Monday, July 18, 2011

"Homesick" by Mercy Me

Throughout the past 3 months, the way that I have "survived" and dealt with my grief of Dad's passing has been to force myself to remember the good things, to be thankful for the times I did have with Dad and to always tell myself, "Even though I can't see him, he's still here in some form, listening, agreeing, laughing along with us."

I also admit that sometimes I have even forced myself to STOP thinking about things simply because I know that if I continue, I will be a mess and not much use to anyone. Of course I have my moments of sadness, and of course I miss my Dad and of course it hurts, physically hurts in my heart, at times, but I guess as they say, to each his own.

So anyway, in light of all that, I wanted to share this song I heard on the radio a few days ago, not to pour salt on anyone's wounds, but just because I think my Dad deserves to have the words to this song posted on his site. It's a song that I have known for a long time but only recently heard again and that time, it took on a whole different meaning.

"Homesick" by Mercy Me

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times,
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you.
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you?


I close my eyes and I see your face,
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place.
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow.
I've never been more homesick than now.


Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways,
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know.
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same,
Cause I'm still here so far away from home.


I close my eyes and I see your face,
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place.
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow.
I've never been more homesick than now.


In Christ, there are no goodbyes,
And in Christ, there is no end.
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have,
To see you again,
To see you again.


And I close my eyes and I see your face,
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place.
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow,
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow,
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow,

I've never been more homesick than now.

Missing you Daddy. Can't wait to see you again one day, I really can't.
-Alisa

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweet Home Pennsylvania

Tee and I just got back from a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. About a week before we left I started getting a little nervous about having to drive through Pennsylvania since that's where dad's from. So I did what I do best: I thought and worried....and worried and thought. I decided to ask Tee if we could get there (from Virginia) without having to go through PA. I knew the answer, but it was worth a try. Let me take that back...not worth the try.

Well, the time came and finally we piled our bags and ourselves into the car. Tee and his brother wanted to leave around 12am so to get ahead of DC morning traffic. "OK, maybe we'll get through most of PA while it's still dark?? At least that way I won't be able to see much of anything" I hoped. By the way, one thing I can say that I definitely got from dad is his luck. And as luck would have it, the PA sunrise is around 5:30am. Which gave us juuuuust enough time to be a good hour into the freaking heart of Pennsylvania.

So I woke up to find myself surrounded by the endless, green, tree-covered mountains of dad's home state. I was sad. I missed him. The "actual-hurting-in-your-heart" kind of missing him. I remembered all those trips that dad, mom, Alisa, and myself used to take to Uncle Pete's house. "Pete's Farm"..that's what dad used to call it. "I wanna take a trip up to Pete's farm soon" he'd say to my mom. "We can just drive up 17. I wonder how that damn dunkey's doing". I could hear his voice. I remembered my mom passing out snacks to the three of us, then resting her arm on dad's shoulder and gently rubbing his earlobe with her thumb while enjoying the views, no snacks for her. This would be every snack time, every trip. I remembered when we got close dad would turn on his CB radio, give the handset to Alisa and I, and tell us to say "Hey, Uncle Pete! Ya gotch-yer ears on?!". And I remembered never needing any music on because listening to dad's childhood stories was a better kind of entertainment.

On the way back down through PA from Canada, I realized I was feeling safe in the familiarity of what was outside my window. For the first time, I felt at home there. I wish I would have been able to say that while dad was still here. I wish I could have let him know that I appreciate Pennsylvania. That it's somewhat sacred to me now. And that one day, I'd like to call it home too.

Thanks for the memories, daddy. Love you.
-Diane

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Phone

This Father’s Day will be a different experience for me. For most of my life, I’ve been able to either wish in person or on the phone a Happy Father’s Day to my dad. This year, I won’t have to look for his number on a contact list or make sure I have good cell signal. I’ll be using a new model of communication. This one is lightning fast, lightweight, highly reliable and always has a good signal. This year, I get to use a very dependable courier to deliver my message. I’ll pray. Granted the transmission of my signal will be much faster, stronger and more efficient than my reception of Dad’s response. But, the response will be there. I’ll just have to listen a little closer and feel the response with my heart instead of hearing it with my ears. I do long for the old way because it was something I had grown accustomed to over the years. But as time and life march ever onward, I am forced to give up the old technology for the new. It’s going to be very hard to get used to, but I have faith and confidence and that makes the new change just a little bit easier. I love my dad, he is forever with me not only as my namesake but woven into every part of who I am today. I know my sisters and brothers as well as many others will have to make this adjustment as well to this new communication method. It will be easier for some than for others, but it will work just as effectively. As a father myself, I am immensely honored that God has blessed me with that privilege and honor to be a father. My hope, my goal and my dream is to be able to pass on to my children that which my father has passed on to me which is in the words of George Strait, “Love Without End, Amen”.
I Love You Dad. - Mike

