October 3rd is my dad's Deathday. October is full of anniversaries, his death, my dead brother's birthday, my own. I was thinking how I could easily get drawn down into at least melancholy, at worst depression. Its been 13 years but I've feeling so close to dad as I finish up mother's things following her death in April. I have been so quiet. Living slowly and with purpose. There has been loneliness too.
Its pretty easy to live a life of gratitude when there are good days. It is easy to be grateful for beauty but what about pain? Ugliness? Death? It is far more challenging to, say, look at the beaten, bloody body on the cross and feel grateful. Its easier to feel shame. Recently, God told me pretty clearly 'gratitude transforms pain into joy.'
Looking directly at today I am thinking about my father's influence in my life and wanted to say a few things about daddy and feel grateful...
He adored me. I was his beloved. I knew it, everyone knew it and I loved it. Everyone should be adored by someone and he was mine. The last day I saw him, 2 days before he died, he patted me sweetly on the shoulder, cooed to me and called me "sisto." God how grateful I am for that.
He was a feminist. He taught me I could do anything. He worked for the city of Oklahoma City in the 1960s as department head over Personnel Services under Mayor Patience Latting. He loved Patience Latting. She was the first female American mayor of a city greater than 250,000. Dad spoke so highly of her, always calling her by her full name. I grew up with Patience Latting as an icon in our home. I am deeply grateful for that. Turns out she was at the same facility mother lived. I was too intimidated to introduce myself to her.
I am so grateful my father was a feminist. Some of you may have to look that word up. Let me tell you, it changed everything.
He told me I had a good brain. There were no limits on my brain. He told me to look around in class and know I would make the A if anybody could. I do believe in my ability to think and learn. I had such crappy self esteem otherwise but my belief in my brain was the great grappling hook that kept me alive and kept me going.
I am so grateful he gave in confidence in my intelligence. That is a profound thing as the younger sibling of a brother with such severe disabily from retardation.
Thank you for OU, dad. I still love college. And the Sooners...
I am so grateful dad helped me find photography early in life.
Thank you dad for recognizing the biologist in me. I have such a passion for it.
Thank you for paving the way to academia and teaching. It is one of the constants in my life.
Dad knew me so well. He pointed my in my own direction. Thank you daddy, I am so grateful for that. I miss you so much.