My father died today, October 27th. It came as quite the shock. He was 85 years old (yes, 85 years old). He was the most vibrant, healthy man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I have been grieving for him all afternoon. I mean, HELLO! He just died...he wasn't sick....he didn't have any conditions that were life threatening. He was just out fishing, as he did ALL THE TIME. He was coming back in with his boat when a cold front came in....making the water choppy. His boat flipped, hit him on the head and he drowned!! WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT!
In the course of finding out this news, I have made calls I never thought I would have to make. I have felt things I have never thought I would ever have to feel. I have had a rush of memories...everywhere we have gone, special times we had. I cried out "WHY! Why now? It is TOO soon!" But, I was reminded of his wish to die suddenly....I was reminded of the prayers I offered up to God that my dad could only go quickly....I was reminded of his love of the water. God gave my dad a GREAT gift with this. My dad would not have wanted to go any other way. Now, I may want to argue with God about the timing. There was a lot more that I wanted to experience with my dad. I thought of calling my dad and inviting him to see his granddaughter who was about to start basketball....would he like to see her play in a game?
My heart weeps...my tears cannot be held back. I loved my dad. He sacrificed so much of himself for me. I would not be who I am today without his guidance. The memories I have of him are almost too much to bear. The many days out on the water fishing. Waking up at 2 or 3 am to go "junk" fishing (this is what we called fishing off the pier off of Port Aransas, Padre Island...since you can't really catch any "good" fish there). The time I did not want to go to Field Day and he let me skip school and go fishing. OH, the times on his motorcycle....I would feel so great when he would take me to school or pick me up on it. I felt like the coolest kid in school.
When I was in High School, he understood the emotions and social aspects of being a teenager. We would go to the mall every weekend. We would shop around and go to the movies (I remember we went and saw "The Cutting Edge" and he got weepy at the end!). I remember dancing on his feet when I was a little girl. We would listen to old country...George Jones and the like. I remember the pride he had when I joined the band...when I was chosen for Who's Who (never mind that most kids are)...my honor rolls.
He told me growing up that I needed to be a career woman. I could get married and have children, but we needed to be a 2 income family. He said that was the only way to live anymore. When I got married and than shortly after had Sierra, I remember being trepidatious about telling him I had decided to be a Stay At Home Mom...and he was TOTALLY supportive.
My dad always told me how proud he was of me. He loved Matt and adored my children. He said it made him so happy to see me succeed and be happy. He said he couldn't wish for anything more.
I was always so proud of my father. He grew up in a very poor time. He was the oldest of 4 kids. He adored his mother (who died shortly before I was born) and, though was not as close to his dad as he would have liked, still had respect for him. My dad joined the navy out of HS and knew his goal, the thing he wanted more than anything, was to use the GI bill to get a college education and become a coach. He served on an aircraft carrier during World War II. The stories he would tell me were just TOO interesting. The things they had to do when crossing the equator...WOW! He was in the bay of Japan when the treaty was signed!!
Upon leaving the navy, he went to the University of New Mexico. He pursued his dream, and obtained it (living on pb&j...lol). He graduated from college and went on to become a coach...first at a jr. high and then, eventually, at a High School. He rose to head coach and than athletic director. He won state championships with his football team. He even just recently attended a reunion with these football players where he was honered...and had the best time!!!!
My dad was remarkable. He did all he could do for me throughout his entire life. It is funny, cause when technology started taking over, he was unwilling to get on board. We had a rotary phone until I was a teenager!! We got a microwave when I was a teenager....he kept that microwave until this very day...and never learned how to change the clock!!
HOWEVER, sports always ruled his life. He had a satellite dish when I was just a child...complete with hand crank where he could watch sports anywhere. Just a few years ago, he got a BIG screen tv....before we did (we haven't even gotten one yet) so he could watch his sports on the bigger screen.
He has to be the MOST HEALTHY man I have ever met....much more so than ME! Years ago, he made a health decision. He, daily, ate raw veggies daily. He limited fried food by a lot....ate lots of fish (fresh fish he caught)...and excercised like CRAZY!! In the Spring to late Summer, early Fall, he swims. He has an above ground pool and just swims and swims and swims. When it gets too cold for that, he walks for miles and miles. A few nights a week, he is out dancing. I was talking to my sister earlier and we both spoke about how we could not keep up with him on the dance floor. I imagine his heart and lungs were the healthiest 85 year old organs ever!
