Happy 58th Birthday Dad

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Dad,

Usually I would be calling you today and wishing you a happy birthday, and I would ask you how your day has been. You would be as positive as possible no matter what the circumstance was on your birthday. You might have even had to work, but this wouldn’t bother you because you were the best at what you did and you took joy in it. I loved that about you. That quality is a quality that I want to take with me in my life and in my future. Instead you are in a better place than I can ever imagine. This is my belief…which I will never give up on…

This year and forever more you will be spending it in heaven with Mocca and Poppa (Your loving parents). I can’t imagine the look on their faces when you entered the kingdom of heaven to be greeted by them and many others I am sure. I picture in my head that they just wrapped their arms around you, and told you how much they loved you and missed you.

My brother and I talked today about you over the phone. He had been trying to call me all day yesterday, but I was in the middle of my state volleyball tournament. I finally was able to call him this morning because I knew that if my brother called me 3 times in one day that he had something important to tell me.

He told me that he had the most vivid dream of you and him talking the other night. It brought so much peace in my heart just to have my brother open up and tell me about this conversation that had truly touched him. It touched me and made feel closer to you since you departed the earth 8 months ago. He said that you and him met in downtown Norfolk, Va at a library. In this dream he knew that you had already passed on and you knew you had as well. He began to ask you unanswered questions that he had been thinking about in the past months.

My brother told me that when he mentioned me and what I was going through and how much I was struggling with losing you, that you immediately teared up because you hated that I was hurting.

It brought me to tears over the phone because my Dad loved me so much, and it gave him pain that I was struggling. Although my Dad wasn’t in my life everyday, I never doubted how much he loved me and my brother.

He gave my brother a little closure in this vivid dream, and I considered it as a gift that in that moment I felt a closeness to Dad after him being gone for these 8 months….Sometimes we don’t have the answers and we don’t understand why things like this happen, but in these small significant moments we realize that Dad will do everything he can to stay close to us even if it’s through a dream….

Love you Dad

Happy Birthday

Journal Entry October 20th, 2012 Hey Dad…

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October 20th, 2012

Hey Dad,

Right now I am in Little Rock, Arkansas for my job. I know you would be happy for me about being a coach. God has truly blessed me, and your prayers for my new job must have worked. I am now a head coach for volleyball. How awesome is that. I know you would be thrilled to see me coaching these girls. I coach Junior High 7-9th and Varsity 10-12th. It’s so much fun! I never thought in a million years that I would be a head coach of 18 girls for a school. It blows my mind every time I think about it. I am sure your smiling down at me now saying, “Your proud of your little girl.” =) I am going to continue to coach. I want to make a career out of it. My goal is to be a head coach at a university. That would be thrilling! Mom says if I speak it then it will come true. I couldn’t agree more. One day that will happen. For now I am sitting in my hotel room with two of my volleyball players Abbi the sweet red head and Christina a sweetheart as well.

You look back and ask yourself how did I get here. My life has completely changed in the last year. I never thought or imagined this different of a life. It brings so many different emotions. I can’t explain it almost. I feel like if I do I become overwhelmed. I am just thankful I’m getting through it.

THANK YOU LORD…

Anyways today my varsity is playing in regionals against CMA, a team we haven’t beat yet, but I believe today is our day Dad. I know you will be there with me cheering my team on. I believe in them so much Dad. I am bias but I love those girls so much! No matter what happens I am proud of them just like I am with my JV team who placed third in state yah! Well I have to get ready. I love you and miss you so much.

Always,

Your daughter Kristina

(An entry from my personal journal dedicated to my Dad)

3 Little Grapes

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This short but sweet story explains the love between two young brothers…

My uncle Scott has always been known as the “Big Brother” to my Dad who was just a few years younger than him.

Uncle Scott remembers my Dad being very young, and possibly young enough that he wasn’t attending school yet. On any ordinary day at the Isphording residence, Dad was staying home with his Mom while my uncle Scott went to school. The grand kids called her “Mocca.”

That morning my Dad and his mother went to the grocery store, and came home short after his brother left for the day.

When my Dad arrived home with his mother that morning, he made his way to the kitchen, went to the refrigerator and grabbed a few grapes. He went to the window and sat there all day waiting patiently for his “Big Brother” to come home.

Mocca, his mother was noticing that my Dad couldn’t keep his eyes off the window. He sat for hours looking out for his brother to arrive home from school. Mocca also noticed that he was holding something in his hand. Patiently, Dad waited for his brother to arrive home.

