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One year....

One year anniversary. NOT that this feels like something to celebrate. How can death be something to celebrate? But nevertheless, tonight is the one year anniversary of my father-in-laws death. Death..no matter how it happens...is tragic...heartbreaking...life changing. Death by suicide adds so many other dimensions to that. So many questions. So many feelings of guilt....why didn't I see it? Could I have changed anything? Life becomes about secrets because the truth - suicide - carries such a stigma with it. And yet, unfortunately, suicide is so prevalent in our society today.

I can still remember everything about that night. The phone call. The mind whirling. The fear. Wondering if he made it or not. How? Why? How?

Then the months and months and months of agonizing questions. The anger. To be honest, I still struggle with anger towards him at times. Even though I too wrestled depression and yes, contemplated suicide, not too many years ago, I STILL struggle with the selfishness of it all. Sean has been my constant source of level-headedness when I go off on my wild tangent of pain. He reminds me of all that Bud meant to us, who he really was and what his life was all about. And so...in honor of this anniversary, I'd like to share those thoughts with you.

My father-in-law, Edgar, or Bud to those who knew him best, was one of my best friends. The last 12 years before he died were filled with so many happy memories together. If I try really hard I can still hear his laugh and it makes me smile and then cry. :) He was the catalyst for me to begin this blog and writing. He would call me and say "so Lisa, when are you going to write that book of yours?" and I would just laugh him off but he didn't give up, he would always be encouraging me forward. He LOVED his grandkids. He would come up to visit and spend time playing with them, wrestling, tickling, ball, you name it he would do it if it made them happy. He was at the airport for each of the Korean babies homecomings and at our house as soon as we were home for the last two. In fact, my in-laws helped ENORMOUSLY to bring each of our adoptions into being financially. He was so giving and loved St. Jude's. He was so smart. Seriously smart. And like me he loved to read and gain knowledge from books. We often would talk about something he had read or just learned. He said his favorite place on earth was here on our mountaintop. He said it was so peaceful here which always made Sean and I laugh because we thought it was anything but peaceful with all the chaos and noise that comes with 5 small children! LOL! He loved to enjoy life and made friends wherever he went.

Not a day passes when I don't think of him. My precious children still talk about grandpa in Heaven with Mordeai (our dog who passed this summer, Smokey, our cat and Geronimo, my dad's goat). However, Gabriella, 8 years old, has been the one who hasn't forgotten to bring grandpa into all our family celebrations. I still cry when I think of her picture she made for grandma for Christmas and the constant reminders of her thoughts of him through her pictures and cards of him. I guess one thing that hurts the worse is knowing they won't have him there as they grow. That the littlest ones won't remember him.

In some ways a year feels so short but then again it also feels so excruciatingly long. We've walked through some things this past year that I never thought I could have nor do I ever want to again. BUT, we have grown in our faith and in our relationships with one another. I always said before family was the most important thing to me but now, without a shadow of doubt, I can say it loudly. Life is too short. Make each and every moment count. Love hard.

Bud is gone but not forgotten because after all...love never fails.


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