Not many kids could claim to have a stay at home dad. Not many kids could claim to have a relationship like I had with my father.
My head hurts from crying. My brain is firing many electric currents with all the things going on. In the end, it will be a LONG, LONG time before I am over this! I have always said that I will NEVER leave Texas as long as my dad lives....believing he would live forever. I cannot believe he is gone. But, I believe God gave him such a gift. Not many people can say they have lived the life he has led. Not many people can say that they had a dream for their life and were able to reach it. Not many can say that they were able to retire and dedicate their senior years to raising a daughter and doing what retirees like to do....fish, dance, garden, be there 100% for their child, make jewelry..... On top of it all, to be able to die in the very water he loved to fish...his favorite place. Through my tears, I keep reminding myself of this fact. Through my broken heart, I tell myself over and over what a gift his life was. What an inspiration he was and is. I know his spirit has left this earth and I rejoice in him!! I LOVE MY DAD and I WILL MISS HIM.
The following pics are ones with my dad and Sierra.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Posted by Sandra Kozlowski at 10:19 PM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I have felt it deep in my heart for a while now that I am back sliding. I have been a strong believer in Christ and rigid in my beliefs...but since leaving the position of Children's Pastor, I feel like I have not been as close to God.
Now, Matt argues against that because as CP, I was not being filled spiritually (well, I was....but not on an adult level) while now, I am involved in MOPS, a Ladies Bible Study, a couples bible study and Church each Sunday. I can see that, and I can see how I would feel more empty just not being in a church everyday of the week as I was when I was a CP and being in the presence of others working in the ministry.
So, I am working on my spirit now...trying to fill the holes. In church on Sunday, the Pastor talked about just that and it was a GREAT sermon!! Since then, I have had confirmation after confirmation to work on this more. I just found this you tube video and will share now...
Posted by Sandra Kozlowski at 6:40 PM
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I had a bit of nostalgia tonight....nostalgia I am ashamed of in the deepest parts of my soul....nostalgial that can be simply stated as a blast from the past in the form of NKOTB!
Do you remember this group from the late 80s to early 90s?? MAN-O-MAN, I do. I had, probably, 100 posters of them on my walls.....I even put some on my ceiling. I had the shirts and the pins....the hats and the jewelry....I had everything I could get my hands on.....ok, not the dolls, but you get the picture.
It is funny thinking back to that time when we are in a new age where Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers are experiencing the hype NKOTB did except in larger forms. And they get a ton worse (HM and JB) with the Internet and digital cameras....
But, how I remember the albums...I think I had tapes. I am was IN LOVE with Joey McIntyre. I just knew in my heart of hearts that we were meant to be together...that if he could just meet me, he would love me. I had more Joey posters and Joey t-shirts and pins than anything.
I remember the year I actually got tickets to see them in CONCERT!! HELLO!!!!!! My dad got tickets for me, him and one of my friends, Sherri (who introduced me to this group). We drove from Corpus to Houston to see them perform at the Astro Dome. What a night...a night I will not forget. I fantasized the whole way there....that I would run into Joey in the halls and he would realize that he loved ME and we would get married. *sigh*
It is funny, cause I find myself shaking my head and rolling my eyes as I see so many girls going crazy to get their kids in to see Hannah or Jonas brothers and I forget what it was like to be that little girl. The excitement and adrenaline. BUT, it is fun and I have no regrets with my obsession with this boy group....and I do not mind when Sierra is going crazy for the Jonas Brothers or Demi Lovato (she is not big on Hannah). It is fun to dream!!
I will admit shame, though. I was just watching the VHI special on NKOTB and am ashamed to admit that I did not know they released another album after Step By Step. How can I expect Joey to whisk me away if i cannot even keep it straight on when each album was released?? All I know is it was quite a blast from the past!!
Ok...gotta go to sleep.
Posted by Sandra Kozlowski at 11:13 PM