The sun is shining today, so that automatically puts me in a good mood. I eye the massive bag of apples atop my counter and figure that now is as good a time as any to start in on my applesauce.
I stand at my sink and peel away at apple after apple. Peel, peel, peel, core, cut, put in the kettle. There are so many apples that it takes me close to an hour. Well, that and the fact that I have to stop about a gazillion times to break up fights, hand out snacks, change diapers, wipe noses, and wipe butts.
Still, the sun is shining in through my windows in heated streams, Frank Sinatra is playing in the background, and the sweet, spicy smell of my apples is filling the whole house. Strangely enough, it is times like these that the hole in my heart feels especially sharp.
It has been too long since I've seen you. I mean, I know that when people die you don't see them anymore. I get that. But, well, I really miss seeing you. I've been missing you so much lately. I'm wondering if it is finally hitting me that you are gone. I won't be seeing you again. And now I'm starting to cry again.
This past week we celebrated All Saints Day at church. Just like every year, the names of all the church members who have passed away in past year were read in front of church. There I sat in my pew, sweating and nervous. Dreading when they would get to your name. And when your name was finally read it felt like a punch in the gut. I cried and cried and didn't even care that the girl in the pew in front of me turned around to stare. Stare away, girlie! I miss my dad.
This year we skipped right over fall. It was never golden and pretty. It was not cool and crisp. It didn't even have that wonderful fall smell. It was dark and dreary and bitter cold. It seems appropriate though, because fall was your absolute favorite time, and without you here to enjoy it what is the point?
There are so many things you have missed, daddy. I have a little girl. Did you know that? I like to think that maybe you already met her, but I don't know. I named her Grace. And she is perfect. I wish you could have met her. And her you. I feel she is really missing out without you here. We all are.
The boys still talk about you. Mostly at night when we are saying prayers. They like to think of you as an angel now, and they sometimes ask you for favors. One night Joey even asked you to "help all the girls stop trying to kiss me". I laughed so hard and I pictured you laughing right along with us. You would be so proud of my boys and so happy to see how much they want to protect their sister. It is very sweet.
We moved too. Remember that neighborhood that you and mom used to walk through all the time? The one right on top of the lake by the woods? Mom said you used to walk down the very street I live on and dream about living here. The house has everything you always wanted. A fireplace, a big backyard, a huge garage. It even feels like we live out in the country because the neighborhood is so quite. You can hear the waves crashing and listen to the geese honking as they come in for a landing over the cliff edge onto the lake. And the other night we had four deer in our yard. This house has your name all over it. I wish you could see it. You would be so happy for us. So excited.
I miss you, dad. I wish you would visit. At least in my dreams every now and then. It has just been too long. Every once in a while I can hear you in my head. The other night when I was irrationally annoyed with mom I heard you say, "Awe, honey. Come on now." Just like you used to do when mom and I would bicker with each other when I was a sassy teenager. It immediately made me smile. And then it widened that hole in my heart and I missed you even more.
Here I thought I was so strong and doing so well. But I guess it is finally hitting me now. Before I was just happy for you. Glad that you were finally released from your body that wasn't working anymore. Grateful that you were not suffering anymore. Now. Now I'm just sad for me.
I found a three page letter that you had written to me when I was in high school. In it you told me how proud of me you were and how much you loved me. It felt so good to read those words from you. Having that letter now means more to me than you could ever have imagined when you wrote it.
You ended the letter with:
"Mom and I both hope and pray for a bright future for you and that you never stray from the right and good path. We have loving concern for you- so very much- our youngest and last of all of our children. You have so much to offer. Please- always- depend on God to help you- to guide you, care for you and to bless you. And give Him your love, praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and support.
God Bless You Honey- I love you very much!! And right now I am choked up. Dad"
Thank you, Daddy. What a gift. I'll end my letter the same way.
God Bless You Daddy- I love you very much!! And right now I am choked up. Kathy