One Year

In one year, we have welcomed sweet Baby Tillman to our family.


We’ve played soccer.


We’ve made cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving.


We decorated our family Christmas tree.


We each turned a year older.


Over and over again, we gave our hearts (and then Baby Tut Tut…) to the Lord.


We searched for joy.


Sometimes we found it.


And sometimes we didn’t.


We celebrated new beginnings with family.


We went pee pee in the potty!


We learned to depend on each other.


And we honored our family in new, special ways.


We learned how to milk a cow…


…and how to build a deck.


We gave ourselves time to remember.


And we gave ourselves permission to move ahead.


We experienced a lot of firsts as a family.


And we even laughed. A lot.

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A lot has happened in a year, and I think that’s what makes the anniversary of my dad’s passing hard. It marks the passing of time without him. So many memories created, so many milestones passed, so many accomplishments made. And, though we carried my dad with us through every step, we missed him sharing in these experiences with us. Beside us and among us.

Looking back over the past year, I think my dad would be really proud of our family and the way we have carried on. We have learned how to love each other in a very different way because we’ve learned how to love each other with compassion. We’ve learned to respect each other’s individual needs during our grief, and we’ve banded together to lift each other up during the really hard days.

I used to think that grief was a phase. Something you came into and worked your way out of. But I’ve learned that grief becomes part of you. It hits you at unexpected moments, like when you find one of his golf balls in the backseat of your car or when your children ask if they can call heaven. It’s the moment when you catch your breath and realize that you haven’t seen his face or heard his voice in a year. It’s the dreams where he just happens to walk through your kitchen and sit down at the table, as though he never left. I think I will grieve for the rest of my life over the loss of my dad.

One year.

So much grief and sorrow, so much sadness and hurt. But so much joy and laughter, so much love and peace.

Blessed are we who mourn, for how deep is the love we have known.



December 26, 1941 – August 11, 2012

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36 Thoughts to “One Year”

  1. Teresa W

    Very touching post.

  2. Kiwi Jess

    Wow, this is very moving, so much so that I’m sitting here in tears, bless you and your lovely family.

  3. jenn v

    Beautiful post Katie

  4. Rachel

    Beautiful post. Hugs to you from ND.

  5. Amanad

    Such a beautiful reflection. I have had ya’ll on my heart lately. May each of you continue to find peace on this journey.

  6. jamie

    {gulp} you all have been in my heart and prayers this week. throughout this entire year you have been a beautiful example of how christ picks us up, loves us, and continues to carry us.

  7. Jamie

    This post made me cry. A lot. I lost my mom about 6 weeks ago. And throughout the last few weeks I have gotten upset just thinking about the possibility of having to face milestones in my life without her. First kid, new jobs, holidays….im so scared of how hard it will be. I have thought about you often and I think you have been a good example of how to deal. I try to find comfort in knowing that she is with me now more than ever, but that doesnt make me miss her any less.

  8. Kate

    So touching. My heart is in my throat right now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, especially over this past year, I’m sure it’s touched and helped more than you know!

  9. Courtney

    Hi Friend, I’ve read all of your post about your dad and cried with every post, but with a smile. I see your pictures of him smiling and I hear his laugh all these years later. What a great family he has in all of you!

  10. You nailed it! Almost two years since my father died and we are still learning to live without him.

  11. Jenna

    Many, many tears, prayers, and well-wishes for all of you … Especially over the next few days.

  12. LIssa

    this was so beautiful Katie. Thank you

  13. Beautiful post Katie! Your dad has been there for all of those memories and experiences. He has laughed right along with you and found joy in your happiness. He jumped up and down with excitement when Gracie used the potty. 🙂 he was there for everything this past year because you bring him wherever you go in your heart.

  14. Holding you and your family in my heart today, Katie. His smile makes me smile. I am so amazed by your family and the way you have carried on and lived through his spirit. i can only imagine how proud he is of all of you.

    so much love <3

  15. ginny matthews

    Oh Katie, so sweet. You and Ginny have grown into beautiful, smart, strong women, and I know your Dad smiles down from above.

  16. You have an unbelievable way with words. Beautiful post. Now I start my morning with a few tears, but a lot of perspective. <3

  17. Katy

    I remember very clearly when your Dad passed away Katie because it was only a week before my Dad died. I can’t believe a year has passed. Your sentiments here are very honest, and very beautiful. I’m sure your Dad will be very proud of you all, wherever he is.

