I never realized what an impact these two words would have on my life after Lindsay passed away. I wrestled with them on a daily basis for many months and it is still a daily battle. Two words that are put at the beginning of a sentence to ask a question about something that once was. Before Lindsay passed away people would ask, “Are you Jarrett and Lindsay father?” My response would always be, very proudly, “Yes I am.” After losing Lindsay many people would ask me,”Were you Lindsay’s father?” At that moment it hit me, how do I answer this question? If I say, “Yes I was” it makes it past tense, I was her father yesterday but not today. Almost as if I had sold a car or a house, I was the owner yesterday, but not today. That word makes it all in the past, never to be again, history. I was her father the day she was born and I will be her father until the end of everything that will ever be. Just because she is gone will never change the fact that I am her father. So many times, after a parent looses a child, the words people use mean so much but, they have a totally different meaning when you are grieving. Words spoken that were never meant to cause harm, never meant to be unloving, never meant to offend now hit you like a 10 pound sledgehammer. Most of the time you take the pounding and just smile, because you know in your heart that there was no ill will meant by the person speaking to you. As I have said before a parent that has lost a child lives in different world. They walk in a different lane, they hear with different ears, and their heart will always be sensitive to certain words and phrases, that before their child passed away, meant nothing.
The one thing I have come to realize, I am the proud father of a son who worked very hard to complete his collegiate career and continues to make me proud to be his father. I am also the father of a daughter who left this world way to soon and walks the clouds of heaven with grace and flare. Knowing that I have two children, and will always have two children makes it easy to answer that question with, “Yes I am.”