It’s been a year now since that sad Sunday morning when I sat beside you, singing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name,” while you took your last breath. Larry, Becky, Mama, and I, looked on, Mama holding your hand – our hearts breaking to let you go.
It was the greatest loss I’d ever known.
It was a day I had never wanted to live.
I knelt by your casket and sobbed. As the days passed, I thought I had cried so much that I couldn’t cry any more, but that didn’t happen.
The crying continued.
For a long time.
At about six months, I reached a turning point in my grief. I missed you just the same, but it didn’t hurt as much – I didn’t cry as much – and I found more joy in the memories.
But as this March 4 approached, one year later, that past Sunday morning became vivid in my mind again – like it was yesterday. My thoughts and prayers have been on my new grandbabies – two precious boys born since you left us – babies you would just love to see – babies you will love to meet someday: little Luke who Kristen’s youngest, and little Jackson, Matt’s youngest. I can picture you admiring each of them, pride in your face. I can see the tears in your eyes when you learn that baby Luke needs surgery. I can hear your broken voice in prayer, crying out to the Father you have trusted since you were young.
So toay, I reach in my jewelry box and lift out your wedding ring, sliding it onto my necklace chain. And I wear it close to my heart through these days of delivery and surgery and tumult and joy. And it comforts me to know my Daddy is near and that your prayers are still in a jar, going up as incense before our God. And I thank God for your faithfulness. But I mourn your loss.
So you’ve been on my mind a lot now, Daddy, one year later, and I’m wondering if or when the pain of losing you will ever go away. At first, a year ago, I thought, It won’t be long until I’ll see him again. The Lord will come soon. But now it’s been a year – a long year, and it seems like a long time before I’ll see you again, and I’m yearning for you.
I’m remembering a Daddy who made Christmas fun and who gave me beautiful Valentines.
I’m remembering a Daddy who brought us running when you emptied the noisy change out of your pants pockets on Friday evenings after work.
I’m remembering a Daddy who sat at the table late in the evening and ate Mom’s homemade bread soaked in cold milk.
I’m remembering a Daddy who worked all week long – then spent cold winter Saturdays cutting, hauling, and stacking firewood to heat the big house through the week ahead.
I’m remembering a Daddy who bought a new camera to take pictures of his daughter, the homecoming queen.
I’m remembering my tender-hearted Daddy who mourned the loss of his mother, and father, and brothers, and sisters, and brothers in law, and sisters in law, and on and on – a very compassionate man whose heart ached for those who were hurting, a man who wanted to do good for others – a man very much like Jesus. So I know you understand how I’m feeling now, Daddy.
So, now, I will continue to miss you and mourn you, but now I will also delight in the memories. I will strive to carry on those special customs and traditions you began in me and in my family – the love of nature and the simple life – the love of family and neighbors and friends – and the love of Jesus and those He came to save.
I will watch Jacob mowing the lawn – your lawn – with the John Deere – your John Deere. I will watch Benny playing in the woods by your lane. I will watch Kaylee riding her bike around your driveway.
And I will watch the eastern sky – and as I watch, I will listen for the shout! – when our Lord will bring you and Mama with Him and catch me up to join you – and we’ll all be together again!
Goodbye until then, Daddy, and kiss Mama for me.
With love from your little blonde girl.