Sunday, November 22, 2015

Grief & Gratitude

Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
Haruki Murakami

We came out to California on Wednesday, November 11th to lead a marriage retreat weekend in Oak View at the Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries "compound." It was our pilot weekend partnering with BCM in this work, one that exceeded expectations with precious time pondering pain & peace cycles, personality perplexities, and dreaming together. We returned to Orange County and celebrated an early thanksgiving with our families and were all set to fly back to Detroit on Wednesday morning the 18th.

Then Fate pulled a fast one: my dad went to Bible study and, on his walk home, he collapsed with a massive heart attack. We were stunned. The grieving process has been filled with communicating with friends and family and making plans for the memorial service which will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at 2pm at Mission Hills Church in Mission Viejo. All are invited.

My dad was a college math professor for 40 years. He was the most punctual, routine, stable person I've ever been around. When he didn't get home by 9:30pm on Tuesday, we knew something happened. We are filled with grief, but also with gratitude. When we moved to Detroit 15 months ago, one of our biggest fears was the prospect of losing a family member living across a 2000 mile geographic divide. We got to spend, unknowingly, the last 24 hours of my dad's life with him. We didn't get to say "goodbye" formally. He was coming right back. Or so we thought. As we cry, we are comforted by memories from last week and decades of wonder.

Here are a couple of shots of my dad when my parents came out to Detroit for a visit a year ago.

At the Heidelberg Project:

Underneath a willow tree at Belle Isle (peering over the river into Canada):

And an epic pic of him back in the day:

Here are some images of the Marriage Strong retreat we led just last week. It seems like years ago:

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