Poem: Remembering Dad

These are the things you gave me, Dad,

And these are the things I’ll prize…

To find God in a field of corn

And hope in each sunrise,

To learn the greatest truths of all

Seeing nature through your eyes.

These are the things you gave me, Dad,

And these are the things I’ll keep:

A sense of soulfulness within

And a faith that’s broad and deep,

The pride that comes from a hard day’s work

And the peace of a good night’s sleep.

These are the things you taught me, Dad,

And these are things I’ll treasure:

That money isn’t riches

And that wisdom has no measure,

That everybody has to die

But love goes on forever.

If there’s praise to give

On ways to live,

Then, Dad, you’ve shown me this…

Endurance with grace

To the end of your race,

And this is a man I’ll miss.

Reprinted from Life Between Falls: A Travelogue Through Grief & the Unexpected by Julie Lange

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Julie Lange

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Julie Lange has traveled that dark road every mother dreads above all others, the death of a child. Her story is a healing journey through tragedy and loss into a life of unexpected joy and richness. Born the eldest of seven children in a rural Illinois community, she spent 14 years in corporate marketing and PR, before founding her own marketing communications firm prior to her 16-year-old son’s death from suffocation after using nitrous oxide. She experienced several other profound losses within that same two-year period that stripped away all of the trappings of her previous life. Her grieving process, which she chronicles in Life Between Falls: A Travelogue Through Grief and the Unexpected, gradually evolved into a new career as a writer and community advocate for teens. She played a leading role in the establishment of two nonprofit organizations and a local teen center, and became a national spokesperson against inhalant abuse. Along the way she began studying shamanism and other forms of spiritual healing. Today she is the grandmother of two little girls, and lives with her husband Lou in rural northwest New Jersey. In addition to her work as a writer, she now leads workshops using shamanic journeywork as a healing tool for people grieving a deep loss. For a schedule of classes, email her at joolybooly@juno.com. To Listen to Julie on Open to Hope Radio

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  • megan says:

    I just want to say that it has been 7days that my father has past and it just feels like my heart is gone i just looked at him and wanted to wake him up but he would not and everyday i ask god why? the poem was beautiful and now im a 22 yr old female that lost her dad and feels like im looseing my mother to i am scared for my family there all grieving and im the only kid of eight that has been there with my parents and stuck with them if they needed something at 3:00 in the morning i was there now my mother is just drinking and staying so drunk that she pushes me away what will we do how will we pay the bills what can someone please tell me what? why? do what?

  • Megan, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. Losing a parent can be a big shock, especially when you are so young, and it sounds like you are feeling very sad and alone right now. I wish I could tell you something that would take the pain away, but the grief walk is a step by step journey and there’s no way to the other side except to go through it.
    I hope as time passes you will find some comfort in knowing that you’ve been a faithful daughter and tried hard to look after your parents. But now it’s time to share the emotional and financial burden. Please ask for help. I come from a family with 7 kids, and when my dad died, it really helped for us all to come together to share our grief and to share the decisions and responsibilities that followed his passing. Your siblings should have the opportunity and privelege of pitching in.
    Please also reach out for support from others–your friends, faith community, or even a counselor or grief support group. This is a time to take care of yourself and it’s important that you do so. I send you light for this journey, Megan. Take each day as it comes, attend to your health and trust that better times are ahead of you.
    love, Julie

  • Nicki says:

    That just touches me deeply. It’s been a little over a year (morning after Thanksgiving) since I lost my dad… a farmer to cancer and a host of other things.

    Wasn’t corn, but I understand it so well.

    I still miss him especially when it gets to the holidays.

    Does it ever get better? Well, at least I’m not to the point that I’ve picked up the phone thinking that he’ll be on the other end… but the tears haven’t completely stopped.

    I’ve tried to look after my mom… but at times it’s like I get walked on… by her and my sister. Hardest thing is that I don’t even live in the same country that they do, let alone the same city. Hard to be the responsible one.

  • Julie Lange says:

    Hi Nicki, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I know the holidays can be especially hard. In each of our family definitions of what Christmas or other important holidays are supposed to be, every family member plays an important role. So when one of those players is missing, it just doesn’t seem like it can ever be right again. It takes some time to come up with a new definition of “happy holidays” that feels right. But with each passing year it gets easier and happier as we incorporate our loving memories and “stories about dad” into the new definition.
    One thing that helped me was to find special ways to honor my dad (and my son who died the year before dad) and incorporate these acts of remembrance into the holiday rituals. Maybe light a special candle, or set an extra place at the table for Dad. You can’t escape being sad sometimes, but a loving act can really help ease the pain.
    I send you light for your journey of grief, Nicki, and I hope the holidays will bring you the gift of peace.
    Warmly, Julie