Paying my dues to the club

If there is a heaven, this is what it would look like for my father.

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The day my father died suddenly was the day fate handed me a lifetime membership in The Dead Dads Club. Everything shifted in my world, which had already turned on its axis 18 months earlier with the birth of my first child.

I like to think I grew up that year, that I became a better person as a result of these events.  I like to think once I change for the better, it is a permanent change. Just as all of life is fleeting, so is any state of being. One day I woke up to realize I am riding the same trajectory as my father.

Today, my post is on Mama Mary’s newly launched site, The Dead Dads Club. It is through this longtime endeavor of Mary’s that we met online four years ago. The site is a companion piece to her book, a compilation of essays from other members of the club. It’s  a club we all wish didn’t exist, to which diminishing membership would be a plus. But life is not like that. People come into our lives and they leave. Ours is not to know the when, where, and why, only to know that it is inevitable and we must stumble along the dark path from grief to healing.

Click on over and read for yourself. Thank you.

Tear jerker with happy ending

Like most of us, I read a variety of blogs. Some I read for the pure beauty of the prose — even if I don’t have anything in common with the writer. Some are so well designed you just have to come in and spend some time admiring the wallpaper and furnishings.

Others always guarantee a good laugh to chase the blues. And then there are those you stumble upon quite by accident. What you see stays with you for quite some time. This is what happened when I found this family’s blog.

At first glance, it looks like a typical family blog with pictures of cute kids and trips to apple orchards. But this is a family blog with a message. You can read their message online or maybe you caught this morning on NBC’s Today Show. It’s available here if you missed it.

This blog brought tears to my eyes for many reasons. Obviously I have a place in my heart for China adoption since I am part of the community. I firmly belive that the China Center for Adoption Affairs works magic when it matches babies in need of homes with waiting families.

The other half of this family’s story is an unknown to me. It is every parents’ worst nightmare. I have no idea what they must have endured to get to where they are today. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I wish no other family would ever have to know such a thing.

I’ll stop here. As much as I’d like to, it’s not my place to tell this family’s story. My take away: there really is healing after sorrow, hope after despair, and that no one ever should drink and drive.

Oh, and don’t forget to hug your babies.

Roots

This post may appear to be funny, based on this:

But, it’s really not so much. 

Because it represents this person who’s no longer in my life. This person who was once such a huge part of my life we may as well have been married. A best friend, like a sister kind of person. A talk-to-on-the-phone-every-day kind of person. A person who leaves a big, gaping hole in your life when she is no longer in it.

I have written about her struggles and how it has affected me. Maybe I’ve blabbed too much to the Internet. (We all know how well Ms. Internet keeps secrets.)

The friendship has been over for a while, but I was too busy paddling against the current on the River DeNiAl. When I finally fell overboard and the shock of reality woke me up, I went through a whole range of emotions: anxiety, anger, mourning and finally acceptance.

After her own personal efforts to seek help failed, family and friends intervened. After two months, it was apparent our efforts were less than effective. She had played us. She had outwitted us all, the dimwits that we are, I guess.

This outwitting really stung and hurt. However, it appears cosmic justice has banged her gavel. Just desserts have been served on a cold, hard platter. By this time, I have learned how to live without her. No e-mail. No phone calls. I’ve had one exchange of mail, which included a small card featuring the above odd carrot character and this message:

The cure of an ill is not to sit still,
or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire.

Rudyard Kipling