Tuesday, September 13, 2011

October 19, 1982...A New Perspective of Death, Motherhood, and Children

October 19, 1982
He was 33 years old.
My mom, only 26.
Three children.
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.
My hero!  

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.  



  1. Wow. I can't imagine Amanda what it must be like to be in your shoes. I "get" what your describing today though about the quiet, the scenery.... And how somehow we just know when someone from the other side is communicating with us... And when God is communicating with us. On Sunday we were talking about where we go after we die. We call it the spirit world and we are told that it exists right here on this earth, just a diff sphere. Our list lives ones are so close to us. I am so happy that you have these special experiences bc surely your father is still very near and aware if you and your life. It will be a very sweet reunion some day and time will disappear and it will finally feel as if you were never apart. Xxx

  2. That should have said our lost loved ones. Sorry b

  3. Oh Amanda. I always need your posts. Thank you. It's amazing how parenthood causes us to see so many events from our childhood in a different light - I think it's wonderful that you see the mother the way you do now and how your past sad experiences are positively colouring the relationship you have with your kids and husband now. Hugs sweetie.

  4. This post really puts thing into perspective for me- about what you went through and your mom. Some things are big memory triggers.
    I shared your post with my hubby. We have a backhoe- Jon and FIL share it. Jon has seen his dad roll it over twice. Usually we are more worried about the kids near it, but it is so easy to overlook things.

    Your mom must be a VERY strong woman to raise you and your brothers so well after that. God gives us the strength we need to endure our circumstances, for sure.
    Just wanted to let you know I noticed the writing on your package.. Please tell Naomi she did a BEAUTIFUL job with the feathers!!! Each of my boys would like one from the package :)

    Glad you got your run in with the stroller. I bet that little man had a good time with you.

  5. OH Amanda! Just wanted you to know I read this. I will surely be back to comment....

  6. Wow...looks like God had a message for you today....and many of us moms and dads! First let me say that I am sorry that you were not able to grow up with your dad. That must have been hard but like Nicole said, some day it will be sweet. This does give a whole new perspective about cherishing moments when you have them....and about seeing others, like your mom, in a different light. It's amazing how kids will do that to you! Hugs!

  7. nice post. I couldn't imagine how I could have handled that.

  8. Wow. What a day to relive. And so unexpectedly just happening upon the site on your run. Your dad and his memory are never far away.
    Isn't it weird when we reach the age our parents were when...
    Our perspective changes.
    Hugs to you, my friend.

  9. So sorry, my dear. Thanks for sharing the story though. My boy lost his dad at 7 and I don't often get a glimpse of what that might be like...love!

  10. Thinking of you today. Your story reminds me of my cousin, Michael, who passed away this year. 34 years old...leaving behind a beautiful wife to care for 3 children under 7 years old. I can't imagine the struggle...simply can't imagine it.

  11. Amanda this is so beautifully written. Thank you so much for writing this. My brothers 3 year anniversary is coming up and I really needed this today. Thank you. This time of year is difficult for me as well but with faith, will, hope, and love I know I can get through it and I am so thankful for the support and love around me.

  12. Beautiful! Just BEAUTIFUL! Your writing, your story .. YOU! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Wow. What a poignant post! Thanks for sharing all of this with us. I can't even imagine that feeling that washed over you today. It is amazing how differently we see things as we get older and our circumstances change. Your mom is a hero and so are you.

  14. thank you for sharing such intimate pieces of your life. what a strong woman your mom is. I listened to a mom at the gym today tell the 'sales lady' that her husband passed 7 years ago and since then she has put on weight and it's time she takes care of herself...next to her was a little girl not much older than 7. It hit me at that moment how amazing this woman was to raise her daughter by herself and I got a vision of the last 7 years for her...and the girl to have to walk through life with out her dad. So hard. My dad lost his dad at the age of 2, and I still think about how hard it was on him. I think kids/adults who lose their parents at a young age have a built in character that very few have. thanks for sharing, amanda!

  15. Such a hard loss when you were so young. I feel so much for your Mum - how hard it would have been left with three very young children, trying to hold it all together when your world had just shattered into a million pieces. How strong she must be to continue on and to raise wonderful kids (I'm assuming your siblings have reached the very high standard you set)

  16. thank you for sharing your story... it is beautiful to see the strength that you tell it with.

  17. So sweet and so beautiful. So much love contained in YOU and conveyed through this! It is hard to lose someone so special. (((hugs)))

  18. That was a really beautiful tribute to your father...


  19. Amanda, I love your heart and your perspective. Those triggers of losing someone we love are different for all of us - but crazy how it can instantly send our head and heart somewhere else. I feel like my mom and her loss is constantly speaking to me. Like you said - not always sad- just thought provoking. Good for you for allowing yourself to do that. I think so many people bury those thoughts and they miss out on remembering and growing from their loss. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  20. OK-so you know I read this. You would see in your stats that I've clicked on this post many times....

    This is beautiful writing. Just beautiful. You have many gifts here as I've said and I love your off the cuff funny posts-think you could do a mommy column that would be HILARIOUS..... but these ones where you don't really organize but just feel and let it spill out in words are the very best. I've cried in all three of these posts relating to your dad as I feel like I can almost put myself in your 4 year old shoes-you ALLOW me to climb into your 4 year old shoes....I remember an email referencing the writing of "Mandy" on the wall...I could see the wall......

    33 years. LOVE that paragraph. Your such a wonderful person, such a gift to your children, your mom, your husband, your friends....Your 33 years have served you well! Marking your birthday on my calendar now:)

  21. Amanda, I honestly can't imagine what this would have been like for you as a 4 year-old and especially for your mom. I look at my (almost) 4 year-old daughter and can't imagine how she could ever understand that her sweet daddy wasn't coming home again. It also must be surreal for you to be the age your dad was when he died.

    When I was in high school, I lost a friend in a drunk driving accident. I was 16 and she was 19. Growing up, she was obviously always older than me. Once I reached 19 and then beyond, I always found it so strange/surreal to think her life ended at that age and I was now older than she ever was.

    33 is so young in life! You must feel him with you often when you run...right there next to you. So beautiful to think about his spirit being with you and so tragic to think he couldn't be with you in person. xo