Sticktoitiveness

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Birthday Buddies in Bow Ties!

The day after Lisa died, I sent an email to a group of friends asking them to meet me in the church fellowship hall thirty minutes before her Memorial Service.  I told them we would save seats for them up front in the sanctuary and that they would all walk in together, united.  I wanted to be able to look over and see those I knew would usher me through the intense shock and pain I was experiencing.

I also told them that they were the ones, like it or not, who were stuck with me, that I needed them to stand by me until I got my feet back up under me.

I think I underestimated their sticktoitiveness.

Last week, on my fiftieth birthday, five years after Lisa’s death, this incredible group of friends threw me a surprise party.  They rented out the second floor of a bar and filled it with the people in my life that I love the most.  When I walked up the steps, there they were, this incredible group of folk, who genuinely care about me.

It sort of blows my mind.  I haven’t been as good to them as they have been to me.  Man, am I blessed.

This past week, I was in Greenville, SC, speaking to a group of YMCA staffers.  After my talk, a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes.  She said, “I’ve heard you speak before.  I just want you to know that I keep you and your girls in my prayers.”

Maybe that’s why we’re all doing really well!

As I write, tears well up from my gut.  They aren’t tears for loss.  They are tears of knowing that I can never repay what has been given to me.

When praying, I sometimes struggle to remember those around me who hurt.  I forget the guy I met with a few weeks ago who recently lost his wife or the high school buddy who has been diagnosed with cancer.  They roll through my head on occasion, but I don’t have the same level of persistent, perpetual care that others have had for me.

My friends and family could write the handbook on caring for those experiencing grief.  For them, it isn’t a short story.  It’s an epic novel.  They’ve been working on it for five plus years.  I have this feeling that it will go unfinished.

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16 Comments

  1. jo

     /  October 14, 2015

    You’re a wise and perceptive man, and I love you.

    Reply
  2. SuSu Lilly

     /  October 14, 2015

    This is awesome!

    Reply
  3. God bless.

    Reply
  4. Connie

     /  October 14, 2015

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have an incredible support group of friends that have kept me going & check up on me ever since my husband passed away last year. I hear you speak to my YMCA group last week & much of what you said hit very close to home. Thanks for helping me know I’m not alone!

    Reply
  5. Very lovely group of friends there.

    Reply
  6. Teared up reading this. I didn’t know about your loss and I’m incredibly sorry to hear about it. I have to say it was very brave (and smart) of you to ASK people for help and tell them you would need them to lean on. Everyone deals with grief differently but I know many people shut themselves out from the world, understandably. I’m glad you have wonderful friends and family to lean on.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  October 18, 2015

      I think you gotta take some responsibility in telling folks what you need. Maybe a good lesson for grievers.

      Reply
  7. Matthew J Daniels

     /  October 14, 2015

    Lovely group of friends, and it’s great that you can be so open about how they make you feel. I know they will appreciate it!

    Reply
  8. CBHall

     /  October 14, 2015

    Congratulations on reaching your half-century mark! Aside from the loss that led to this blog, you are a lucky guy with many blessings. But wait…I scanned the photo and didn’t see Uncle Jesse. Don’t tell me he blew you off on this momentous occasion?! Ah…perhaps he was the photographer?

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  October 18, 2015

      He was there but not bow tie – must have been inside at the bar – surprise!

      Reply
  9. Deana

     /  October 14, 2015

    This is what those who love us do. They love us through our worst moments and never demand it back. That’s what love really is: not demanding it back but giving it anyway.

    Reply
  10. Tammy Byrd

     /  October 15, 2015

    I am so thankful you have been blessed to be surrounded by these wonderful people in your life. I also have been blessed with some pretty amazing people. I totally get it when you say you don’t give as much as you get. I’m the same way. I try to pray for those around me that are going through tough days, but sometimes I fail. I fail a lot, but my heart is in the right place. Bless you and your family!

    Reply
  11. Sue Padgett

     /  October 20, 2015

    I heard your story at our YMCA Staff Development Day at Camp Hanes. WOW! I am amazed at how you could deliver such a powerful story and still make me laugh through my tears. I have thought about you so much since that day, and I pray that you will continue your journey with your positive attitude and your great sense of humor. Please know that you are an inspiration to me and to many many others! Thank you for being a blessing.

    Reply

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