Sunday, October 16, 2011

Missing My Daddy

It's been a year since my 49 year old father died of a heart attack.  I've held up pretty good today, spending the majority of the day with my grandparents (who I love dearly) and my brother.   I still think of him every day and just about the time I think all my tears are dry, here they come again.  My dad wasn't a perfect dad.  But he was mine and I loved him.  A lot of people saw a lot of faults but I saw a man that struggled and all the while wanted better for his children.  Loved them enough to stay away at times.  Loved them enough to say he was wrong.  It took me until I was an adult to realize this, but better late than never. 

On that morning, my Grandma called to tell me he had passed.  I sat on the kitchen floor praying to God that my Daddy was in Heaven.  I knew he believed in Jesus.  But I've never lost anyone I was close to, so it wasn't something I thought about too much.  Of course he was in Heaven, right?  But he was a sinner, an alcoholic, not perfect.  I've never had a bigger sense of peace than I did at that very moment.  God wrapped his arms around me and told me everything was alright.  That my Daddy had made it home.

When we went back to his apartment to get his belongings, I found a list of bible verses on his fridge.  I don't know where they came from, but I know they were dear to him because they were stained and faded.  The title was "You say, God says."  You can read them all HERE.  It's here that I found the verse that is now on his monument. 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My Grace is Sufficient for You."  God never asked my Daddy to be perfect, just that he believe in Jesus and turned over his problems to him. 
I always felt like everyone thought of my Daddy as a sinner.  I hated that they judged him because I knew who he was underneath his addiction.  But the days surrounding his funeral I heard "your Daddy was a special person", "he always had a smile", "he always made me laugh", "he never met a stranger".  That was my Daddy and I was so proud that they caught a glimpse of the real him.   Anyone who has a family member with an addiction can relate when I say, their addiction is your problem.  But I will also tell you that I respect that man probably more than anyone I have ever known.  He struggled, and although sometimes misguided, he got up every day and pressed on.  Each day determined that he would do better than he had the day before.  Some days he did, some days he didn't.  He faced people that had given up on him.  He faced people that looked down on him.  But he kept going.  He loved with everything he had.  I never had a Daddy that could buy me a new car or take me on fancy vacations.  But I had a Daddy that loved me more than life itself.  Not everyone can say that! And I miss him dearly.

I take care of people.  It's what I've done since I was a little girl and its what I do for a living.  I love to make flowers for the cemetary.  It makes me feel like I'm still taking care of my Daddy.  Some people think that it's morbid to take pictures of monuments, but it is comforting to me for some reason.  Everyone deals with a loss the best way they know how I guess.

Remembering my Daddy today, Thomas Lee Rakestraw, "JR".  Loved & Missed.