As soon as “Big Brother” arrived he was greeted at the doorway. My Dad opened up his little hand and there was three little grapes sitting on the palm of his hand that he had saved all day for his “Big Brother” that he loved so much.

This story truly touched my heart and reminded me of the kindness my Dad had in his heart starting at such a young age.

Love you Dad and thank you Uncle Scott for sharing that sweet story…

If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…

Dad always spoke to me about his experiences, his memories, his plans, and his dreams. Dad was a local boy his whole life, so he really didn’t travel much. He experienced some of the east coast, but really lived and stayed in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area most of his life. He was content and happy with what he had, even if that wasn’t very much…

I believe life will throw you a curve from time to time. Sometimes good and sometimes bad.

Dad always went with the flow, so it didn’t seem to bother him much.

One of those changes happened to be a great opportunity to travel with his work. Dad had only been on a plane maybe one or two times his entire life, so flying wasn’t very ideal… I remember when Dad called me the first time he found out about his new job. He was excited and nervous all at the same time. He was going to Oahu, Hawaii from Norfolk, Virginia. He told me he had not ridden on a plane in over 15 years. Dad said, “Kristina, please say a prayer for me. I don’t know how I feel about getting on one of those planes.” I laughed and said I would.  When he arrived in Hawaii he was so beyond excited. It was his new paradise. He told me he felt like he was in heaven. It made me so happy and so proud of him. Dad just kept telling me how beautiful it was and how relaxing it was there. It was one of my proudest moments of Dad.

This was a dream of my Dad’s…A dream that he thought he would never see. It opened his eyes, and it changed his outlook on life and gave him an even better perspective. He didn’t want to leave this place that he called heaven.

Hawaii became a special place to Dad, and also to my brother and I.

So many things to say about Hawaii, but I will talk more about that in another post…

After leaving Hawaii, Dad’s next job was in San Francisco, California. Another place he had never been, and since Dad already flew my brother and I out to Hawaii, he wanted to share his experiences with us in San Francisco as well.

Dad never wanted us to miss out on anything that he experienced. He always wanted to share his life with us, and always wanted to include us in everything he did. It brings tears to my eyes because the love my Dad had for my brother and I is more than anyone will ever know. He would have given us the world if he could.

Dad didn’t have much of anything when it came to possessions, but he was full of love, definitely lived life, and loved his children unconditionally even if he had nothing else to give them. That was plenty for me….in addition to the most amazing trip of my life with my brother and Dad to Hawaii.

Dad talked about San Francisco all the time too. He said it is a beautiful place, and knowing that I haven’t been there, he wanted to fly me there, so I could see it with him.

Two weeks before Dad passed on he spoke to me about San Francisco again. He told me that his company was sending him there for the third time. Dad was stoked that he was going, and that I would finally be able meet him there. He wanted me to see the beautiful places that he had seen and go to places we both haven’t seen…

The San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is where Dad bought me my Fisherman’s Wharf t-shirt and brought back to me when he came and visited me in Texas. Dad talked all about how cool this place was…where I will have to go one day…

The magnificent Redwood forest that my Dad couldn’t stop talking about. I will drive there one day. Dad told my brother and I so much about all the places he had seen and the places he wanted to go see. My brother and I will take this trip in honor of Dad. My brother and I spoke about it a few weeks ago and decided that we will make a bucket list for Dad. I can’t forget about the hippie area Dad told me about that he went through. He said it was a trip. He spoke about Lombard Street and Alcatraz…All these faint conversations of these places will stay close to my heart.

One day Dad I will go to San Francisco…

My Mom and Dad grew up listening to this song, and this song is a song that I really listened to the first time the other day.

It all started Saturday morning when I woke up. It was the first time I spoke to anyone about Dad’s plans for me to come see him in San Francisco, which would have been around this time. I told my friend that he had called me and spoke to me about his trip that he just found out about within the last few weeks of his life. Dad was so excited that I was coming there to see him and spend time with him in the city of San Francisco. He was so happy that he had another journey to make as well. Traveling was something Dad looked forward to.  It made me happy that Dad was finally able to have these experiences even though they were later in his life…

As my friend and I were sitting on her couch for some reason I brought up this conversation I had with my Dad. A few minutes later I told her it was time for me to leave and I hopped in the car…Remembering that I had just reset all my stations, the oldies station was on because it reminded me of my Dad of course. I turn the radio up and the song above plays…”If your going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” I teared up immediately and smiled as I drove down the highway. Don’t you know my Dad was a hippie. I felt my Dad sitting right next to me, and at that moment I felt comforted and completely at peace.

