Overwhelming. How else to describe it. Covid. Tragic accidents. Suicide. Cancer. The list goes on. Never seen anything like it in my lifetime. So many people are hurting because they have lost loved ones.
I've had 5 and 1/2 years to recover from the loss of my Dad. Really no words to describe how much I loved him, the impact he had on me, and how much I depended on him, even up to the very end. I still find myself on Saturday mornings after a ballgame, starting to call him on my phone.
A few days ago I walked in the house and Emma asked me what was wrong. I told her I was just really missing her grandfather. It still overwhelms me at certain times.
My mom died just a few weeks ago. But, her suffering was so awful, it was a relief and I praised God that her days of anxiety and fear were over. The fact that she did not die in a mental institution was a miracle to be celebrated. Her passing was the end of an incredibly difficult journey. I love my Mom very much and I am thankful beyond words that she is well and whole as you read these words. A miracle that only Christ could make happen.
So... how in the world do we do this? How do we keep going when our hearts are broken? I sure don't have all the answers, but here are some things that have helped me. I hope this can help others.
1- Praise God because I know I will see them again. I know this because of Jesus Christ.
2- Praise God in the details. When I am particularly sad and missing my Dad, I start remembering specific details about our times together. Over the past five years, I've walked across the wet field of grass in the rain, headed toward Commonwealth Stadium, to watch the Cats play Tennessee (November, 1973) many, many times. On that walk, I remember him talking about my great grandfather and that I need to pick a job based on what I love doing.... not what will make me the most money. I think that talk sealed the deal on coaching HS football. I have many more, but you get the idea.
3- I praise God when I see my family and know that my Dad would be so proud and happy. With my Mom's mental illness, he endured much more than he ever let on. There is no doubt in my mind that he did so to help me have the life I have now, and to have his family continue to grow and serve Christ.
4- I talk to his old players whenever I can. Or his friends. Or guys he coached with and against. Anyone that knew him. Anytime I visit with those guys, it feels like he is right there, even if just for a second.
5- I talk to others about him. Tonight, Cole Lanter (Boyle player/good friend of Trosper's) got to hear my Dad's dream... when he was at Boyle, he wanted to build one stadium where the Fairgrounds are located that would be used by both Danville and Boyle. He thought it would be great for the entire community. Obviously, that didn't work out. But, I want to be like my Dad in that regard... I would rather dream big and things not work out, than dream little and yes, you got little.
6- Look through old scrapbooks from when he coached. Read his words.
7- When I get up each morning, go out and be who I am... a follower of Jesus Christ and John Buchanan's son. That gives me a challenge each day to do my best, serve others, love others, and to have a GREAT attitude while I do it.
8-Look over at the field (our practice field/his old Mercer game field) and his old fieldhouse/lockerroom each day I go to the complex. That sidewalk is a time machine for me. I know they're not there, but it sure FEELS like my Dad and Robert Allen are standing on that sideline, late at night after a game, or during practice. Sometimes, I do feel like he is laughing at me when I get frustrated. That's a good thing because it feels like we are together on that field for a moment.
9- Thank God that I had a great Dad. I would rather have a great Dad and he is no longer here, than have an awful Dad and he is still here.
10 - I remember them the way I choose to remember them, especially my Mom. Her mental illness... that was not her. When I think of my Mom, she is her best. And...that is who she is NOW. Praise God.
11- Listen to old music... what he enjoyed and also what would be on the radio when I was with him and was growing up.
12- All of this... do it ONE DAY AT A TIME. When I think of a lifetime without my Dad, no way. But, TODAY, I can do this. I will get up tomorrow, and do it again.
I hope this can help someone.
Praise God... He gave us the people we love, He will never abandon us, and He has given us the ultimate & eternal victory in Christ Jesus.