Everything You Have Lost

“For everything you have lost, you have gained something else.” 

December 8, 2012, Fulton, Kentucky: I heard my mother’s footsteps coming down the hall. “Charissa, it’s time.” I immediately got out of bed and followed her to my father’s bedside. We held his hands and tears poured down our faces.

“We love you, Daddy, ” we said.

“I love, honey, ” she said.

The words of my grandfather and grandmother rang loudest in a room filled with cries and tears: “You have been an incredible son. We love you. It’s ok. Go home.” And so my father passed away, peacefully, surrounded by love.

December 23, 2017, Henderson, Kentucky: William Finley “Finn” sat in my lap as we watched his favorite show on the TV monitor in his grandparents’ kitchen. Piper Rose was playing nearby. The last few weeks had been filled by a bit of turmoil: during the day, her father and I had pushed her to achieve her reading goal for the quarter whilst wrangling our individual careers.  She hated it. By night, I had stressed and toiled over Christmas gifts for each of the children and sewed a Christmas program costume by hand. But more than that, there was the “turmoil” of a young and budding family. The ebb and flow and four people learning to live in harmony and peace with one another.

Read More

Always Behave: Part 3

214There are two kinds of disappointments in life. The first are real disappointments: the soul-wrenching, heart-breaking, life-shattering kind that forever change a relationship. The rest are inconsequential let-downs that all come as part of being human.

There are two men in existence who have never let me down. The first is my grandfather, who is a real snuggle-bug. (I use the word “snuggle-bug” for any person you encounter in life that you absolutely adore and want to cuddle up to.) During the duration of my dad’s illness, I would find my grandfather and lay my head on his shoulder, which always resulted in a bear-hug…both therapeutic and absolutely needed. The second person was my father.

Read More

Always Behave (Part 2)

My first memories in life all involve my father.

I was born in New Mexico. I love this because it is strange and random and out of place…and perfectly delightful.

215My dad was the pastor of a very small church in the city that harbors the sprawling Philmont Scout Ranch. I do not remember our home from that time: my parents tell me it was very small and very humble. But my parents had good friends in the town that I called “Grammy Lou” and “Papa Harry.” They were like a third pair of grandparents, and their home I do remember. It was just down the road from where we lived. I remember vividly walking toward it one night: the valley below us, the stars all around us, and my father either holding my hand, or bearing me up on his shoulders.

Read More

Always Behave (Part 1)

“Always behave as though nothing has happened…no matter what has happened.”

These were the words on a card given to me as a going-away gift from the CEO of the first company I ever worked for. It is a perfect motto to live by. I’ve held onto it, loving the thought of it, and vowing to adhere to it as I move on through life.

Sometimes it is easier to aspire to such notions than to actually live them. I’ have learned this lesson the hard way.

Read More

Return to The Shoe.

At CemetaryA lot can change in a year and four months (the date of my last post): this I know from experience. You can switch jobs…twice. You can organize and run two major work-related conferences and events. Roommates can change. Your heart can get smashed like monkey meat through a food processor, AGAIN. You can find out your father’s next step in life—in addition to the hardships of the past 3 years that he had already faced—will be a brave battle with cancer. You can watch your family and your friends rally around this great man. You can create memories—some of them happy, some of them sad. And in the end, you can hold your father’s hand as he takes his last breath when God and Fate defies our own Will and determines it is time for him to come home.

Read More

My Best Friends’ Wedding (or New Years’ Rambling)

dddd“People have a right to fly…”

My best friend is getting married. Last year, after she met him, I knew it was coming—and soon. But I never really anticipated what it would feel like the moment it was officially so. I don’t think anything adequately prepares a person for the moment someone so close tells them they’ve found “true love.” In life, there are a lot of phrases  that change everything once they are said. And I always thought “I’m getting married” was one of them.

Read More

Act Accordingly

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some, they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember all those things they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” -Zora Neal Hurston

When I was a little girl, I spent many an hour dreaming of who I would be one day when I was a “lady.” Among the sprawling corn and tobacco fields where my childhood played out, there was ample opportunity to dream, to plot, to imagine just what life could be. I had plenty of female role models to look up to: my school teachers, the woman who taught me to play piano, and our elderly neighbor who taught me how to grow African Violets, just to name a few. Of course, out of all of them, my beautiful young mother was the woman I admired the most.

Read More