  18. Kristin

    Beautiful. Kisses to your family!

  19. Lindsay

    Beautifully said. My husband has been gone for 8 months, and raising a preschooler alone has brought so many milestones with it that he hasnt been here for. I completely agree that grief is never ending.

    “The worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes. And let it go when we can.” unknown.

  20. Kimmiejo

    I’m definitely fighting back tears on this one. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  21. Audrey

    This post really hit a soft spot in me. Heck, I think I myself just grieved a little over the loss of your dad! Sending peace your way, Katie!

  22. Suzanne

    Katie, I still get choked up when you write a post about your Dad. Thank you for sharing your true feelings with all of us and showing the depths of grief. Being real is truly refreshing in our world that moves quickly and asks everyone to move on quickly as well. You cannot move on quickly from grief. Your father is sitting with Jesus looking down from heaven and enjoying watching you and your family grow, mature, and continue to enjoy life. As others have mentioned, I love looking at pictures of him smiling because you can almost hear him laughing! What a joy. I am praying for you, Ginny and the rest of your family as you face this very difficult milestone.

  23. Dear Katie. I remember when I heard the news. I felt awful and just wished I could reach out and hug you even though I’ve never met you. I love how positive you’ve been through all of this but also your honesty during your first year of grief has been something to be proud of. I’m sure you are helping a lot of people feel not so alone. (((hugs)))

  24. Becky

    It is beautiful and perfect.

    You are such an amazing woman, I aspire to be you in so many ways 🙂

  25. Brooke

    Probably the most beautiful post I’ve ever read.

  26. I have no doubt he has been watching over all of you with pride. He’s with you always, and I agree…grief isn’t a phase. You never truly get over someone’s passing. It ebbs and flows, and you always carry it in your heart. God bless you and your family, sending you all prayers

  27. Farrar

    Katie, I am a daily reader, rarely commenter. It doesn’t go away but it does get easier. My PawPaw passed 4 years ago and he was as dear to me and my brother as a father. I think about him often but with more smiles now than tears. Sometimes it still hits me like a baseball bat to the chest and takes my breath away and hurts so bad it is like it was yesterday. Thankfully those days don’t come as often anymore. Anyways. I understand – at least to some degree – Continued prayers, and a big ole imaginary friend cyber hug!!!

  28. Peggy

    Beautiful words! My dad died 21 years ago this summer. I was his “Littlest Indian”. I miss the Chief every day.

  29. Lindsey

    This made me sad – we lost my husband’s dad in 2011 and this post brought back floods of feelings. The hardest part is knowing my kids won’t know him in this life. My oldest was 2 when he passed – she still remembers him but I’m beginning to think it’s from videos and pictures and not from her own memory. Either way we will strive to keep that memory alive. My thoughts are with you and your family Katie – you are all a wonderful example and a beautiful family. Give your mom a squeeze from all your readers.

  30. Very beautifully written. I think he is very proud of you all. You’re such a strong family.

  31. Hi Katie, Great post. I know it was hard to write and execute.
    You’re a fantastic writer. Keep writing, keep going. It will do great things for you..
    There will come a day.. when he “will turn your mourning into joy.”

  32. Angela

    Wow. I am a daily reader but never comment. This post brought me to tears, both times I read it. Such a beautiful and loving tribute. We welcomed our first child in June (2012) and lost my father-in-law on Christmas Day (2012). It has a been a whirlwind of emotions this year, many happy, many not, and I know at times I do not say or do the right thing to support my husband because there is nothing anyone can say or do to help ease the pain. I am grateful for every experience this year – but saddened by the coming anniversary of his passing (especially on what is normally such a happy day). Thank you for sharing this. It really touched me.

  33. Katie, I can’t believe it’s been a year… my heart hurts for y’all still. Your dad seemed like such a wonderful man! Praying for y’all a little extra on the anniversary of his passing. Hugs!

  34. PK

    This is a beautiful post, Katie. I think your dad would be proud of all of you. From what I have read here on your blog, you all have handled this tough year as well as can be expected. Your grief has been great but you have learned to move on and continue to enjoy life while remembering and honoring your dad and the life he lived. That is no small feat.

  35. This is so beautiful – you have so much to be proud of!

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