Introduction from Alana:
Some of you may recall, two years ago was a particularly challenging time for Marc, Ian and me, along with our extended family on both sides. On November 3, 2014, we lost my wonderful father-in-law, Steven Hammer. Then, just four short days later, on November 7, 2014, my beloved grandfather, Sidney Carr, passed away. The double loss was palpable. The changes in our lives irreversible. Truth told, their presence remains very much a part of our daily lives and we all find ourselves constantly employing their wit and wisdom.
Perhaps that is why the beautiful piece that follows from marketing and writing professional, Molly Wendland, was so moving to me. In it, she expresses her love for her father, speaks of changes she intentionally set into motion to care for him in his final weeks and acknowledges the importance of living in the moment.
Plus, as today is November 5th, my own daddy’s 69th birthday, I thought it would be fitting to let him know how much I love, admire and respect him. I am a very lucky and proud daughter. Happy, Happy Birthday, Daddy Max!
With that, I give you Molly Wendland…
Guest post from Molly Wendland:
We’ve all been there. In that job that once was fantastic but has morphed into something, well…no longer so fantastic. That’s the situation I found myself in about six months ago when the unexpected happened. Change.
In fact, change had already happened. About a year before, my role within my company had changed, leaving me feeling unfulfilled and discontented. In the meantime, life was happening. All around me. Our girls were busy progressing through college and graduations. My husband’s job was also in a state of flux, and life was, frankly, a little unsettling. At the same time, my dad seemed to have mounting health problems, and the pressure of everything was beginning to weigh on me. Big time. Shortly after the first of the year, we got word that Dad was terminal. Cancer.
Having lost my mother to cancer 25 years ago, I found it hard to believe that it would now take my father, as well. I sat stunned, in my sister’s Leawood living room, where my siblings and I had gathered for the “conference call” to California with the doctor, Dad, his wife, and my stepbrothers. I stumbled through the next few days at work, not yet ready to share the news with friends and co-workers. I needed time to process…to grieve…to think. I had to think.
When my mom was sick and ultimately died 25 years ago, I was unable to be present to her and my dad for that journey. I was pregnant with our first child, and we lived in Oregon. It was an emotional roller coaster, for sure. After thinking about my current situation for several days, I left work early one afternoon and went home to discuss my thoughts with my husband. Taking a deep breath, I calmly stated my desire to quit my job and move to California to be with Dad through the end. I started to argue my case (“We’re in a place financially where we can do this, and I wasn’t there for Mom…”), but Steve stopped me mid-sentence, spread his arms wide in acceptance, and said, “OK!” (One should never underestimate the value of an understanding and loving husband.)
I quickly tied up loose ends as best I could at home and at work, resigned my position, and moved to California. Though it was heartbreaking for those of us who loved him, I am so thankful that God took Dad quickly. Further, I am grateful that I was at Dad’s bedside, exactly where I wanted to be, holding his hand.
Now that Dad is gone, I’m not quite sure what changes the future holds for me. I do know this: when you make decisions out of love and with careful thought, you are less likely to look back with regret. I am incredibly thankful for the time that I was able to spend with my father, and I have no regrets. I also know this: our time here on earth is temporary. Accordingly, as my dear old dad used to say with gusto, his booming voice filling the room, “Carpe diem!” Seize the day!