Even in heaven, I feel like you’re probably busy right now. I imagine God gave you a pretty kick ass project the second you arrived; he wouldn’t want to waste your giftings, even for a moment. There is something strangely comforting in envisioning you trucking around heaven in your work boots and Kirkland jeans, complaining about the idiots you got stuck working with.
Dad, it doesn’t feel real yet.
All week long, I’ve been helping organize for Sunday: writing the eulogy, buying a dress for Mom (p.s. she looks gorgeous), and tracking down obscure items you wouldn’t have cared a hoot about – like apothecary jars. And in the midst of all this I haven’t slowed down to take a breath, and be still with my thoughts.
Because I know I’ll lose it when that happens.
I know I’ll think back to when we last saw each other. Do you remember? I was going to work and needed to drop Ash off with you and Mom.
As I pulled into the driveway, I saw your head immediately pop out from the shop. Your face lit up as I unbuckled Ash and set him on the ground.
“Hey Ash-man!” you called out.
Immediately alert to his Papa’s voice, he started ambling towards you, over the rocky gravel until you caught your precious little grandson up in your arms.
You were still in your work clothes and dirt was caked all over your beige shirt. After giving Ash a squeeze, you plopped him into the open trunk of your vehicle, which also happened to be coated in dirt, and carpeted with long scary looking nails. I could see the love in your eyes as Ash picked up your ice scraper and began ‘sweeping’ up the debris. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind about the long scary nails.
I asked you about your day, and tried to follow the garbled construction lingo. I never really understood what you were talking about, but I liked that you thought I did.
We eventually walked back to the house and you settled into the wooden kitchen chair with a jar of peanut butter and some crackers. Ash sat contentedly on your lap, making a mess of things – but you let him stay anyway.
The time came for me to leave and, flustered as usual, I didn’t take the time to say good-bye. I mean, I would be seeing you the next day, right?
Ash followed me to the door and I said a harried “Bye love” to him as he perched at the top of the stairs. He didn’t seem to hear me . . . but you did.
“Bye!” your voice rang out clear from the kitchen.
I banged the front door shut, jogged to my car and drove off.
Just over twenty-four hours later, you were gone.
And I am so broken.
I’m going through the motions, not allowing the searing pain to set up camp in my heart because I know there is work to be done. It gurgles up and I stuff it back down because, darn it, I need to find Ry a stupid dress shirt and tie.
But all I really want is for time to stand still.
Dad, I need you to feel blessed and honored on Sunday. Because I felt blessed and honored to be your daughter in law.
I hope you knew that.
Sunday is going to be great. I know it. We’ll be busy and surrounded and uplifted. We’ll be reminded every moment of your incredible legacy. There will be shoulders to cry on, friends to laugh with, and ridiculous amounts of dishes to wash.
But Dad, I’m worried about Monday.
When there’s no program to plan, and the once-perky flowers begin to droop and stink up the house. When the shop looks deserted, and there’s no one calling “Hey Ash-man!” as I pull up. When emails of love and encouragement don’t fill up my inbox anymore and strangers stop giving me hugs.
Yes, I’m worried about Monday.
Monday it will all be real.