Happy Independance day to you all. As you celebrate with family, friends, fireworks & barbecue, here are my thoughts & memories of what this day means to me:
Yesterday was the anniversary of my Dad’s passing and I was totally fine. He’s been gone several years now. Today I remembered us rushing to the hospital, and the coroner literally waiting right near the front door to take his body. The nurse who called us kept her word, that they’d wait until we got there to see him, before letting them take his body. I remember being hit with the reality of his death when I kissed his forehead. It had already grown cold. I knew then – he’s really gone. This is just a shell before me. I smiled and cried at the same time. My sister’s wedding was in two weeks and she had to face the reality, that he wouldn’t be there to walk her down the aisle. She wasn’t going to have the father/daughter dance she had planned. My brother was the last one to see him alive. “Lance, I’m going for a walk. I won’t be long. I’ll see you when I get back,” he said. Those were his last words, except whatever sweet utterances he whispered in the ears of Christ, with his arms outstretched, upward bound. Though they’d been divorced, and amicably so, for several years, I saw my Mom cry for the first time in my life. As the eldest child, I knew that I had to be there for my family, and we had to plan a funeral. My grief would have to wait. I held it in so tightly that my pain manifested physically in the place of its emotional twin. A sudden, severe toothache sent me to the dentist the next morning. My blood pressure was sky high. My pain was going to be released one way or another…
We got in the car to leave and the phone started ringing. His corneas were to be donated to a recipient in need. He had agreed to this on his license and they were the only thing they could take from a 61 year old man with heart disease. Informing us was just a formality. Then we had the heart-wrenching task of informing family and friends. He wasn’t ill, his death was sudden. But what I remember most and first, is going to his home, looking in the refrigerator and seeing chicken already seasoned, ready for the grill – it was for tomorrow. Tomorrow. It’s not promised to any of us. We make plans, but God is in control. The next day was the 4th of July. He was a veteran (USAF) and very patriotic. This makes me a bit sad, until I remember his destination. He was a Christian and very keenly understood what that meant. He made sure my siblings and I understood it too. Often he would pray and ask God to spare him the pain of ever having to bury a child. God granted him that. Knowing he’d transition first, he spoke of wanting to see his three children again in Heaven. That’s up to us. He and my mother have done their part. Ironically, it was he who told me that I should become a writer, or a lawyer. At the time I scoffed at the idea that I should write, or argue for a living. I wanted to become a research scientist. Hmm. Now I’m a writer and I argue all the time. I’m thankful to God for you Daddy. We miss and love you. There has never been a day that has passed by when you weren’t in my thoughts. In a world in which so many don’t know, or don’t have their fathers in their lives, I’m so happy and blessed to not know what that feels like.
Until next musing,
Talitha K. McEachin