The one day in the year that is dedicated to the men in our lives, and in our children’s lives, and to give us the opportunity to thank them for all they do every day.
Or in our case, be thankful that Frank is here today to celebrate with us.
I am grateful for that fact alone, let alone the fact that he continues to work hard, play hard, and live looking forward towards his goals. Knowing that the reality could have been different makes this year’s Father’s Day an even bigger blessing.
So many things change in each of our lives every year. I am not sure we ever truly look back on the year unless it is a holiday, birthday, birth or funeral. When we do that – stop and walk through where the year has been – I think we would be surprised at what we see, and what we can remember about each month of the year. I do know that few of us actually take the time to think back, and take that walk through those memories, and reflect on everything that we have done, seen and who is important to us during that past year.
I, however, am not one of those people. Today, amid the chaos of soccer tournaments, swimming parties and more soccer, plus two Target runs and some stops for food, I did reflect back on the year. Of course it helped that there was an article today in the paper about Frank, reflecting for us, or at least a type of reflection, on the past year of our life.
It is always interesting when someone else writes about your life. There is often a perspective that is given that may or may not reflect the true situation, or the inner workings of how a relationship wraps itself around the people involved. It is well known that I am fairly open with how things have progressed and changed over the last 18 months of our lives. In my thought, honesty about a situation such as ours gives the opportunity for our life story touch another person.
My goal, found very soon after the accident, was to give that person - that one person - that needed to hear our story the facts behind what we live with each day. Why would I do that?
Because it is what I believe in; it is what I feel we can do to give back to so many that gave to us. We are not alone on our journey, this journey following a traumatic event. I can name close friends following the same path, living a similar life, sharing the same worries each night as they fall asleep. So many of those friends and acquaintances are with us, and follow us, to feel that connection to someone else that is going through a similar life situation.
We are not unique, or special, in any way other than we live life out in the open. We are honest, and sometimes brutally honest, about how hard, and scary this has been. Frank, not able to participate with us in the beginning of journey, has now been recruited to speak at the presentations about his recovery, and is an asset to other law enforcement officers that have been injured, along with others living and recovering from a brain injury. He reads every post, and comments to me about things he thinks are funny, poorly written or just plain wrong.
We are here, for better or worse, out in the open. Some of you may feel like we are too far out, and I appreciate that honesty. Some of you feel we are not out far enough, and to that I have no response, other than to smile, and say thank you, and ask what next? Where do you want us to go next?
Truth be told, if I were writing an article about our family on a Father’s Day weekend, it would go something like this.
Frank Mackall is a law enforcement officer. Eighteen months ago, while on duty in Savage, he was injured in a crash that could have taken his life. He survived after a quick response by his team, and spent 84 days at the hospital recovering from a severe brain injury.
Today, he is still recovering, home now with his family where he belongs. And although many things are very different for this family of five, they strive to live each day fighting to regain and renew the family that was strong before, and has been made even stronger since the accident.
His wife, a local speech pathologist, has left her career of 19 years in adult therapy settings, to be home now, focusing on her husband’s recovery, and the re-bonding of her family. This mother, wife, therapist and now writer, struggles with the complexity of juggling so many hats at once. And as she will attest, it is easy to become overwhelmed dealing with so many changes in ones immediate environment. With any life changing traumatic event, it is not just the person injured that changes, but that trauma ripples outward, changing everyone in its path.
But that has not stopped this family from waking up each day to a new beginning. Each morning dawns with a clean slate; one that can be filled with dread and despair, or one that can be filled with hope, focus, activity and love.
And they choose love.
It would have been easy to give up by now – for all of them. The changes in Dad taking its toll on the kids, the changes in a husband/wife relationship unraveling a marriage at the seams, and a mother, tired of the fight, could give up and walk away.
But that is not the choices they have made. The Mackall family has chosen to fight. To fight for their family, to fight for their marriage, and to fight for their Dad.
So on THIS Father’s Day, they will celebrate another day together as a family, as a father, and as a husband. It won’t be the dinner, the dessert, or the presents that will matter, it will be the presence in these moments that matter.
And this family has the presence of a strong father, with a family of blood and blue standing beside him, giving him the time and the strength to recover from this horrific accident that almost removed future Father’s Day celebrations. With their heads held high, and a plan in place, the will recover, together as a family, one day at a time.
Not that anyone asked, but that is what I would write on this weekend to honor the Father’s in our lives.
Because life is too short to worry about how people think things should be; instead, life should be lived and loved how they are, with those that people that give one another grace, and walk along the path with those suffering, to help when one stumble along the way.
Happy Father’s Day to Dad, Frank and Matt, and to all of the Father’s in blue – please return home safe to your families tonight.