Thursday, October 06, 2011

Five Years Later

Honestly, I wasn't sure how today would go for me.

Today was the anniversary of my Dad's death. It's the first time I've been in in Roanoke for this day in four years. Over time, October 6 has gotten a little easier to get through. But I just wasn't sure about today.

I've heard that milestones can be a little harder to deal with. Five years seems like one of those milestones. And it's hard to believe it's been that long. On top of the milestone, I'm back at home. I'm back in the town where all of my memories are.

But it really wasn't that bad. Not like I anticipated, which is a good thing.

I didn't break down at any point. I went about my day like normal. There were times when I had trouble focusing on the task at hand. Kind of like now. But I promise, I got through my work day, I'll get through this blog post.

In the car I decided to pop in a CD of my Dad singing. It's not something I listen to very often. Usually, I'm afraid to listen to it. I'm afraid of what hearing his voice will do to me emotionally. I'm of the belief that driving becomes much more difficult when you try to see through a flood of tears. But today, I listened. And I did okay with that too. Again, better than I thought I would.

Anyone who had the chance to hear the man sing knows what a phenomenal voice he had. When I was a kid, I remember overhearing a conversation between a couple of the older guys at the church where I grew up. It was during a Sunday morning service and Dad happened to be singing a solo. I was standing out in the hallway listening to him over the speakers in the ceiling. These guys must not have seen me standing there, or they may not have had the conversation they had.

One turned to the other and said, "There's a guy who really missed his calling." The other just nodded his head in agreement and went on listening to the song. At the time, I just smiled, thinking this guy was right. Dad had a great voice. At some point somewhere in his life, if the right person had happened to hear his singing voice, things could have been very different for him.

As I've grown up and looked back at my father's life and the passion he had for music and his church, I'm more and more convinced that he followed his calling to the letter. Yes, he was incredibly talented. I've heard more than a few people say that hearing him sing gave them chills. And they always meant that in a good way. But to say he missed his calling because he wasn't a household name would be way off base.

He was never happier than when he was serving in the church. To the very end, he was singing to the tops of his lungs. The night that he died, he was with his church family, helping them prepare for an upcoming event. He spent his last hours in this world in a place that he loved, working side by side with people he loved, serving the God that he loved.

I miss him, and I'll never stop missing him. But I know that any tears that I shed are selfish. Those tears come from a place of wanting him back here, wishing I could hug him again and talk to him about everything that's been happening for the past five years. But he's in a better place. I realized that immediately on that night five years ago.

I can't sit here and say that I mourn his loss. Not anymore, anyway. Instead, I celebrate his life. Knowing the man that he was makes me smile. Knowing the life that he led makes me proud to be his son.


  1. beautiful post. beautiful perspective.

  2. thank you for sharing your grief and your growth ... its inspiring!