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thoughts of Grandpa

I get on face book and I look at my profile picture, grandpa and me on the day I graduated high school, I want to change it. I want to move on from this, it doesn't feel right yet. I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I wanted to, I didn’t get to talk to him as often as I wanted too. Probably because for a long time I just assumed I had time. I didn’t have enough time, I need more time.

It hurts too much to read the memories that are on the website. I struggle with it because I wish I had more time, for as much as I loved him I should have gone to him and created more memories. I guess this is what death is, the should have’s and the could have’s. I don’t talk to anyone about it because the last thing I want to hear is people telling me that I should be happy with the memories I have, he loved me, everything I don’t want to hear right now. I’m living in should have and could have moments and I can’t change them.

I always played pool to impress Grandpa, I loved it. I loved making him proud with my shots and form. The thing I loved more than playing was watching him play. Grandpa would play with grace and confidence. He was never overly confident, but I think deep down he knew how good he was. The way he would glide the stick along his fingers amazed me, it has been the only thing that ever looked natural to me. There are times in your life where something just makes sense, this was my moment. Grandpa and his pool stick just made sense. He’d never hit the ball to hard, he’d never hit it to soft. Grandpa and pool go together like ping and pong, it was poetic the way he played. I remember looking at his face in games, his eyes focused deeply on the cue ball, but his overall facial expression just looked content. I’ve watched professional players and they never have the look Grandpa had. I never realized how much I focused on him playing until recently, I don’t know that I’ve ever given this much attention to anything else in my life.


I have yet to pick up a pool stick, I have yet to meet my friends at the pool hall. I don’t know that I will again…I guess pool right now just doesn’t make sense to me.


I love you Grandpa,
Dawn

Well Said

Something dad used to say that came to me today and made me laugh:
"When I die, I want to be buried face-down, so the world can kiss my ass."

Miss you, daddy..
-Diane

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Cry Out To Jesus" - by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time

You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus


When your lonely (when you're lonely)
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus


To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight


There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus


Miss you, daddy..
-Diane

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Looky!!"

(The first paragraph might be a little hard to read or a little disturbing. It talks just a little about how difficult dialysis was for dad so if you'd rather not know, you might want to skip to the second paragraph.)

Dad really hated dialysis. I mean hated it. When I would pick him up on Saturdays from his dialysis, he'd always say (in an exhausted tone) "...aaaahhh! Now I don't have to do dialysis for two whole days. I'm so glad I don't have to go back until Tuesday." This, of course, broke my heart. Every time he'd get in the car and say this, it would just make me so sad for him. His right arm where his fistula (dialysis port) was would be completely bandaged up. Sometimes with dried blood smears down his wrist and hand or between his fingers. I'd open and close the door for him because his arm would either be sore (from where they would insert the needles for access), numb (when he would remember to use his salve so he couldn't feel the access), or just plain weak (from having to leave his arm in the same position for 4 straight hours).

Needless to say, I hated seeing him like this. I mean hated it. For some reason, about a week ago, I started remembering this part of dad's treatment and how much I hated the fact that this huge fistula was in his precious arm. His once strong, healthy, perfect arm. Now also covered with bruises from his being on blood thinners.

But the other night I had a dream about him. Mom, Alisa, and I were sitting on my couch just chatting. Dad walked into the room, pulled his right sleeve up to his elbow, and said in the most playful voice "Looky!!" and held his arm straight out in front of him. No fistula, no bruises. Just like new. Then the three of us started clapping and cheering as loud as we could "Yaaaaay!!! No more dialysis, no more bruises!! YAAAY!!!" And he was sooo happy and was smiling and laughing soooo much. And that made me happy too.

