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. My thoughts and prayers have been on my new grandbabies – two precious boys you would just love to see – you will just love to meet someday: little Luke who needed open-heart surgery, and little Jackson, Matt’s baby boy. I could see you admiring each of them, pride in your face. I could see tears in your eyes when you learned that baby Luke needed surgery. I could hear your broken voice in prayer. So I reached in my jewelry box and lifted out your wedding ring and placed it on my necklace. And I wore it close to my heart through those days of delivery and surgery and tumult and joy. And it comforted me to know my Daddy was near and that your prayers were still in a jar before our God. And I thanked God for your faithfulness. But I mourned 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 the loss will ever go away. At first, 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, I will continue to miss you and mourn you, but will also find joy and 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.
Your little blonde girl.