Archive for March, 2012

Before college, I lived in two houses. One that was a small ranch across the bend from my Grandma in a suburb of Detroit. And then there was my childhood home.  Almost all memories from my childhood are nestled inside the walls of that said residence in Imlay City, Michigan.

Not much has changed since we moved into that house. New appliances or pieces of furniture will pop up here and there, but you could recognize pictures of that house from 15 years ago.

The reason behind the minimal changes lies around my Dad and the way he processes most things. My mom enjoys updating her home as much as the typical middle class wife does. She has never been a woman who needs the very best of things, but she likes to update when needed and make her home look nice and comfortable.

In the beginning of 2008 my Mom began talking with my Dad about the need for new curtains in our living room. She hadn’t changed her curtains since I was in High School and now I was a college graduate. It was time for a simple change.  New Curtains.

My dad’s response” Well if we get new curtains-we need a new rug- which means we need a new couch- so maybe we should just look for a new house. “

So began the house hunt of the Prendergasts. My Mom and Dad put in 10 offers on different homes over the next year. Clearly Jesus had other plans in mind and let each offer not pan out in some random way but that is just one small example of how my dad processed things.

He didn’t just think through small actions. He saw a big picture, made an action plan, and acted quickly and efficiently. He was extremely driven and got things done… and done well.

I have inherited some of this way of thinking from my dad. I have a bit of a driven streak in me and when I do things, I do it with intensity. It’s hard to imagine not acting in that way.

After my dad died I had a uncomfortable awakening of how much change my dad affected in others. I sadly did not realize the man that I was privileged enough to call my father impacted many lives while he was here on this earth.

My brother and I wanted to do something in his name to remember him and create a way of honoring his legacy. An idea was brought up by Greg and his buddies of putting together a small poker tournament for some friends and family around the one year anniversary.  My Dad loved poker and people being together so it seemed like the perfect tribute. I LOVED the idea and was ready to take their creative vision and get this plan in motion.

After a bit of Google research I learned that gambling is illegal in some contexts.

The red tape that you have to go through in Michigan to set up a charity poker tournament is unreal. We quickly realized that just throwing together a small tournament would be quite the feat.

So other options were on the horizon, such as using different organizations licensure to put on our tournament, until my father’s train of thinking jumped into my brain.

If we are remembering my dad by playing poker, why don’t we should just start our own non-profit? We could set up a scholarship system for his past students and affect change in local family’s lives.

And that was the beginning of The Greg Prendergast Memorial Foundation.

And I’m going to brag… the GPMfoundation is doing big things.

Its an interesting complex to be proud and excited about a non-profit that was created because of March 26th, 2009.

How can I want something to succeed so much, when it means my dad will never be at these events? He will never be a part of the planning process. He will never shake a hand that enters through those doors. This was created because he’s not here.

A great dream was birthed out of pain.

The foundation has literally become a collision of grief and hope for me. I spent 5 hours creating the new website, extremely proud of my product… and then sat back and welled up into a place of sadness and tears. I just missed my dad.

I can see this not just in grief but in other scenarios all over our world. We are constantly living in this tension between despair and hope.

I’ve watched greed happen, yet I’ve also seen great generosity.

I’ve identified injustices, but recognized hope in action.

I’ve felt pain through loss, and I’ve witnessed transformation of souls.

But, I guess this is the tension I want to strive for in my life. I never want my dad to not have a big place in my heart. I want to feel the ache of him not here. Not denying the suffering or grief that has been formed by losing a great man, but I won’t stop living fully and celebrating the beauty that comes through pain.




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