January 11, 2013 8:23 PM

Empty House

Came home tonight and no one was here except our dogs and the haunted walls that echoed the tears and laughter of our life together. The Boyz are off at Jill's House.....a wonderful ministry that gives families with children of special needs a place every so often where they can spend the weekend having a blast being loved on by wonderful folks and give the parents and possibly their "regular" children a little special time together.  This used to be a time Barbara and I relished, with me bringing home some special burritos to munch while watching whatever she had in the queue from Netflix; and of course discuss whatever child or current matter needed "fixing."  But not tonight....and not ever again, for she is gone and I am here.

In reminiscing along these lines....we spent our three month courtship going to museums, parks, and music venues.  But what we liked to do most since we lived close to San Francisco was to buy burritos at El Faro's in the Mission district and frequent old movie houses that specialized in old classics and foreign movies. We carried that into our marriage for our special time and then were able to bring it into our family life with the advent of VCRs and monitors.  Our children didn't grow up with television, but with all the old classics and movies both modern and foreign that we felt would inspire character, encourage their intellect/logic/common sense, and open their eyes to the real world without the jadedness of post modernism. Even though this was before our conversion God was teaching us to be proactive parents. Barbara's background in Montessori teaching really helped along these lines. 
You've heard me say that she made me a better man than I ever would have been. It's true.. I married her under false pretenses in hopes to marry the most wonderful woman I had ever met.  I professed to be a person like her... a high heart...like a bird to fly high,(hence our life long two bird theme).... who wanted to be the best person she could be. I didn't know what that meant but I wanted to be with her so I played the part. Once we were married and the blinders were off it became very apparent that I wasn't quite the catch she thought I was.  I had to make a decision to rise to the occasion. Because of my experience in growing up in a divorced home, quitting was not an option.  I remember telling Barbara that I was committed and had, "burned all my ships," recounting her the historical moment(not a very romantic example....but it worked for me) when the Romans were trying to invade Britain. After being repulsed by Celts repeatedly,  in order to teach commitment to his men, Julius Caesar ordered all his ships to be burned leaving nowhere to retreat to. That was a turning point for me in our first few months of marriage that began the heart, life, and soul change that God was offering me.
Barbara told me then that I had her heart and that even though I had gambled to be with her, she would give me a chance. As imperfect a man as I was and still am, I learned then that when you really love someone, you help them achieve their dreams and set them free to fly as God meant them to be.  Barbara ....you flew high and touched many....

                                   a song from our early years...

In His grip,
Papa Tripp

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This is a lovely post. Daddio.

We love you so much.

All the love in the world,
Matt, Zach, Jonny, and Maddy

Posted by: Maddy | January 11, 2013 11:10 PM

This is so touching. Keep writing.

Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | January 12, 2013 7:18 AM

What wonderful, cherished memories! May they be with you always, and grow ever more warming with each rememberance.

Posted by: Will Stewart | January 12, 2013 9:40 AM

Papa Tripp:

Thank you so much, again for continuing to keep us in your world. I think it is wonderful for you to ponder and reflect on the poignant memories you have of your life with Barbara and again, such a blessing to us to "hear" your thoughts. It is also so touching to see your children chirp (bird theme again!) in with their input every so often. It must be healing for them to hear you recount so many wonderful memories as you had such a rich life together. Again, so sorry for your pain and you all remain in my prayers and thoughts and I frequent your site every day. Thank you for continuing to post.

Debbie Kierstead

Posted by: Debbie Kierstead | January 12, 2013 10:02 PM

She certainly did! Isn't it amazing how God brings the right people in our lives - the ones who make us WANT to change and be better? Thank you for your beautiful sharing. All of you remain in our prayers. Our Blessed Mother is holding you close and protecting you; she knows the pain of loss, and grieves with you, even as she knows the bliss Barbara is in.

Posted by: Denise | January 13, 2013 12:44 PM

I think it's amazing how Barbara lives on through your writing. How kindred souls you two are. How much of her you have in your writing. After all, 2 have become 1 and you are missing your other half.

My prayers to you and I know the Lord is near you. :)

Posted by: tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations | January 14, 2013 1:26 AM


I feel selfish asking you to keep writing. If it helps you in your grief then please continue. I worry we readers are asking too much of you to keep sharing. Barbara was indeed a force for good and brought many of us along with her pursuit of truth and goodness and virtue. I have such respect for you both. I still cannot quite fathom that she is in heaven. Though, this is one struggle we all share-missing Barbara. Thank you for keeping in touch.

Posted by: Imajackson | January 20, 2013 8:08 PM

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