Yay, Daddy! Your arms are as good as new. I love you.

-Diane

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Resurrection Body

One thing that's really been a struggle for me (as mentioned in one of my earlier posts) has been a certain question: What does dad look like now "in heaven"? Does he look like dad? Is he a younger version of himself? Is he an angel? Is he a mist? Is he a sphere of light that floats around and glows brighter the closer he physically is to God? Is he still dad or now just another being in heaven with no distinct form?

Alisa and I were both wondering that same thing while visiting dad's grave site the other day. I asked her what she thought and she said something like "I don't know. I've been trying to understand that too." I'm not sure if anyone else has been thinking about this or not. I guess no one will know the exact, literal, most accurate answer until we join him in heaven but hopefully this helps someone else like it's helped us:

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (some verses skipped)

  "35 But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come? 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another...41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
  42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor,  it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body...50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable...55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Daddy, even though your body was "sown in weakness, it is raised in power". Love you so much.

-Diane

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Struggling for Memories

Time has a deteriorating effect on my mind it seems. Maybe it's the rush of everything trying to capture the something that washes by like a tidal wave against a soccer goal. Somewhat disappointed that I could not recount that 'one story' or that 'one memory' to share, I realized suddenly this evening that beautiful jigsaw image is made of pieces each telling its own story. There are many memories or at least snippets. Some of which I choose to lock away forever for personal reasons. There may be some that don't think this is a fair approach but I think all will have something to keep personal.

SO what is it that pops into my mind at this late hour? Music, Saxophone, Creativity and appreciation. My memory(ies) tonight are captured in song.

I give you these to cherish, to remember, to step back into days gone by. Songs that I remember dad playing or listening to time and time again. - Mike








And one more:




April Shower

I wasn't able to sleep very much the week dad passed away. Actually, I was averaging about 2-3 hours a night. I would stay awake late looking at pictures. Once I finally went to bed, I'd just lie awake...WIDE awake and think or cry or pray..then I would get out of bed, usually around 3:30 or 4am and sit in front of the window, just watching the world slowly come to life.

I'd watch the sun slowly come up making everything bright and new. I'd get angry with the sun. I'd feel like it was teasing me just by rising, like it was obnoxiously saying: "GOOD MORNING, WORLD!! It's gonna be another BEAUTIFUL day!! Even though, well.......you know.....but anyway, GOOD MORNING!!". I felt (feel) like every day that goes by pushes me farther and farther away from the last time I talked to him, ate with him, hugged him, looked at him, heard his voice.
 
One morning, Thursday morning to be exact (2 days after dad went), I decided to take Oliver out for a walk before too many people and cars crowded the streets (like dad said to Laura in her "Three Deep Breaths" post). It was quiet. Cool. Still. Not the slightest breeze in the air.

I was walking, thinking, just missing dad. I was looking at everything around me, trying to find something that I could relate to him. I thought "Are there any pick-up trucks around?" I looked around....no. "Anyone working on a car in their driveway?" Looked again.....not this early. "Any fathers teaching their daughter to ride a bike???" I probably wouldn't have wanted to see that yet anyway.

Now, instead of people or things, I just wanted there to be something, anything in nature that I could look at and be reminded of him through. I thought "Daddy, I wish we had the chance to share something in nature together that will always remind me of you." Just then I was walking under a line of trees and out of the still air, came a sort of swirling rush of wind, causing the trees to sway and completely shower me with hundreds of spinning maple seed pods (which I think of as helicopters). They were landing on Oliver's back and head and in my hair and all over the street. I reached my hand out, caught one, gave it a kiss, then tossed it back up into the air and watched it disappear among the others. Then I said "thank you" to dad.

Yeah, maybe it was a coincidence. But maybe it wasn't.



Daddy, you flew helicopters, drew helicopters, even built little model helicopters.
Now you'll be remembered through them too. Love you, daddy.


-Diane

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dad's T-Shirts

Dad had a collection of t-shirts with some of the funniest sayings. I'm going to start a list here and as we remember them, we can add to the list.

Here are some of the sayings from his t-shirts:

1. "Welcome to America. Now speak English." lol

2. "My Kids Think I'm a Bank"

3. "You Might Be a Redneck If..." (I'll have to find this one and write down the list of things it had on there..funny stuff..)

