Sunday, August 30, 2009


Wow. . .it's been since February that I blogged. Where does time go? Where have I been?

Part of where I've been is facebook. I used to say blogging was lazy man's scrapbooking. Well facebook is lazy man's blogging. In an instant I can update all family and friends with a picture or status update. Leaves little to talk about on my blog.

Also, my blog in the past has been a sort of journaling or instrospection if you will about life, books, writing or whatever happens to inspire me at the moment and frankly, I haven't been much inspired since February.

February 15, my father passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. I think putting that into words was difficult for me, therefore the lapse in keeping up.

But now, I'm slowly starting to come out of that. . .

I just finished reading a book called "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb. At first it was difficult for me to really get into it. . .lots of detail, but about half way through I started to wonder where it was going to lead. The protagonist was a man who had been through an amazing amount of turmoil in his life. Columbine, addiction, abuse, family lies and deception, PTSD. . .you name it, it happened to him or someone close to him. He tended to just float along trying to make sense of all the chaos in his life, attribuiting it to mostly chaos theory. One little incident can offset a whole string of events that can become catastrophic. The main character was not a man of faith and grappled with the idea of a higher power. I kept waiting for him to have this big revelation that life was not all about chaos and there is actually some hope even in the grimmest circumstances. I won't spoil it for you who haven't read it.

It reminds me of the Kennedy family. Here is a family who wished for power, wealth and to give back to the country who had helped them to become so successful. Sometimes I wonder if in their case they should have been careful for what they wished for because sometimes it can lead to devastating results. Would Joseph Kennedy have made different decisions and pushed his sons in different directions had he had known the toll public life would take on their family? Or is the greater sacrifice worth the quest? But regardless, this family has endured incredible tragedies much like the character in The Hour I First Believed. Ted had lost all his brothers to violent deaths (two assasinations and one plane crash in war). He also made some major mistakes in life and narrowly escaped tragic death on more than one occasion. He could have given himself over to his pain and wallowed in self-pity, but instead he decided to commit himself to a life of service to his country in fighting for what he believed was right and for the most part maintained a solid faith in God along the way (although some of his political beliefs contradict strongly against his church beliefs). Watching the funeral yesterday I was moved to tears because of the sense of loss his family had to again endure.

But some of the tears were because Ted's funeral also reminded me of my own father's funeral. My dad may not have been a senator or president, but he was a very important man in his community. He also, like Ted, fought for the greater good. He helped others after Hurricane Katrina, was a minister to inmates in the pennitentary, helping them on the road to rehabilitation, educated believers and non-believers alike about the Bible and God, did an amazing amount of charity work and was highly regarded by all friends, colleagues and family members. At his funeral many people got up to speak about the positive affect he had on their lives. I found myself thinking that they knew him as this wonderful, powerful presense, but I knew him as just Dad. The man who didn't like my messy room, who liked to take goofy pictures of me pretending to hold an elephant at the zoo, who worried about me every time I got behind the wheel of the car even after I was long grown up and moved away. He would find it highly ironic that I am comparing him to Ted Kennedy. My dad the ultra-conservative compared to the Liberal Lion? But something else my dad was, was highly educated and knowledgeable about the both sides of politics and understanding it from a depth that I could never obtain. I find a hole in my life from not being able to call him up and say, "Hey Dad, what's the real deal with this health care bill?" I could find my source of information just from one simple phone call.

So, I think something Ted Kennedy said at his 1980 concession speech when he lost the presidential bid is very powerful. No matter what your political affliliation is or what your beliefs about the future of our country is, I think this can speak to all of us. Anyone who has ever faltered or lost their way in life. . .anyone who needs reminding that hope still exists even in the darkest of times. Maybe we're talking about different dreams or different hopes, but the main message is to not give up on them. So for you Dad. . .someday I would hope that I could make 1/2 as positive impact on peoples lives as you did.

". . .the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."


mary said...

Welcome back.

Karen Miller said...

Kelli, that was beautiful! Moved me to tears, my friend!