Rebecca Hagelin

There I was, sitting in the chair at the salon having my hair trimmed when, suddenly, the tears came. My only warning was the intense burning I felt in the back of my eyes – I knew I would have to fight extra hard to keep the droplets at bay as they began to pool in the darkness of my sockets.

Alas, my best efforts proved futile as first one, then two tiny droplets slipped from underneath my tightly squeezed lids and trickled down my cheeks. Mercifully, only about six made their way onto my face and neck before I got them under control, just as I was beginning to fear being overtaken by a gushing flood.

Today marked the end of a difficult, emotional year. One year ago to this bright, warm spring morning, my father's body  was put beneath the chilly, damp sod. Within a span of 12 brief weeks I numbly found myself in that same graveyard as my precious mother's cancer-ridden corpse took its place in the ground beside her beloved husband of 45 years.

As fate would have it, at the precise moment I began to conquer the tears my 11-year-old daughter, Kristin, appeared squarely in front of me to show off her new haircut. Despite my best smile and most enthusiastic expression, this sensitive, beautiful creature looked straight at the slight glimmer on my face. She silently reached out with her delicate finger and softly touched a single tear on my left cheek.

Her lovely, hazel eyes were filled with compassion and concern as I whispered, "I was just thinking about Papa Doc." She nodded, pressed her pouty lips together, and patted my hand. In an instant my sadness was replaced with the warm glow of knowing that although both of my parents are gone, their legacy of love and compassion are alive and well in my own children.

Losing both parents in the same year was devastating.  But in my mourning, God, in his wonderful , mystical way provided me with an amazing opportunity to work to preserve the rich heritage my parents spent their lives protecting.  Just as their spirits were going to their eternal destiny, my time here on Earth was being redirected by a strong, unseen hand to what I believe is the privilege of a lifetime:  I was offered a position at the Heritage Foundation.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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