4. "To Be is To Do - Socrates
     To Do is To Be - Sartre
     Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra" :)

Will add more as we find/remember them. :)


-Alisa

Addendum:

5. "Liberalism is a mental disorder" (I'm actually wearing this t-shirt right now. Dad apparently didn't care much about offending anyone. haha.)

-Diane

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"I'll Never Forget Your Pops"

Yesterday I was out in the front yard of my mom's house and an old friend of the family happened to be driving by. When he saw me, he pulled over and got out of his car to say hello. We talked for a little while and he told me how sorry he was to hear about Dad. Then he told me a story that really lifted my spirits that day.

He said, "Man, I'll never forget your Dad. I remember one time when I was just a kid at church, some of the bigger kids were bullying me, telling me I couldn't sit next to your Dad at lunch. Then your Dad said, 'Don't listen to them, Lawrence, you come sit right here beside me.' I'll never forget your pops." I could tell it got to him as well to even hear himself tell that story, because he had to put his head down for a few seconds.

As we said goodbye and he got back in his car and drove away, it dawned on me, what an impact my father had had on so many different people--young and old, male and female, whatever.

He definitely had a way of making every person he met feel special; my sister Laura described his ability to do this so well in her last post. He always rooted for the "underdog", he always made sure people were treated fairly around him and he never played into any of society's "games" about the "haves" and the "have-nots" as he would like to put it. He was the real deal.

I was so thankful our friend Lawrence shared that story with me. It was a quick, two-second story, but it really reminded me of Dad's heart. So thanks to my friend Lawrence. And thanks to you, too, Dad. :) Love you so much and missing you still.

-Alisa

Friday, May 6, 2011

Three Deep Breaths

As many of you know, Dad had a way of making each of us feel special, like we were the most important thing to him and that he cared for us more than anyone else.  He had special songs he would sing with us when we were little or little nicknames he’d give us…mine was Bunky.  Of course I knew deep down that he had enough love inside to go around and loved all of us so much.  But from as far back as I can remember I cherished any time I could spend with him, especially our one-on-one times. 
One memory in particular was when I was about 14 and I went to visit Dad at Ft. Belvoir.  I brought my friend Sheree along so most of that visit had to be shared.  But one morning, I woke up and saw Dad at the kitchen table putting on his shoes (Sheree and I were sleeping on the living room floor).  I asked Dad where he was going and he whispered, “For a walk.  You want to come?”  Of course I replied yes and hurried to get up.  He put his finger to his lips and said “Shhh, don’t wake anyone else”.  As we walked, he told me how he liked to go for walks early in the morning, before too many people were out and about.  He told me that before the cars started crowding the streets and polluting the air, I should take three deep breaths to fill my lungs with clean air.
I’m sure we talked about so many other things that morning, Dad always had great words of advice, but for some reason, the “3 deep breaths” stayed in my mind.  If I find myself out and about early in the morning, or even just thinking of him now, I remember that walk and breathe deep.
Laura

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oliver, stay!

As many of you know, Tee and I have a dog named Oliver. He is HUGE! We're not sure what breed he is exactly, but we're pretty sure wild stallion is mixed in there somewhere. What you may not know is that Tee and I almost made the HUGE mistake of giving him back to the seller that we bought him from.

After Oliver's first night home, Tee and I were debating on whether or not we should keep him. You see, it was a very loooong first night. Complete with a lot of pooping, peeing, and whimpering. Tee and I decided that we just weren't ready to be parents. So the next day, we brought baby Oliver over to mom and dad's house to ask them what they thought about us possibly taking him back. It was so hard for us because he was just so darn cute. That, and we hated the fact that we brought him into a loving, safe, forever home only to rip it away from him. Lord only knows who would've ended up with him (poor thing).

Anyway, mom and dad were trying to convince us to keep him. I don't remember much about the exact conversation but I do remember Oliver sleeping soundly in a basket in front of a cozy fire and the four of us sitting around him, just watching him and talking. Tee and I were so torn.

Ollie woke up and looked around for a place to potty so Tee took him out. A few minutes later, Tee burst into the room and said "Dee, I told him to go peepee outside and he did! He went outside, he went outside!" (this was the first time in 2 days that he didn't go in a house). Right after Tee said that, I looked over at dad. And dad said "If you keep him, he will be a great dog." Just like that. Like he just knew.

