Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Bid Farewell to the Way of the World

It seems like every Sunday as I'm playing the hymns during church that I'm reminded of my dad.  There is always some stanza that just touches me and brings me comfort in the fact that although I miss my dad terribly, he's home.  I'm so glad that I'm exactly where I'm at every Sunday on that piano bench because it brings me peace.  I'm so grateful for hymns.  The song that tugged at my heart Sunday totally took me by surprise because it's more upbeat and joyful sounding than the usual ones that get to me. It was "The Way of the Cross Leads Home."
"Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it never more;
For the Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
Where He  waits at the open door.
The way of the cross leads home,
The way of the cross leads home,
It is sweet to know as I onward go,
The way of the cross leads home."
This was the last stanza, and I could just see my dad humming this as he goes about his day in heaven.  I could see a happy, peaceful smile on his face. I remember thinking when I was younger that my dad looked "jolly" when he smiled.  That's seriously the word that popped in my mind, too. And it was what popped in my mind Sunday morning.  I haven't thought about that in a long time.  It brought me comfort and reminded me again that while my heart aches, his is whole and perfect. 
I've been missing him an awful lot lately.  There's nothing to say or do to make it better; it is what it is.  I found this Bible of his on my bookshelf.  I'm not sure how I ended up with it, except that I think I probably liked  the size of it and decided to keep it for myself years ago, but regardless, he had marked a few scriptures in it.  It's neat to look for the ones with markings on it, highlighters through it, and notes beside it.  He hadn't used this Bible very much (I guess I swiped it before he could put too many marks on it), so it's not a lot, but it's like a scavenger hunt to find them and try to get a glimpse of what he was feeling at the time.  One verse marked is Isaiah 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."  I love this.  I felt like I found a gold mine the first time I saw it.  God provides comfort, and that's a fact.  Below is a beautiful psalm I came across while looking for my dad's marked scriptures. 
Psalm 42
As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.
Thank you God, for your comforting words.  Thank you for being my Savior and my God.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for everlasting strength.  Thank you for the assurance that my dad is happy and just downright jolly.  How could he not be?  He's with You. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Miss Him

It's been three years.  Three years at this time I was in labor.  31 hours to be exact.  I'm not soon forgetting it, either.  My grandma Bryant and Michael's grandma Coomes stayed the whole time.  Bless their hearts.  My grandma wanted so bad for that baby to be born on her birthday- July 21, and trust me, so did I.  But it just wasn't meant to be.  I can't believe it's been three years now that I've gotten to be a momma.  I absolutely love it.  It's the most fun thing I've ever done.  It's the most exhausting, but the most exhilarating time of my life.  It's the most challenging, yet most rewarding.  I love my little Cohen.

Newborn sweet baby!

Cohen's 1st birthday!

                                                                       Cohen's 2!

                                                                     This year- silly boy

I've been getting ready for Cohen's birthday party tomorrow.  But my heart aches because my dad won't be here.  I miss him so much.  I. Miss. Him.  I just miss him.  I missed him last week on vacation- I would always call him and check in and tell him how it was going.  I missed that. I wanted to tell him how much fun we were having, how pretty the water was, just hear his voice.  A part of me is missing.  Not having him there tomorrow will make my heart ache .  Cohen not knowing his pawpaw makes my heart break.  I just can't believe he's still gone.  Gone forever.  It stinks.  I missed him yesterday, I miss him today, and I'm going to miss him still tomorrow.  I wish he were still here.  I wish we had known his heart hurt.  I wish we could've helped him. 

It's been one year since I took these picture.  Last year, on July 21, we had a birthday celebration for my Grandma Bryant.  A big fish fry. I'm glad I took these sweet pictures.  Dad was so tired the next day at Cohen's birthday party.  I still have the text he sent me telling me he was sorry he left early.  I wish I could get another text from him. 

I know without a doubt that Dad's in a better place.  The best place.  I know he's loving it.  But it's going to take me a while to get used to him not being here.  I can't even talk about him without crying.  That's why I blog.  I can talk about it here.  I can say what I need to say and feel better. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sweet Dreams

All my life I've been a dreamer.  Not just figuratively, either, :-).  Very much literally.  I have wild, crazy dreams, and it amazes me the details that I can remember from these dreams.   Dreams can totally mess with one's head, you know.  Some of them can feel so real- emotions can run so high; it's just truly exhausting to sleep some nights.  Haha, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes I do feel a little worn out after all of my night escapades.  
I have mixed feelings about my dreams.  Some of them leave me feeling content, happy, excited- but others suck the life right out of me.  I don't have those very often, thank goodness.  I just wanted to write about my dream last night.  I wish more than anything it was a video, so I could play it again and again because, as with any dream, it will fade with time.  I've been hanging on to it all day.
I was with some friends at a strange house, and I was going on and on about my life, describing all of the things that were happening and telling them about how happy I was.  These people knew all of this about me, so I couldn't figure out why I kept on telling them, until I noticed someone in the corner.  It was my dad sitting in his old recliner from years ago.  I was going on and on because I wanted him to hear me, wanted him to be proud of me.  And then he did pull me to the side, gave me a hug, and told me he was so proud of me and the life I had. 
The dream went on; of course I can't remember all of the details, but I remember the last part vividly.  I asked him if he was coming to Cohen's birthday party, and he said he wouldn't miss it for the world.  He was standing at the counter reading the newspaper.  I broke down and just started crying, telling him how sorry I was for not spending more time with him.  It was one of those really awful dream cries, where you're heaving and can barely breathe.  He put the paper down, looked at me, and said, "Now you know, Ashley Nicole, that no matter what ever happens in this life, nothing could ever change how much I love you.  Nothing. You mean the world to me."  It was just so real.  I literally woke up crying.  I miss him so much.
I'm writing about this dream because I don't ever want to forget it.  It was like he was really here.  I need to remember it.  It was like he came to see me last night.  I know that he didn't really, but it was just so comforting.  Even though it has made me feel so sad today, at the same time, to have a conversation with him, even if it was in my dream, was just so wonderful.  And I've had other dreams about him, but they were much sadder, and I'd rather let them go.  This one was a gentle reminder of who he was.  My daddy.  Oh, I wish he were here to hug me.  To tell me he loves me one more time. 
Blessed are those who mourn, 
For they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4



                                                  These from last year's fourth of July.