Crossing the River

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Throughout the time I told my family of my decision to donate my uncle a kidney, I often thought of my dad. I wondered what he would say of my decision. Unknowingly my brother-in-law helped answer that question. As he helped set up my blog, he wrote a sample piece for me to click on and see what it looked like as a viewer. Speaking of my father, he wrote in part:

“My father left many lessons that still resonate within the deepest part of me, despite his having been gone from this earth for nearly two years now. Of the most significant things he taught me was, giving to others if I could “spare” it.”

That is so true and it instantly clarified for me that my dad would have been supportive of my decision to donate a kidney to his brother-in-law.

I am an extrovert, just like my dad. But he was special! His presence was so big that when he walked into a room, he literally took up all the space! He was a character, as we say here in the south. He was charming, funny, handsome, and a  Brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. Most important of all, he loved the Lord and taught all his children to as well. He was taught to love the Lord at his mother’s knee! My grandmother was an Amazing woman! She was the strongest woman I have ever known. In fact, both of my grandmothers were! I realize I typed this on National Grandparents Day, September 13, 2015. How fitting! I would need a book to describe both sides of my family! Aren’t you glad I’m not going into details:) My father is one of seven children and my mother is one of six children. Both of my grandmothers knew deep sorrow and pain! They chose to use it for good. We can not choose what we are born into. But, with God’s help we can choose what we do with sorrow and pain in our life. Good or bad, we choose!

My sisters and I make decisions with a lifetime of watching my dad and mom make decisions behind us. Our children do the same. You do the same. We watched my dad make decisions without full comprehension as children. Some were risky, very risky. I never saw my dad fearful over a business decision. I never remember seeing my dad fearful. He may have been but he never showed that. We had total confidence in him! He showed no fear the Sunday afternoon he threw me in the Bartahatchie river and said, “Swim!”  (Don’t even ask my mom about this:) Harsh you say! NO way! I swam! He believed and I did it. His belief in all of his girls, has been a homing beacon for each of us.

My dad had a real soft spot for a sob story, which is another southern colloquialism. He gave to people in need. Often to people we might think undeserving. But, that was not important to him. He saw a need or heard of one and he helped. We really had no idea how many he helped until he died. What stories we were told! My dad was not a gossip and spoke his mind. You never had to wonder what he was thinking, he would tell you. You never had to read between the lines with him. He took people at face value! There is still so much I am learning from him.

I love the euphemism “crossing the river” to describe someone you love dying. I think I love it so much, because it reminds me of my dad teaching me to swim in the Bartahatchie river. In my mind I picture him just on the other side of the river, waiting on me to swim to him, to get to him. His “crossing the river” has left a huge hole in my mother’s world, in his children’s world, in his grandchildren’s world, and in his great-grandchildren’s world. It has left a hole in the lives of his siblings and countless friends. He was loved and he is much missed. He was carried to his final resting place by three generations. As long as I live I will always ask myself, what would my dad say! Donating a kidney, he would approve! Kathy