Well, to make an even longer story short, we kept Oliver. Those words that dad said still ring in my ears even to this day and everyday I look at Oliver and I'm so glad we decided to keep him....I think "he is a great dog". And he loved, loved, LOVED his grandpa.

You always knew exactly what to say, daddy. I love you.

-Diane

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Happy Dream.

Last night, I had a dream about Dad. He came back to "visit" for a few brief moments and he looked so happy and well.

He was talking to us about different things, I can't really recall all the details today.

But one thing he said in the dream did stick with me.

He said, "I've got to get back there (heaven). MAN! (in his excited voice) They are taking SUCH good care of me there."

And that was it. He looked so happy, and he looked really, really good.

-Alisa

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm sorry, this got rather long !

About a year ago I was in the middle of a tumultuous and emotionally draining phase of a dating relationship. I confided in some of my friends about it from time to time when it was really bad. At that time I called Alisa a lot because Diane and I were kinda not speaking (ok, we were flat out not speaking). One day I had a very bad phone call with my boyfriend and I felt awful. Once again I talked to a friend about it and afterwards I felt no better. I felt like I needed to talk to someone older, perhaps a man (with some insight into the workings of a male brain) that had a different perspective. Although I appreciated the advice and kind words my friends gave me I felt like in a lot of ways they didn't understand, after all these are all girls the same age as me and prolly not that much wiser than me on the "facts of life".

I wondered who I could possibly speak to and lean on and gain wise words from. I really wanted to speak to an older man, a sort of father figure but I couldn't think of anyone. My own father and I were not close and even if we were he was deceased, I had a stepfather, nice enough guy but for some reason I'm not comfortable talking to him. I thought about Mr. Peters. I hadn't seen him in awhile cause I had moved to northern VA and plus I wasn't on speaking terms with his daughter so that could prove to be awkward.

But I gave in and called him anyways, I had to talk to someone.

I can't tell you what Mr. Peters said to me during that phone call (cause I don't remember) but I do remember this small thing, "Tina, I love "love." (he said this with much enthusiasm in his voice). "And I don't know about the ins and outs of your relationship with him but from what you tell me it sounds like you love him and he loves you" and he went on to speak and said that I just needed to let the relationship takes it course and that even though tough times were upon us now that hopefully we would overcome it in time and that on the other side our relationship would prove to come out stronger.

At the end of the phone call I felt lighter. I felt like I had gotten the different perspective that I needed and he had calmed me down about some stuff and eased my soul. And I really needed that at the time.

As I get older I am learning more and more about myself and one of those things is that growing up without a father present has been in a big factor in shaping who I am. When we were younger I was always jealous of Diane and Alisa, they seemed to have the perfect family, parents intact. I told myself not having a father was unfortunate but not a big deal either. But looking back I realize how important it is to have a dad. Thankfully my mom did the job of both parents as best as she could and I love her and thank her for that. But I am also very glad that I became friends with Diane and Alisa and that Mr. and Mrs. Peters are my second set of parents. I'm glad I gave that phone call to Mr. Peters and I am so thankful that he was willing to talk to me and let me lean on him.

Mr. Peters, you are the kind of father that I always wished I had and I am blessed to have known you and blessed to be a friend of your family. I wish I took advantage of your listening ear more often and I wish Brandon had the chance to meet you too, I think you two would have gotten along well. When I told him what happen I guess he had already heard so much about you and your family that he wanted to come with me down to NN. Sorry he couldn't but he really wanted to, it was the first thing out of his mouth after "I'm sorry." when it happened. We have overcome the challenges of the beginning of our relationship, just like you said we would, and it turns out he loves me, just like you said it sounded like he did.

