An Unexpected Death

And then my father died.

It was rather unexpected.  He could have and should have died so many times before from major life-threatening surgeries, but he didn’t die.  God’s grace, I know.

When my father left this world in 2008, I thought a part of me went with him.  Though he would have never have been nominated for a father of the year award, he certainly was still a good influence in my life. In a way, my dad dared me to dream.  He never laughed at me.  He supported me.  That support launched me into being on my own in a big city far from home.  That belief in me was more foundational than I realized.  The journey to the big city, Ft. Worth, Texas, was a catalyst for unraveling and unbecoming.  I knew my father believed in me.  I never realized how powerful his belief in me was until after his untimely death.

Oakland Cemetery Atlanta by Jennifer Upton

Oakland Cemetery Atlanta by Jennifer Upton

2008 began an era of crippling indecisive consciousness.  My sense of being had been rattled.  I needed ground for my feet to land.  My dad had been that kind of foundation for me.  My staunch supporter and life affirmer.  He may not have been a perfect father (he struggled with his own demons, but don’t we all?), but in his sober moments, my dad had a depth of wisdom and discernment that guided my life toward a positive direction.  I stayed away from drugs, promiscuity, and alcohol.  I got good grades and took my academic studies seriously.  I stayed out of trouble.  I may have had a lot of inner turmoil, but my dad imparted wisdom that kept me from doing a lot of detrimental, stupid things in my life.  I’m grateful.

At the time he died, my life became all work and no play.  I played well at being busy.  I even took my first recovery class, but the fruit of it wilted and again I found myself struggling for meaning and purpose.  I found it difficult to just “be.”

Learning to “be” was uncomfortable for me.  It meant owning all of my life with bold confidence.  Mine was violently shaken, torn away from me the day I lost my father and we laid him in the grave.

I didn’t know I needed to hear a voice of assurance or affirmation.  I equated being successful or being a failure to self worth.  I equated job performance to personal worth.  I believed if life went well then I must be okay.  I unhealthily attached the circumstances of life, and they were having their way with me.  I was bruised, battered, and broken.

I was wrong, and a major overhaul was about to begin.

(this is only an excerpt of my memoir – a work about to be in editing process)

Stay tuned for details…


12 thoughts on “An Unexpected Death

    • Thank you Susan!

      This was one of my “hard things” to write about in Story 101, but I took time to write it all out in memoir during Camp NaNoWriMo in April – it was an exhausting process, but I am grateful for the opportunity. It has lead to becoming and believing more of who God says I am and what He made for me to do.

  1. I’ve been hearing a little bit here and there about Camp NaNoWriMo … it sounds like it was a great experience for you! Do you recommend it? Is there a cost involved?

    There’s nothing better than becoming and believing more of who God says we are and what we’re meant to do!

    • Susan
      I joined the one in April so that I could finish my memoir. I had previously set a May 2013 deadline but wasn’t doing anything to get there (accountability wise that is). It helped me get and stay focused. You can have a word count of whatever. It’s free – no cost. I created an FB group when we did it to help me keep going forward, so that was cool. I highly recommend it. It’s a great get-it-done tool!

  2. Thank you for sharing your personal and positive memories of your dad. What a wonderful impact he had on your life. Looking forward to reading more of how God has led you to be the person you were meant to be!

    • Thanks Carolyn. That saying of “hindsight” is 20/20 is so true. Much of the appreciation came after the fact – but there was grace even in that. More about that will be shared in my memoir which is about to be an editing work in progress. 😉

  3. Thank you for sharing. I’m reading this praying that the children in this generation will also have stories to share about their dads. I have a lovely relationship with my Dad and though he is not a saint, I am glad to have that relationship. Dads really matter in their children’s lives.

  4. I appreciate how much your father meant to you. I cannot relate because I did not share the same thing with my father. But even though he was abusive, God still allowed me to learn a great many things from him. And God showed me that He could be the father I never had.

    • Anne,
      So true, mine was far from perfect – alcoholism destroys families in a subversive kind of way that we don’t always realize until later. I write more about that in my memoir. This post didn’t address all of that, but still God gave me a different view of my dad, and I’m grateful.

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