This is how I picture you, in heaven. Standing high on a mountain, looking around and taking pictures, or shooting a video to show us.
I found this photo, shortly after you died. I keep in my bible, as a bookmark. I see it everyday. And everyday I imagine you this way. I miss you so much. I surround myself with things that are yours or remind me of you. Yet some days, no matter how hard I search for you, I can’t find you.
You left us right before the world went mad. Perfect timing on your part. I think of that daily, that I am so grateful you aren’t here right now. That this would be so hard and traumatic for you. With all the Dr. appointments you had, and lab tests, and being in the nursing home. Alone. And then I get mad at myself for being grateful you are gone. How can you being gone, bring me comfort? I can’t even grieve properly (is there such a thing?) because the earth is sick, and things are at a standstill. Life has literally turned upside down since you have been gone. I wonder, would it feel like that anyway, losing you, without a global pandemic? You have been gone 4 months, it feels like years. Maybe partly, because I, like everybody else, have no clue as to what day or month it is anymore. It doesn’t matter. I have been off work for a month now, so there is nothing to distract me like work did. In some way, it makes sense the world is hurting too, because the world always revolved around you, to me.
I find myself searching for you everywhere. Trying to pick up signs from you. When I see my dachshund, I see you with your doxie Fritz. When I make meatballs and gravy, or chicken and spaetzle soup I can see your face light up. But especially when I hear birds sing. I can clearly hear you imitating every bird that flew into your yard. You could mimic them. And you named them. Billy Blue Jay for one. I was getting sad because everyone I knew was seeing cardinals, visiting them from heaven, they say. Not me. And cardinals used to fly into my yard all the time. I hadn’t seen any. Until this morning. I have a bird feeder right in front of my dining room window. Every day I check, multiple times for one to appear. I listen for their distinct call. I will run to the window, but nothing. Then this morning, in the quiet, sat a pretty little cardinal. And I just stared. And he stared back. I mean it. I didn’t have my phone to take a picture, and honestly, I didn’t want to. I wanted it to just be. To be etched into my memory.
Your 88th birthday would’ve been April 19th. I am anxious over it. And sad. Sad that, like in past years, I would take a picture of you and your twin grandsons who have a birthday a few days after you. It was our tradition. For years. I am mad that it is over. One of the many stages of grief I suppose. Anger. I just wish we could’ve had more. More birthdays with you, more Christmases and pool parties and weddings. It breaks my heart knowing you won’t see my sons get married or become dad’s themselves. I have to believe you Will see it though.
Mom misses you. Most days she remembers you aren’t here. “Your dad is gone you know.” she will say to me. As if to almost get confirmation. She, like everyone in a care facility, is on lock down. No visitors, and no leaving. It breaks our heart. We all call or facetime her as often as we can. Last night, when I called, her dementia had taken over, as it often does in the evening. She thought it was morning and Halloween. She was confused. But she said to me, “Your dad tells me everyday to get ready, to get dressed.” It made me scared and sad at first. But I had a different perspective this morning. I am sure she Does hear you. After 66 years of marriage, how could she not? Your voice must be filling her head. Heck, I can still hear you saying ” Mother, are you ready yet?” You would chide her as she put her “warpaint” on, as you us to call it when she was applying her make up. She relied on you as much as you did her. Even though your last few months on earth were spent apart, you were still one. You always will be.
You would be happy to know, that most of your kids talk or text everyday. We are in constant communication. About you, mom, the mad world. We laugh and cry with each other. We support and comfort each other. We know family Is everything. We give each other a place to grieve and pray. You would be so proud. It is ALL you ever wanted. You are never far from any of us.
So much has changed since you left us. The world changed. Forever. All I can think is, while you were on the earth you were filled with pain, your life was never easy. And now, the world is suffering, every continent, every country, every community, and you are finally pain free and at peace. I hurt for the world and for all of us, down here missing you.