I find myself once again sitting alone in an airport. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to leave last Thursday, with my over excited 9-year-old and my almost as excited husband. But, on Wednesday, as I transitioned from professor to person on vacation, my father made a larger transition—from life to spirit.

Transitions have been on my mind all day. Whenever I fly long distance, life takes on this surreal appearance. This morning I was with my mother, tears falling down my face as I admitted that I felt bad for leaving to head on this trip.

“I want you to go,” she said. “Dad would want you to go to.”

Now I sit in San Francisco airport, with the clock telling me that I have transitioned through time—in that usual bizarre way when time passes and yet you go backwards.

Now I sit in transition, waiting for the connection that doesn’t come for hours.  It is quiet here, for the moment, as I sit by my gate where nobody else has gathered. It’s that between time, before a new flight comes in and another flight goes out; before the transition into the next moment of reality; before the next moment of life.

How does one transition from the celebration and sadness of a life lost far too soon to join a celebration of another kind, with a loud and boisterous family that only knows a part of you?  I’m trying to find my holiday spirit, but the black ribbon pinned near my heart reminds me of a gaping hole—of a family that was once whole but now has a rip in it, just as the ribbon has been torn. I don’t know how to put on a “I’m going to Hawaii” smile when it just reminds me of all the trips I didn’t get to take with my father, and all the transitions yet to come.


I know that life can’t stop, and that a life without transitions isn’t a life well-lived, but sometimes, just for a moment, I wish I could just freeze time and make everything stay the way I want it to be.

Do you ever feel like that?

27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lisaspiral
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 16:38:17

    It’s hard when we go through any kind of dramatic change in our lives to appreciate why the rest of the world won’t just stop and wait for us. My daughter did some of what you’re doing when she went to England on the choir trip the day after her grandmother’s funeral. It won’t be the trip you had planned. It might be really helpful to take some of that Hawaiian sunshine, or rainbows, and give yourself a little time out. You will have fun, and you will have tears and it will be the trip that it is. Who knows, maybe this is your Dad’s way of coming with you.


  2. Stuart Nager
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 17:59:38

    I’m glad you are going on this trip instead of just sitting around. That is one of the things that’s been hard for me: just being in the same place. Use this as an excuse, whatever you want to call it…but, you’re taking him with you somewhere beautiful.


  3. Taochild
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 18:15:47

    Time is kind of weird. Sometimes it seems to flow beyond our control, but with a little effort we can actually freeze it in place, or even cause it to loop. Writing … pictures … that is capturing time and locking it down. And the imagination … memories … that is time working to our own whim. WE will never be alone as long as we have that skill, and because of it we will never really lose anyone. Dad has not gone. He has just changed costumes to perform in a new, timeless show.


  4. Deborah Oster Pannell
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 19:09:00

    Yes, I recognize these feelings… the strange clarity and depth of vision that grief brings… but this too slips in and out of our grasp… Your willingness to continue living and embrace the changes honors the love you have shared with your father. It’s a worthy celebration of the moment…
    Sending much love…


  5. Andra Watkins
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 19:59:07

    As much as this is what you needed, and what your dad would’ve wanted, it is hard. xo


  6. speccy
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 06:03:53

    A few days after my mother’s funeral we went on a planned holiday. I slept and cried and was disconnected, but it was good to be away, to be cushioned, to remember how to relax. It was very weird, but no weirder than being at home without the daily mother angst.
    Transitions are necessary, but oh so hard.
    Warmest wishes.


  7. nrhatch
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 09:36:00

    From my post today:

    Life, like time, flows in a single stream. We cannot double back, detour around rough patches, or request a “do-over.” There’s no “rewind” button. We cannot press “pause.” This is IT.

    We live it . . . or we miss it.

    Even when we are standing still, mired in memories of what was, life continues to ebb and flow around us . . . gaining momentum as we age.

    We can only LIVE in the HERE and NOW. All else is ether.

    Enjoy the trip. Have FUN. Laugh. Make memories with your daughter and husband. Set aside your sadness. And don’t feel guilty. That is not what Spirit wants from us. _/!\_


  8. Sandi Ormsby
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 11:34:35

    I hope you can find a way to enjoy Christmas, or at least find comfort. I’m sending you and Steve big hugs. I had a high school friend, who felt guilty enjoying herself after the recent death of her mother. Her dad told her that her mom would want her to enjoy the moment(s), like graduation,…and it doesn’t mean you miss them any less. Eventhough they aren’t physically right next to you, doesn’t mean they aren’t watching and enjoying your moment too.


  9. thelifeofjamie
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 14:56:30

    I can only promise you that it gets easier. The sad memories are filled with happier ones. As time marches on, you’ll see a picture or hear a song that reminds you of your dad and you will smile instead of cry. You’ll still cry, but it’s not about what you missed, it’s about what you had. You’ll remember the good times, get angry about the bad, and sentimental about the rest. It gets easier…I promise. Love and hugs to you! Enjoy Hawaii… It’s magical!


  10. 4amWriter
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 15:21:49

    So sorry about your loss, Lisa. Wishing you peace and comfort during this difficult time. Kate


  11. eof737
    Dec 27, 2012 @ 17:27:20

    Sending you healing light and love {{{Hugs}}}
    ¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪ Sending Holidays Blessings to You & Yours! .♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ♥
    ˜”*°•.˜”*°•.˜”*°•.★★.•°*”˜.•°*”˜.•°*”˜” ♥ ˜”*°•.˜”*°•.˜”*°•.★★.•°*”˜.•°*”˜.•°*”˜”


  12. termitespeaker
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 09:19:19

    I sympathize greatly with your loss of your father, Lisa, and I know this may not be a good time for everyday matters, but I am looking for a third person to tag for the Next Best Thing Blog Tour. It’s a series of questions that you answer concerning your WIP or latest publication – a good opportunity to let people know what you’re writing. Go here to see the questions and learn more about it: I’m putting up my post on Jan. 9 and you would want to put yours up around Jan. 16. You can let me know if you can do it by replying here or by tweeting me @TermiteWriter.
    Again, I’m truly sorry for the painful loss you’ve just endured.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 29, 2012 @ 13:19:49

      Thank you for your kind words and for the tag. I actually already did this recently in this post

      I don’t know that I have much more to say.



  13. Kathy
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 12:59:58

    Dear Lisa, so sorry to read about the death of your father. You wrote so beautifully about this transition time, though, the poignancy of it, the way we move between times and people and traditions. May you and your family be blessed. I will be thinking about you.


  14. Darlene O. Vincent
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 03:47:21

    At the heart of every spiritual practice is learning to live in the present moment. The key word in that sentence is practice. One of the many beauties in approaching transitions with consciousness is that they provide crystallized opportunities to hone this practice. For whether it’s enduring first trimester sickness or slogging through the mud of a break up, remembering to focus on one moment at a time is a skill that will serve you not only through the current challenge but for the rest of your life.


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