I will truly truly miss you.

love,
Tina

p.s. just incase you are wondering, Diane and I are speaking and friends again, apparently it was just a bump in the friendship

Saturday, April 30, 2011

He kept his promise

There are so many things I can remember about Mr.P. The one that I keep close to my heart is my 18th birthday. That is when Mr.P had a massive heartattack and had to have triple bypass surgery. When he got home I told him we need him around a lot longer. I said that he had to promise to
1. Walk Alisa and Diane down the aisle
2. See me graduate college
3. See me get married

Years later while sitting in his tv and he looked over at me and said Helen I kept my word. (the last promise was Diane's wedding in 2006)

So of course I told him we need him to see our kids now. He told me that wasn't part of the deal (with his big smile) Alisa would often tell me that he would bring up the promises he made and how he kept them. It just touched my heart that he remembered it!!!!
LOVE YA MR.P See you soon

-Helen

His Hands

I remember watching dad work on cars when I was little and seeing his hands covered with grease and oil, but still looking so perfect. I always thought he had such handsome hands but never really told anyone, or even him. Sometimes when we were just sitting, watching TV or something, I'd look over at them resting on the couch or holding the remote and think "Those are my dad's hands. I love those hands". They were so big and strong but still seemed so gentle.

When I was a little girl, he would always reach his hand out for me to hold when we were crossing the street, or I would reach for his hand even when we were just walking somewhere. I guess as I got older, it became less and less cool to hold your parent's hand..so I stopped reaching for it.

He would hold Alisa and I by our ankles with his hands, face us away from him, run around the house, and act like we were going to crash into the wall but STOP just in time, and say "eeerrrrrrkk...!!!" He drew really cool pictures with his hands, played the sax, cooked the best cheese eggs, cut holes in the walls to save Alisa's hampster, pull my ponytail, give me high fives and say "high five!". When I was REALLY little, we would thumb wrestle and even though my hands were half the size of his, I'd still somehow beat him...so I thought.

I even remember him telling us the story over and over about how when he first started dating my mom, he acted like he pinched off her nose and said "I got your nose" and made a fist but put his thumb between his index and middle fingers and held it up to her face...not knowing that in Korea, that's apparently how you flick someone off. Next thing he knew, she yelled "how can you do that me!?!?" and started crying. He, of course, loved that story and would laugh so hard whenever he told it.

They were the best hands. They were my daddy's hands. And I can't wait to take a long walk with him again, hand in hand.

Thanks for letting me win all those thumb wars, daddy. I love you.

-Diane

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hearing Dad's Voice

Over the past week or so, one of my biggest fears, much like my sister Laura, is that I will forget. I am so afraid that with each day that passes, I get one day further away from him, and one day further away from all the things I knew and remembered of him.

That is really, to be honest, one of the main reasons why I wanted to do this blog. So that I wouldn't forget.

I can be such a forgetful person, very much an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of person, so I was so afraid this would happen with my memories of my Dad.

And if anyone deserves to be remembered, it is my Dad, of course, because to me, he was my Dad.

But the funny thing is that lately all I can hear is his voice inside my head. Telling me how I should think or repeating his old phrases that I didn't realize I knew so well. "Keep your chin up", "Everything's gonna be alright", "The Lord never gives you more than you can handle." :)

For being the "grumpy old man" that he was so often, he was surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) an extremely positive person, especially when it came to cheering me up.

So every time now that I think about something and wonder how I'm going to deal with it, I hear his voice.

A very close friend of mine assured me the other day,"Don't worry, girl. You'll never forget your Daddy."

I am starting to realize she was exactly right.

Even if this blog got completely erased, or all the pictures I have of him were gone forever, or the little blue book where we were writing down his jokes, etc. got stolen, even if I could never physically see him with my eyes in a photo again, I realize now that it will be ok.

I carry the most important parts of who he was to me in my heart, and that will never be lost or forgotten.

I miss you, Dad. I love you.

-Alisa

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dad on Sax

We all know how much Dad loved jazz.  Whenever I heard a sax I thought of him.  One of my memories of him was when he came to pick up my brothers and I one weekend.  Before we left for the weekend, the four of us played a "combo", as he called it.  Dad on sax, Mike on drums, me on violin, and Mark on trumpet.  I don't even remember the song we played...just that we did.

After Dad's 70th birthday, Adam stayed in Virginia for a longer visit with his Grandpa.  One day he and Dad were sitting around talking and Dad was playing his sax.  Without Dad's knowledge, Adam used his cell phone to record him.  Thank you Adam for giving us the gift of not only hearing him on sax but to hear his voice as well, for as long as we want.

-Laura
video





Thank you Dad for saving my life.

