Saturday, December 14, 2013

His 7th Anniversary and how I wish to truly see

Seven years ago today my father passed from his earthly life and began his eternal life.  He was diagnosed ten months previous with a nerve sheath tumor.  Three weeks before he died, he came into full communion with the Catholic Church.  At his glorious funeral, 13 priests were in attendance and the bishop of our diocese.  I know this was a nod at my saintly mother who prayed and sacrificed 33 years for his conversion.

Every time I look at this picture I see time not in the past, but how it is now with him in heaven.  He loved hunting.  I see his smiling eyes looking out.

 It is an odd phenomenon to feel so young yet to only realize that you have already hit once again one life's major milestones.  I was pregnant with Zellie when he died.  It is funny to me that my children will never know the man who gave me life.  His death was beautiful and peaceful.  We prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet moments after he had passed away.  Sometimes, I am not even sure I realize he really is gone "gone."  When we are home visiting in Kansas, I wait for his green truck to turn the corner of Mill Street at dinner time because that was how it was my whole life.

Dad in his OFFICE.  My second most prominent visual memory of him is him sitting at his desk and especially how he held a pen.  Memories are so strange.  I remember how he gripped his pens so tight.  He loved his job.  He loved finding families just the right home to live in.  John asked my father to marry me in this room also.  John tells the most beautiful story of when he drove down to Kansas to ask my father's permission.  He said my dad shook his hand and said "It's about time.  Come on in and let's talk."  After talking, John told me my dad welled up with tears and and said, "This is all so strange and it was just yesterday I held her in my arms (as he cupped his arms like holding a baby."  He also told John, "Lindsay will be a good wife to you.  She was such a good daughter and always listened to us."  Aren't those words worth gold?  This picture is also painful as it reminds me of one of my last times in his office sitting directly across from him.  He had just received word that his cancer was terminal and he had only a couple months left.  I sat looking at this "healthy" individual.  We were both crying for about 5 minute and then I looked up.  He said, "Honey, I thought I was going to live to be an old Geezer, but I guess not."  His whole concern was getting everything ready for my mom and little sisters.  He loved them fiercely. 
 My father was without shame when it came to the issue of human life.  He was Pro-Life to his inner core. Abortion was his hot button.  He witnessed ten lives being born in the delivery room with my mother.  He was famous at our local hospital for the smile that he exhibited after the arrival of his newest child.  Even as a child, I remember my own father's joy.  I wish I knew how to transfer video because we have on a CD my father seeing our Dominic for the first time. He had "the smile."  The one he saved specifically for the birth of a child.  If I close my eyes, I can see him now holding my firstborn nervously adjusting his Kansas Jayhawk hat because he was about to cry in front of a whole room full of people.  I can see him kissing Dominic's head and trying to soothe him as he started to cry just a bit.

Yesterday, we celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe.  She is the patroness of the unborn.  We were sure that he was going to die on her feast, but alas God had chosen the next day which was the feast of St. Lucy.  St. Lucy is also important to our family as she is the patron of eye doctors.  Being that it is John's public vocation and the anniversary of my father's death, we celebrate St. Lucy extra special in our home.  We talked with the kids this evening about what a gift our vision is, but more importantly our spiritual vision and how we must wish "To See" correctly as hopefully God-willing my father and all that have gone before us do.

Today, I cannot help but think of Bartimaeus and his request in Mark 10:51 asking Our Lord "Rabbi, I wish to see."  I am Bartimaeus and I too want to see.  I am often very spiritually blinded especially by my fears.

My father was a graduate of Kansas University majoring in journalism.  He was a true wordsmith with a hysterically dry sense of humor.  His letters are a treasure to me.  I am so glad I kept each one.  Most of my siblings came to help our family move a couple weeks ago.  We were all gathered in the living room and I began reading his letters out loud.  What a joyous and tear-filled evening remembering him and laughing at his funny ways.  For some of my siblings, his death is so very raw.  My brother Dominic misses him so very much.  He was senior in high school when he passed so I know the hundreds of memories while living at home and see him deteriorate are so very painful for him to remember.  I was home visiting to witness their morning routine together once.  Big Dominic would physically carry my dad in his wheel chair down the steps each morning.  Dominic brought him so much joy.

I have many "favorite" letters, but this one is near the top.  He wrote to me during my college years and in the midst of boy struggles.  We had a tear-filled visit on the phone.  He encouraged me to just be and enjoy these quick college years and stop worrying.  I received this letter shortly thereafter:

I didn't enclose the first page because the picture wasn't readable, but he began as such:

Dear Lindsay,
How are you doing?  Tuna says "Hi"!  All is OK at this end.  You don't have to play B-ball 4 years.  Just take one year at a time.  I want you to play women's pro B-ball so it won't be 4 years, it will be more like 10-12 years.  After that, I will want you to "stay home."  Always remember that advice and tell your kids after I'm gone to: "Stay home!"  Nothing bad happens when you stay home.  But, have some fun too.  These are your free years so to speak.  We can't wait wait to see you Monday night at Barton.  It should be excite-a-quora.  I'm enclosing a little money for you and will send some to Luke too.  We have been selling some houses so I'm temporarily rich.  I think that you will be happier if you concentrate on a few things for now.  If things are to work out, they will but now is clearly not the time.  You need to see a little of the world while you have the chance.  See chart on back of page:

"Lindsay' Life"


12 years-    Child under care of loving parents.  Teen-quora-growing up phase.

18-19   rebellion teen-quora phase which is normal.  Child thinks parents are irrelevant.

19-25   college, fun, education, meet people. work, sports, carefree era of Lind-ed's life.

25-50    married, children, buy home, settle down, go into debt.  heavy responsibilities.

50-     see parents "croak"-getting older yourself.

50-70   golden years.  Your kids have kids.  hope for good health

70-75   husband croaks

80-     Hilltop. (Our local nursing home).

85-    Croak yourself.

So, you can see by this dramatic chart, you should have a long life, with your college years a very small part of the total picture.  Enjoy them.  Love, your Dad.

Love, Your Dad.

For the past three years, it has worked out perfectly to SEE a play in honor of St. Lucy and in memory of my father.  We just returned this evening from seeing Little Women at the Lincoln Community Playhouse.  They performed the Broadway version of the show and we were all entranced by the singing especially of Jo and Meg March.  If you live in the Lincoln area, you won't be disappointed.  I spent most of my time WATCHING our kids enjoy the show.  Rose sat on the edge of her seat the whole show and Vianney watched motionless.

We toured the art gallery.  Dominic found Mirkwood.

With Jo March


  1. Lindsay, I remember praying for your dad the year he was sick. One of my close friends at Franciscan was a friend to your sister and your dad was one of our intentions for months. I'm so glad he came into the Church before he passed away. He sounds like a wonderful man and a great father. Thank you for sharing about him.

  2. Thank you for reminding us all to cherish the time we have. Your dad is still smiling at all of your most precious "achievements".

  3. Thanks Lin. That was awesome!

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. The role of fathers are so incredible important and irreplaceable. Praise God you have such a beautiful, loving father. Oh and what an amazing conversion story, there is always hope!

  5. This is beautiful and I love your Dad's letter. My Dad died when I was a senior in high school, it was truly difficult and I still miss him to this day.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Glad you are all settled in your new house!

  7. We just saw Little Women today! It was really sweet. My girls loved it, too!

    I love your dad's letter. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Thank you very much for sharing this... Lindsay, I believe your father spends his time the Father's heavenly forrests and... enjoys hunting spirits all kinds ;-) I bless you and your family from all of my heart. Regards from Poland! <3 Lucy