Last week I was blessed to have this guest post at The Mudroom.
I reflect on pictures my mom kept of me posing on grandma’s front porch, my three-year-old little body donning a Fiesta dress with intermingled colors. They dance with each other far from lament. Dad’s sailor cap is tipped over my face, covering my left eye, making me giggle as I reach up to catch it from falling. Under my left arm, I clutch the American flag that was used to drape over his coffin. It’s nearly the size of my entire body and it is folded in half the way I would soon find myself doubled over with questions about why God would allow me to grow up without a father.
My father died in what was then America’s largest peacetime tragedy, an accidental plane crash on the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean on May 26, 1981. He had just turned 25 years old. I grew up not knowing what records he enjoyed, what his favorite books were, or what his life was like before the military. His death left a gaping hole inside of me, and I searched for decades trying to find him in every face, every man, every granddaddy’s laughter. I tried to fill the empty ache with relationships I had, hobbies I filled my time with, and buying things I couldn’t afford.
Would you like to read the rest of Finding Grace in the Missing Parts of My Story? Come over to the Mudroom Blog.
Special thanks to Grace P. Cho, my editor for this piece. It was truly a gift to work with her.