Behind every person lies a story waiting to be revealed. Mine is simple. Shaped by tragedy from the start, I moved on to a life filled with love, laughter, dreams, tears, and a desire to focus only on things that will matter forever. I plan to keep it that way, understanding that those who learn to do this are the ones who never look back with regrets. Still, there comes a time to share the story. And for me, November is that time.
Dealing with the death of my father when I was a baby has never been an option. It was not my choice to accept; it just simply was. Memories, or the lack thereof, left me to do my best to fill in the blanks. It should have been easy to move on. Does it make sense, after all, to miss something you never had?
After forty-five years of experience in dealing with death, I consider myself an expert. Although, I am still not sure how to answer that question. I’m left with a constant search for answers–or maybe proof that he existed.
Several years ago, my mother searched through boxes of family records in order to find an old church directory–the 1967 Edition from Northside Church of Christ in Corinth, Mississippi. This was the church where my father, David Morris, served as the Pastor. As a foreward, Daddy wrote a message to his congregation: “This directory, the first in the history of the Northside church, will help us as we strengthen the bonds that tie us together.”
Turning the pages to the M section in the middle, I found it:
Morris, David, Jeannine, Jeanna, & Janet
3128 Harper Road
Reading this for the first time, as an adult, I felt a sense of belonging. But more powerful than this, I was sad, because this was a family I never knew.
For as long as I can remember, my family has been just the three of us. Mom, Jeanna, and me. It’s a great family. My mother, to this day, remains my hero. Jeanna and I are inseparable, no matter how geographically far apart we are at the time. Life, as required by it’s very meaning, moves on, gradually pulling us along with it.
If this is defined as healing, then I suppose we have done that.
But for today, my message is this:
November 15, 1967. Our lives changed forever on this date.
Regardless of your age, I know that life before the death of a parent never equals that same life afterward. And healing on the outside never brings me back to who I was as a baby, living at 3128 Harper Road in Corinth, Mississippi.
I would give anything to call that phone number to speak to that Morris Family. There is so much I would like to know about what might have been….
“Every day, it still matters….”
That’s what I would say to him when he answered the phone.