All I Feel is Love

dadandme

My best friend said something to me recently over the phone that has stuck with me ever since she said it. Kristi and I talk often and have been friends since we met during the first grade in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have a lot in common. Mostly these are happy similarities. For instance, we married good friends, we now live in Tampa and are both busy raising a son and daughter.

Unfortunately, we share another event in common. We both lost our fathers suddenly. It’s been a long time since my dad died in a car accident on his way to work almost twenty years ago. Kristi’s father died of a heart attack three years ago. As I was weeks away from giving birth to my daughter, Phoebe, Kristi was getting on a plane by herself to go across the country to Arizona, hours after receiving the devastating call from her mom.

The roller coaster of grief is a painful ride. It was heart breaking witnessing Kristi go through the initial shock and rawness of losing someone she loved. She would ask me in the beginning if time really helped heal the pain, and I told her it would certainly assuage the rawness. However, as many of you know all too well, the pain sticks around. Sometimes something triggers us seemingly out of nowhere, and grief gets a hold. The ride starts all over again. I have learned the only way to deal with this is to give it the attention it demands and so rightly deserves.

So a few weeks ago as we were chatting, she brought up her father, so I took a deep breath and listened. She prefaced what she was about to say with, “Okay this might sound really weird.” She spoke of how happy she feels these days. She went on to say that at times she feels happier than she did years ago when her dad was still around. I knew exactly what she meant because I feel the same way.

Happiness lives side by side with sadness, and I think this is only possible because of gratitude. When life changes in an instant, it affords us the opportunity to look around at all there is to be thankful for. Now, more than ever, we both feel really fortunate to have had fathers who loved us so much and are still very much a part of our lives. I think perhaps we even appreciate and understand our fathers in a way we couldn’t have when they were here.

This kind of gratitude is so big and all encompassing. It causes tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It is this kind of gratitude for knowing deep down inside that as awful as death can be, life is its constant companion. Something beautiful is not even right around the corner but is right here, right now sitting next to us.

It can be hard to let go and accept what is. However, maybe it helps to know that no matter what, there is always – even if it’s as small as a little blossom on a plant outside the window – something to smile about.  And for that I feel limitless joy and infinite gratitude.

As I miss my dad today, I think of something my son, Will, my Dad’s namesake, said when he was about four. I had accidentally shut the car door on one of his little fingers earlier in the day. When I asked him if it still hurt, he looked up at me with his big hazel eyes and said, “All I feel is Love.” And love never ends, it goes on and on and on.

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12 thoughts on “All I Feel is Love”

  1. Thank you for sharing the difficult lessons that you and Kristi have learned through the losses of your fathers. I didn’t know your dads, but I know part of the legacies that they left and I know that they must be incredibly proud of you both. I will take your words with me, especially this Father’s Day weekend. You are so wise and so deeply beautiful, Lindsay love! I look forward to every single blog post!!

  2. Lovely, Lindsay! I’m sorry for your grief this Father’s Day but I know you will experience and appreciate the joy in your husband and kids on that day too! Looking forward to reading more posts. Congratulations on starting your blog.

    1. Sweet friends, thank you for taking the time to read this and write such heartfelt responses back to me. Your words of encouragement and support mean the world to me. Sending you all love and blessings.

  3. L- I don’t know if you remember me but I definitely remember your bright light from elementary school and slumber parties. 🙂 I saw your picture on Kristi’s page and smiled at how all this time goes by and you two look just as you did so many years ago….and that led me to your page. I heard of your Dad’s passing years ago but hadn’t heard of Kristi’s loss… And now Tori and so many others who have to deal with this type of heartache. It’s too much sometimes to think about what has happened to so many families. While so many celebrate today, there are tears too for fathers gone too soon. I too lost my father nearly 30 years ago in a car accident and just wanted to say that your blog post was beautifully written. The happiness part and gratitude made me choke up… For you two to see that amidst grief is something not many can do. I hope you keep writing… For you and for the people who can learn so much from you. Much love to you, Kristi, Tori and everyone else who has to move on after loss with chins held high with grace, gratefulness and strength.

    1. Kate Unger! It is so wonderful to see your name and hear from you. Of course I remember you! You are so right, I am constantly overwhelmed with what so many people endure in this lifetime and I am so encouraged and hopeful at how difficulty brings new meaning and hope. I am so sorry you lost your dad too in such a sudden and awful way. You were so young, my goodness. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write this wonderful response, it brought tears to my eyes. I am becoming more and more grateful for facebook and its way of connecting people! I am sending you love and infinite light my friend. Tell me what you are up to when you find a moment!

  4. Wonderful memories, Lindsay! Your dad was one big, handsome, beautiful guy — my oldest cousin who I always looked up to (figuratively and literally). I think about him all the time — and remember the early days of his romance with your mom and how excited all the Ketchams were! Your mom would look up at him with the most adoring smile and of course he looked down at her with that same loving look. Wishing you much peace and love and hoping our paths cross soon, Kathy

  5. Thank you so much for helping me get through such a sad Father’s Day. My cousin Chris Blandford is married to your friend Jaime. Jaime knows I have been struggling with my Dad’s death in March of this year, and in patticular with my first Father’s Day with out him. She sent me your link, and tjought it would help me if I read your blog; I did, and it did. For that, I thank you <:

    1. Hi Roxanne,

      Thank you so much for writing to me. I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. He will be with you forever and your relationship will continue to grow in ways unimaginable. I wish you much love and light during this time. One book I know of that has helped myself and many friends is call Grieving Mindfully by Sameet Kamur. Take Care, friend.

  6. Hi again:
    As someone who has lost a father as well, I can say that it never fully heals–the wound of losing a parent is too deep–but it does leave a lovely scar.
    What happened to you and your friend was brought home to me recently, when an ex’s step-father was struck by a car on his walk home and killed. I knew him rather well, and though we didn’t speak the same language, we communicated in other ways, and had reached an understanding of sorts. Here’s what I wrote following his death…

    Fatherless

    What comes arrives at cost:
    a human life. Not just anybody’s—
    but the one come worldly, before,
    to usher you in.

    Here for awhile, then a turning,
    cyclical, a round as the circle widens
    to exclude you, leading him away.
    So far you can’t begin to fathom it,

    the distance like braille to the sighted,
    sound to the dancers once the music
    has died. Memories, crouched in the body,
    that want nothing more than to stand

    and walk from here, from this place
    and time of abandonment, with little left
    to hold but your own two hands
    clasped together.

    Praying he might return,
    willing him back into the world,
    if only to bid him goodbye. But
    from each hard sorrow’s loss a gain:

    For the stranger, belonging.
    For the fatherless, a new kind of fatherhood.
    For the widow, sons and daughters,
    solace—along with the promised reunion.

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