Thank you  Dad for that moment. You must have known I needed it.

I love you always and forever

Kristina

P.S. I will go to San Francisco one day and wear flowers in my hair just for you

Memories and More…

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Dad was always down for having a good time. I have been told by many that he could dance like you wouldn’t believe.

Taking a look at this picture reminds me of the reasons why I like to dance. It’s in my genes.

This particular picture is taken at my Mom and Dad’s wedding reception. I was told it was the happening party of the century, and I definitely don’t doubt that one bit after all the stories I have heard from my Dad’s friends and family.

I want to tribute this blog/website to my Dad and keep him alive in our hearts through stories and memories. I will start posting stories and memories from friends and family, and a few reflections of my own from time to time, and eventually I will make these stories into a book to keep forever.

Reflection…

Saturday February 25, 2012

I pulled in the driveway after receiving three phone calls of urgency from my Mom that I needed to come home. The last thought in the world was the news I was about to receive. I walked in the door nervously and wondering why there was the feeling of empathy towards me.

I was told to sit down on the couch and it was there that I lost my breath and curled into my mother’s arms. The feeling of loss was unexplainable. It was as if I had the wind knocked out of me, followed by a sudden sharp pain in my throat that trembled and let out a shock of screams.

I had just spoken with my Dad earlier that week about the potential job opportunities. He was so excited and happy for me. He even called me twice more and left voice mails about the possibility of the new job. As soon as I remembered that my Dad had left me voice mails I grabbed my phone and played them over and over again just to hear his voice.

Eventually I spoke to my brother who was absent for words besides asking me how soon I could be there since I am living half way across the country. I wanted to blink my eyes right then to be right by his side.

Knowing that I would need a lot of support my Mom had already called my close friends. They all surrounded me with 100 percent of love and support. I feel so blessed to have that in my life and I have been told that by many that I have amazing friends. My friends are more than friends, they are family to me.

The only thing keeping me going that day was going through pictures and hand picking every single picture my Dad was in. I didn’t want to let go of any pictures out of my hands. It was my only way of coping besides constant prayers for me and my family.

Word was out about what happened and hours later my Mom and I had paid plane tickets to Virginia Beach the very next day.

Blessings and support is what brought me home to Virginia Beach where my brother, Dad, and family resided.

Blessings continued after arriving in Virginia Beach that resulted in a beautiful Memorial Service and celebration of my Dad’s life.

No one can ever be prepared to hear news like that, so sudden.

The reason I share these personal thoughts are because of the importance it is to tell your parents, your family, and anyone you truly care about that you love them, and to let go of grudges, issues, or problems you may have because life is too short. It is possible that they won’t be with you tomorrow.

Personally…

I am blessed to have had a close and loving relationship with my Dad. I will never doubt his love. He loved me so much, and I will always hold that close to my heart, as well as the memories we shared together.

I love you Dad so much! Forever and Always

your daughter,

Kristina Marie

My Dad Tom Isphording Sr.

Thomas Page Isphording Sr., 57, of Norfolk, VA passed away on February 25, 2012. He was predeceased by his parents, Edythe Barbour and Ralph Cabell Isphording. He is survived by his two children, Kristina and Tom Isphording Jr.; brother Scott Isphording; beloved grandchildren Jerid and Branndon; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Dad loved music, particularly the golden age of rock from the 60’s and 70’s. He was a self taught guitarist, a life long surfer and a golden gloves champion boxer. He was proud of his nordic heritage and had traced the family name back over 1000 years. Dad was an avid reader with a deep interest in the quest of the unknown. He had a heart of gold full of generosity, sympathy, and love. He was quick with a smile and had a full hearty laugh. His love and humor and the man himself will be missed to all that knew him.

If you have any stories or comments of Tom please feel free to post. We will be making a book out of your stories.

Please post anything you can remember or would like to say so that my brother and I may keep these close to our hearts.

My Dad’s funeral is Friday March 2, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the H.D. Oliver Funeral Home in the chapel. The address is 1501 Colonial Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23517.

Following the funeral service their will be a gathering at my grandmother Bette Ball’s residence. The address is 3936 Shady Oaks Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455. Directions will be given out at the funeral service to my grandmother’s house.

God Bless

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