It is a hell of a thing to lose somebody you love deeply. And just with the passing of time, it doesn’t cease to be a hell of a thing. Time may knock the edges off of your hurt, but it never completely goes away. At least the hurt from losing my father hasn’t dissipated after six years. I don’t even think that is a bad thing.
I am very close to being finished with the final edit of “Love is the Middle: The True Story of a Father and Son.” For more information on the book, please visit this link to a previous blog: Love is the Middle: Thoughts on Finishing Draft One
I find that it is helpful when editing, not only to read the text through normally, but also once through aloud. Doing so, at least for me, forces a slower pace and I catch mistakes that I would otherwise miss.
With that in mind, I decided that for my out-loud reading of “Love is the Middle,” I would just read the book to my kids about a chapter per day over the course of a few weeks.As of today, we only have a few chapters left and I have enjoyed reading the story to them.
The chapter we read today was about when my dad told me that he had cancer and the three years leading up to his death. Reading that chapter to my kids, like several other sections of the book, was difficult. Since I wrote the entire book in a number of coffee shops, I was forced to visit many deep emotions in a public setting. It was one thing to write the book with all of my internal dialogue quietly being translated into text on a laptop by my fingers . But, I have found that vocalizing those same words to my children is quite a bit more difficult. I not only “think” the words, but hear my own words. The mere act of speaking some of the stories in the book versus only reading them has been quite a chore at times. But, I have managed through the book so far.
As I finished up today’s chapter, which included a story about the last full “normal” day I ever spent with my dad, reading became harder for me. Then, when I saw the next chapter to come, the one that tells the account of my dad’s death and the days surrounding it, I realized that I cannot do my duty tomorrow. When I only contemplated reading that chapter aloud, I quickly realized that it would be beyond the scope of my ability. Or, if not beyond my ability, beyond what I desire to do.
I suppose I will just let the kids read the rest of the book through on their own or perhaps my wife will read it to them. But, not me. It would just be too damn hard to speak all of the remaining words. Since I have not had much luck so far predicting how the book will hit me emotionally, I have no desire to break down crying like a child in front of my children. I think that would be the most likely outcome. Rarely do I hold back my emotions from my children, but some of them need to be for only me.
I hasten to complete and publish the book. I hope you will read and share it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Share this with the ones you love 🙂 -Luke
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Last week, I gave my four youngest kids a little two-part assignment. I asked them to first consider the two most important life lessons they have acquired during their tenure on planet Earth thus far. Second, to write them down in brief. Each youngster spent some time independently working on their thoughtful answers. I noticed that a couple of reoccurring themes surfaced. They did such a good job that I wanted to share their advice on my blog. The kids all said it would be fine with them. Here are the sagely proverbs they each wrote. Maybe there is something here you can use in your own life, no matter what your age may be 🙂
Nathanael- 14 years old:
- Don’t waste time on something or someone who is not worth it. Focus on what you are doing.
- If you want to do something, then do it.
Caleb- 14 years old:
- When studying anything, look at the facts.
- Live in the now.
Lydia- 13 years old:
- Don’t live in the future or the past. Live in the present.
- Every yes to one thing is a no to something else. Every no to one thing is a yes to something else.
Charity- 10 years old:
- Don’t let people talk you in to something you don’t want to do.
- Every yes in life is a no to something else. Every no in life is a yes to something else.
Do you see the hope on our young faces
As we embraced
A sweet sixteen years ago
Only days before we wed
Me in your arms
And you in mine
One of our perfect moments
I remember it perfectly
The feel of your shirt’s fabric in my left hand
How your hair smelled
The way your breast felt against my chest
As you made my heart beat faster
We knew not all that would come
Between that day and this
Not even the half of it
But we knew we would be living it together
I, who would be an instant father
Looked forward to calling your child my son
And of our four more children to come
Nothing was known of them then
Now to go even a day without their company seems a grave injustice
My dear wife
We have seen so many of love’s soldiers
Fall to the wayside
Injured or slain
During or journey
Yet, after 16 years
Stalwart and unified
Not only that
But expectant of what is to come
For better or worse
We are purposed
Still in love
And full of hope
As we celebrate our