incredibly special you are. You have left a huge, FFA sized hole in the hearts of many of your students. However, I have no doubt that your words of wisdom and encouragement will live on and never be forgotten by them.
Happy First Heavenly Birthday today, Daddy! Or as you would say,
” Gooood morning it’s a wonderful, fantastic and marvelous day!”
I love you, Daddy. Save me a slice of red velvet cake!
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4