While listening to my sister Alisa read about all the things she remembered about Dad, I tried to recall all of my own special memories, jokes he’s told me, words of wisdom he gave me, basically everything.  But they all were blurred, if there at all, and I was so scared they were lost forever.  Then, a few days after returning to Arizona, they started coming back to me, and one by one, I started writing them down.  I even kept a notebook and pen by my bed because I found myself waking in the middle of the night remembering one more special moment…one more story.
I want to share them with all of you on this blog because many of these “stories” are ones he’s probably told you as well and if not, will give you yet another glimpse into the life of the man we all knew and loved so much.  I have quite a few so I’ll share one at a time.
One of my earliest memories was probably the most important, the day my dad saved my life.  We were all at Grandpa and Grandma’s neighbors, the Burnsides, swimming in their pool.  I’m not sure how old I was but I know I didn’t yet know how to swim so I was hanging out in the shallow end with my brothers and cousins.  For some reason, I decided to follow by cousin Karen around.  She jumped in the shallow end and I followed.  She got out of the pool and I followed.  She climbed up the slide and I followed.  She slid down into the deep end and I followed.  Only then, bobbing and gasping for air, did I realize that was a bad decision. 
My dad was standing on the other side of the fence, talking and watching, when he saw, in his words, a little brown head bobbing up and down gasping for air.  He immediately scaled the fence and jumped into the pool and rescued me.  My next memory was him holding me so tight, trying to soothe me, and teasing me about how I made him get all wet, including his watch and wallet.
The next thing I remember was him convincing me, not pushing me, but encouraging me to get back in the pool.  He said I didn’t have to but that if I didn’t, I may never want to swim again.  I was so scared but trusted him and since I knew that’s what he wanted, I got back in the pool.
Thank you Dad for saving my life.  Because of you I was able to grow into the person I am today and not only appreciate, but experience life.  I know I’ve made you proud because you told me this often.  I just hope I told you enough how much you mean to me.  I love you and will miss you…until we see each other again.
Love,
Laura

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dad's senior high picture I believe. So handsome!

The Blind Man and the Blondes Joke

Dad loved to tell this joke and we loved to hear it. :)

"A blind man walked into a bar and asked for a beer. As the bartender served him a beer he said, 'Ok, I realize that you're blind so your beer is in front of you.'

The blind man thanked him and asked, 'Hey, wanna hear a good blonde joke?'

The bartender, a little angry said, 'Because of your blindness I want to tell you that I'm 6 feet 4 inches tall, weigh 250 pounds and I'm blonde. The guy at the end of the bar, my brother, is 6 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 280 pounds, is a sumo wrestler, is also blonde, and the guy at the pool table is 6 feet 4 inches tall, is a Golden Gloves boxer and is also a blonde. Now...do you still want to tell that blonde joke?' asked the bartender.

After thinking a few seconds, the blind man said...'Not if I have to explain it three times.'"

-alisa

"Probably my favorite poem"

Since dad passed, I've been wanting to have a vision or a dream about what he's doing now. Everyone kept saying how "he's in a better place" or "now he can go anywhere with us". I can accept those thoughts in the sense of his memory or him being "in our hearts" but I wanted to know that he..the person...the man of dad...his physical body-renewed, if you will, was still alive and laughing and thriving somewhere else. What would have been even better than a vision or a dream though would be a "sign" or message directly from him somehow.
I never knew dad to be into poetry, which he wasn't. I never heard him talk about any poem, ever, besides the poem Footprints, which he loved. Yesterday, I was looking through a book that Alisa and I made of his stories and jokes that we gave to him for Father's Day a couple years ago. I found a folded piece of paper in it with a poem copied in dad's handwriting that helped me. At the bottom of the page, dad wrote "probably my favorite poem":

High Flight 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
                                                                      
                                                                         — John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Have fun, daddy. I love you.

-Diane

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We Will Remember

This blog is a tribute to my Father, the late and great Michael Peters. Family and friends, please feel free to post as often as you'd like, with whatever you'd like, that will help us remember him. Dad was an amazing man and his memory lives on in all of us. Let's use this blog to remember his jokes, stories, sayings, words of wisdom and any other special memories we have of and with him. Personal notes and letters to him, pictures, etc. are also welcome. The purpose of this is to give us a way to let out our thoughts while at the same time honoring his memory. Please don't forget to include your name after your post(s) if you'd like.

Thanks for visiting. We will remember you, Dad!

-Alisa