Remembering those who have gone before us
Last month, my Dad would have turned 76 years old. We lost him in his battle with depression when I was 11 years old. He has been gone now for almost 22 years. It is still surreal to me to believe THAT many years have passed and yet there are days where I feel like the pain is still so fresh. I miss him everyday and wish so badly that my husband and children had known him.
In this struggle, I was asking God to show me a special way to help my family learn more about him so that we could begin a new tradition of remembering him. As moms, most all of us have seen Disney's Tangled. There is the most magical scene in the movie where Flynn Rider takes Rapunzel out in a boat to see the lanterns lit and lifted off in honor of the lost princess (which happens to be her). The combination of the beautiful song and the glow of the lanterns gives me chill bumps and brings me to tears every time. I believe this movie started the intrigue with the Chinese lanterns and I have noticed many people using them for wedding and birthday celebrations since. I decided this would be a wonderful way to celebrate my Dad. Instead of sending off a lantern on the day he passed away, I chose to do this on his birthday, May 13th. In wanting to remember the happy memories of his life, this seemed to make the most sense.
That evening, my husband helped me gather all five of our children. We walked out onto the sidewalk in front of our house and looked up at the night sky. I told the kids that today had been their Granddad's birthday. I had a picture with me so they could all see his face while we were talking. We talked about how loving and kind he was and how much he would have loved playing and laughing with all of them. I told the children we were going to start this new tradition of sending off a lantern in his memory every year on his birthday to help us remember him and to thank God for his life.
As the lantern lifted off, I said, "Happy Birthday, Dad!" And I spoke out loud my prayer of thanks and gratitude for my Dad's life…the legacy he left in me, my sister, and our children. I want his spirit to live on and I pray my children are able to know the amazing good he did in this world. The little girl that still lives inside of me needs to know that my Dad's life, even though it ended so tragically, was remarkable and is worth celebrating.
Thank you, God, for my amazing Dad…who would've made the best Granddad around.
Labels: Theme: Gratitude