I remember being in a meeting at work on a Wednesday morning. I did not have my cell phone with me. And looking back, that is probably a good thing. When I got back to my desk, there were messages on both my desk and cell phone from my sister.
And I honestly could not believe her message. 6 years later I still struggle to believe it. Our dad had died that morning in a single car crash.
I had just talked to him 2 weeks before. It was a great conversation. The best in years. Our relationship had been strained for a few years. That conversation seemed to bring an amazing amount of healing. And it wasn’t really about much. I had called to tell him I still thought he was crazy for all those years of going to work so early, but I had joined him. Most mornings found me at work at 6 am. And he hadn’t changed, he was on his way to work, so was I, and it was not yet 6 am. I also told him about my new engagement. My now husband, had just proposed.
And here I was 2 weeks later hearing he was gone. Gone. I was so shocked I asked my sister if she was sure, maybe there was a mistake. Sadly, there was no mistake. The beginning of our restoration was done.
I called my fiance. He came and got me from work. I thought I would be back in a few hours after I had a chance to calm down. I was clueless about the pain that would start to wash over me again and again.
The next days were agony. There would be no more healing between us. He would not be at my upcoming wedding. It was all gone. And I was left with tears and disappointment. And over time, a new understanding of what grief is. I had lost other family members, but this was different, my dad was instantly gone. He wasn’t old, he hadn’t lived his life completely, to my mind, but he was gone.
Over the next months of planning the wedding, I missed him so much. But I was given a gift. I dreamt of my dad many, many times. I got to introduce him to my pastor and several people in my life and wedding. In one dream he even said, “I will be with you until your husband takes over.” And he was, the dreams continued until the wedding.
In these 6 years, my hubby and I have had a great marriage, and have so far, added two beautiful little girls to our family. And are awaiting the arrival of our third child. And with each positive pregnancy test all the way til the birth I mourn he will not meet my children. I have taken my wedding pictures and wedding ring to his grave to “show” him, as well as each of my children. And will do so again in a couple months. And I will grieve.
I think part of me will always grieve, but recently, my aunt, his sister, told me to embrace the life I have with my family, with my girls, and enjoy our life. And we will. We will live each day, rejoicing in the gift of life, refusing to allow things to come between us to leave us with regrets.
I hope my sister doesn’t mind, but here is a picture I poached from her facebook albums.
Daddy, I love you. Thank you for teaching me to tie my shoes, and my alphabet and how to ride a bike and how to change the oil in my car and to replace the brakes on that same car. The list could go on and on. You are one of a kind. From the craziness of the handlebar mustache you sported for a while, to the odd little quotes you said that people termed “Verlynisms”, because they were something only you would say. I love you. And am so thankful for that last conversation. I am not sure I could have survived the grief without that healing, restorative conversation. Thank you Lord for your mercies in giving me that conversation and the months of dreams leading up to my wedding.
Daddy, we’ll be up to “see” you soon and introduce your 9th grandchild! And in the meantime, I will enjoy things that bring memories of you. I love you.