August 19, 2014
August 14, 2014
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” - Haruki Murakami
My lovely friend Erin shared these words on her facebook page this week and they resonated with me in a big way. You see, my family and I have been going through one helluva storm these past 6 months. I won't go into detail of the hardships and losses we've faced in just a few short months (because like the quote says, I don't even know that the storm is over yet), but I can say that I am forever changed. We are all forever changed.
In the eye of this storm is the greatest man I have ever known, my father. His passing has been heart wrenching, gut wrenching and the most difficult thing I've ever had to face. These are the words I shared with our family and friends in memory of him, The Rock.
If there is one word that best describes my father, it’s ROCK. The word “rock” has several entries and over 15 definitions in the dictionary – most all of them relate to dad in some way.
Rock, verb: To move back and forth in or as if in a cradle - - I don’t particularly remember dad rocking me to sleep as a baby, but I’m sure he did. He was my go to guy when it was time for bed, helping me brush my teeth and get into my pajamas, picking out a stuffed animal for me to sleep with in our game of dolly surprise and inevitably tucking me in, turning out the lights and saying goodnight. On those nights when I had a bad dream or had a particularly hard time getting to sleep, dad would gently rock his hand back and forth on my back until I felt safe again and drifted off to sleep.
Rock, verb: To move forward at a steady pace - - I don’t believe I know of a single time in my father’s life when he wasn’t moving forward at a steady pace – the two key words here being “forward” and “steady”. He was always a man of purpose and strong intent. His decisions were calculated and controlled – after all, he was an engineer and let’s be honest, it takes a certain kind of person to be an engineer. Dad was a master at self-discipline in all aspects of his life and it served him well, allowing him to work his way through college and graduate school, eventually moving forward at that steady pace to receive his PhD. And he continued moving forward, steadily rising in his career as an executive in the semi-conductor sector, taking us to New Jersey, North Carolina and eventually, back to Texas. Even in retirement, he didn’t give up moving forward at that continual steady pace, focusing his self -discipline on the game of golf and serving his community on the Property Owners Association.
Rock, noun: something like a rock in firmness; foundation, support - - My father was the rock of our family. He was steady and unwavering in the face of uncertainty. He was strong and dependable when times got tough. He was understanding and supportive when life took unexpected turns. Above all, Dad was always there for you when you needed him. He was a provider and an advisor. He was a man who never expected more from others than he expected of himself. He was a man of high standards who believed in doing the right thing. I think Dad knew God put him on this earth to take care of the people he loved and to make sure we were all well looked after. Our rock may not physically be with us anymore, but the foundation he built for us while he was here will carry us through till we see him again in heaven and until then I know he’s looking down on us, watching over us and loving us.
Rock, noun: slang for gem, diamond - - one definition of the word “gem”: a highly prized or well beloved person. Dad was and is our family gem. Quiet and reserved on the outside, he had a heart of gold on the inside that steadfastly and intently loved his family and friends. Like a diamond, he formed and performed under great pressure throughout his life. He was known to many and precious to us few. He was one-of-a-kind. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a grandfather. He was my dad and I couldn’t be more proud to be his daughter.