December 16, two days later

Sunday. The 16th.

Approaching that date, as I see it coming, always affects me. Seventeen years ago my dad died on that date.

And it seems like yesterday.

And it seems like forever ago.

I remember a friend in Salisbury speaking wise words, comforting words, true words to me at that time. Among other things, Wendy told me that her father had died years earlier and she would still find herself in tears from time to time. Suddenly. Without much notice. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one.

I was thankful that the 16th fell on Sunday this year. My Sundays are busy — teaching children’s catechism before the worship service, worshiping with Jim, enjoying tea/cookies with brothers and sisters in Christ right after the service.

DSCN3890This year we were hosting the steering committee of the Coalition for Children at Risk for a Christmas celebration late Sunday afternoon. We wanted a time for members and their spouses to get together in a relaxed atmosphere, eating tasty treats and laughing heartily with each other. We all work hard throughout the year and it was so nice to have some peaceful joyful time together.

We had a somewhat lively white elephant exchange of gifts. Most of us were quite happy with our final gifts — what grammy wouldn’t want another picture frame?!

As soon as our guests left, Jim locked the door, turned and looked at me and asked, “Is it the 19th?” (The 19th was the date of my dad’s funeral.) “No, it’s the 16th.” Tears spilled over onto my cheeks, Jim hugged me close, I thought of my mom, my sisters, and my children. And then we moved on to the kitchen to finish putting leftovers in the fridge and washing a few dishes.

Thankful for a husband who lets me remember without making me feel stupid.

Thankful for a family that remembers.

Thankful for a dad who taught us all the importance of family… through words and by example.

Missing him even now.

(He would SO love his great-grandchildren…)



  1. (((Marianna)))

  2. Love you my dear and thankful to God for you and the mom and dad he used to bring you into the world.

  3. sending prayerful thoughts Marianna. Holidays are hard still. And, it’s ok. I figure I miss my Dad so much because he was so awesome and loved his girls so much. We can be thankful that God blessed us with our Dads.
    On a different note, I loved spending the day with Jeanne and your adorable grandsons. Jeanne did so well with that wisdom tooth… I barely had to pretend I was a nurse !!! I told her I was more of an insurance policy…in case!
    hope this finds you well

    • As you know, I still remember your words from years ago. Yes, we are blessed daughters.

      Thank you so very much for being Jeanne’s insurance policy…it’s hard to predict how our bodies will respond to the dental work and she was a bit nervous about being able to take care of her boys well. You definitely removed the stress! I can never express how much I appreciate friends who step up and help my children while we’re so far away…and just a TEENSY (make that A LOT) envious of the time you have with those cuties. Love them to pieces.

  4. Marianna,
    Thinking of you and praying for you this day. Know that you and Jim were such an encouragement to Danny and me a few months ago when we visited after we lost Milo. God uses deep wounds as a salve to comfort others. We appreciate you and Jim very much.

    • We love you guys and miss you here…looking forward to our monthly (?!) gatherings starting up again in the spring. Praying that you both are finding some answers while in the States. By the way, you two were SUCH an encouragement to others as you transparently grieved the loss of Milo…thankful that we were able to encourage you as well. May God continue to bless you both.

  5. Thank you so much for your blog. I’m aspiring to be a missionary in Ukraine once I get out of school. I find it so inspirational to be able to see somebody living my dream and God’s dream. Thank you and God bless you on your journey!

    • Caroline…thanks for taking the time to send a message. We will pray for God’s clear direction for you…what makes you lean towards Ukraine? Have you been here before?

      • Yes, I went to Ukraine this summer on a mission trip with our church and I just completely fell in love with the people and their love for God. My brother is also from Ukraine along with about 30 other kids just in northern Colorado because of an annual camp we run here called Ukraine Orphan Outreach. Slowly Ukraine has become part of me and that’s why I want to bring God and His love to it.

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