The Day After Christmas is Very Hard!

It was 4 years ago today that my father died. He was very adamant about not ruining our Christmas by passing away on Christmas Eve/Day - so he hung in as long as he could until 5:45 AM on the 26th of December.

He was buried on the 29th of December, my anniversary with my wife. This year, we will have 12 years of blissful marriage together.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I have my health, a good job, good friends, and most importantly to me - my family. It amazes me how my children grow with each passing day and the leaps and bounds they make and how incredibly smart or talented they are, each in their own unique way.

Andrew can tear through books with the greatest of ease - and it isn't just reading the words, but understanding the concepts and stretching the bounds of his imagination. This is the year we start on a bit of Jules Verne, I think. He is reading the Yearling! amongst others great novels. He read Star Wars books 4, 5 and 6. He has read the entire Harry Potter novels and Little House series. Did I mention he is 8.

Erica has so much energy and vibrant life. She is 'pure energy' at its greatest. She can sing, dance and is starting to play the piano. Her talent doesn't stop there, she is a very good actress and loves to play parts and act out scenes with Mommy (any Hollywood Directors - pay attention). She is 30 years and 12 hours my junior, and I am blessed to have such a fireball share my birthday with me (and my twin brother).

Ryan. What can I say about Ryan. He has such a beautiful imagination and as much energy as Erica. I call Ryan my hybrid. He has the awesome intellect of Andrew and yearning for growth, yet the energy and unstoppable force of Erica. He is 3. We named him for my father. Ryan Martin Teeple (Martin being my father's God given name).

The last time I saw my father alive was on Christmas Eve in 2004. We journeyed to Modesto to the hospice he was staying in and tried to make the best of what we knew was a horrible event. The passing of a parent is very traumatic, but I guess the effect of the passing is probably magnified by the level of love and connection you had with that parent. I was happy that Cynthia and I had the ability to tell my parents that the Lord had blessed us with a new pregnancy and that I could tell my mother that with one life leaving, another is coming. It did not help that my son would not know my father, just as I never met my grandfather Teeple, whom passed a year before I was born.

My regret is not wanting to believe that my father was dying. For the weeks leading up to his passing, I didn't visit as I should have. I made excuses and talked on the phone, but did not take the time off work to drive my ass over the hill to see him in Modesto. To spend his final days. This is what hurts the most. How must it have been from his standpoint to not have his son by his side as he was dying. Mine was a defense mechanism but nonetheless, selfish in nature to the core. If I didn't see him, then I wouldn't have to accept and believe his mortality.

Yes - my regret is not being with him in the end. It is not being a part of that horrible ending to his life. To not also find the closure in the realization that the end of this life was the beginning of an eternal existence with God. That is the hallmark and a corner stone of my faith. For years, I was angry with God - bitter that my Lord took my father away from me, from my kids, from his wife. Angry.

But I have learned that my family is very important to me. More important than any technology or toys I can purchase. More important than a quiet evening at home alone. All the chaos of my family life and experiences, I would not trade for the world because they are what makes me the man that I am today. A father. A husband. A confidant.

I am blessed and if my life where to end tomorrow, I would be sad that I would miss out on my children's lives, but I would be happy for the time I have been given with them all.

Words to close this blog entry with? Live each day as generously as possible. Be generous with your time, your affections, your love and you will never go wrong.


God be with us all,


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