October 19, 1982
He was 33 years old.
My mom, only 26.
2 sons and a daughter, me.
Jesse, one month before 6 years
Amanda, 22 days before 4 years
Joshua, 10 days before his first birthday.
A father, a husband
Lost to us.
Nine miles in the jogger stroller this morning. My two year old son along for the ride as I tried to fit in my miles without missing out on too much family time. Moving at a pretty easy pace, I had plenty of energy to entertain....pointing out the birds, trees and the many construction sights along our route. My little man happily chatting and playing along, allowing me my run and enjoying having my attention without his sisters around. We had just come down a long path at about three miles into the run when we came to a roped off construction site that we had to move around. As I began to jog around the edges of the construction boundaries, a silence washed over me and time seemed to slow. There was nobody around. That we could see. It was as if I was being asked to stop and be still. When I looked up at my surroundings instead of the path in front of me, I saw this:
I know that many of you have read my posts about my dad: Passion, Determination and The Will to Run and The Deepest Part of My Running Heart. Some of you know that he died when I was young and some of you know about the connection I feel with him when it comes to running. However, I'm not sure I've told much about the story of how he died and why this picture I took this morning brought back so many feelings.
Since I only remember the story of my dad's death from a child's memory, then I will briefly tell you the story that I told when I was a child. The part of the story that I understood. My dad was doing an excavation job where he had to use his backhoe to dig a ditch. He was trying to get the job done quickly and he skipped some important precautionary steps that would hold the dirt up on the sides of the ditch. Instead, he did it his own way. While his backhoe was still running, he went into the ditch to do something and it was then that the sides collapsed in on top of him and killed him. My mom got a call soon after that and the rest goes from there.
As a child, whenever I saw a backhoe, I thought of my dad and how he died. I thought of what it must have been like and what it was like for my mom to arrive at the scene and realize that her husband was dead. So when I saw this image today, it made me stop for a second. And it filled me with some complex feelings. Especially because it was so quiet and nobody was around. Just the ditch, the backhoe and my son and I on a run. It was almost as if he was there saying hello.
I know I always feel a little weird around this time of year. The closer to October 19th it is, the more emotional I seem to be. I think this is just part of remembering. What little I remember. But this year just seems a little different....
It is this year that I will be 33 years old on November 9th. 33. The age that my dad was when he died.
It is this year that my two oldest children are the same age that my brother and I were when our dad died.
It is this year that it all just seems to make the most sense. As much sense as something like that can make.
I see my middle daughter, age 4, and I see how much she loves her daddy. Adores him. Waits for him all day. How smart she is and how much she resembles a little adult. I see her and I think of me at 4 and how much I must have been very much the same.
This year seems different too because I can see things from my mom's perspective now, a perspective I could never see.
A young woman,
with three young kids.
Then, a woman that I blamed.
I'm not feeling sad today. Not emotional even. Just thoughtful. And Thankful. As I process this powerful moment in my life yet again, I realize just how different my almost 33 year old perspective is from my almost 4 year old perspective. Wonder how I'll see things differently in the years to come.