One year ago today we were sleeping soundly – until we were awakened by the dog barking and going crazy in his crate at about 3 am. We realized someone was banging on our door. So Hubby and I both headed down stairs in our jammies. At our door was a young police officer with a message for me. The message was that I needed to call a phone number that would ring into the chaplain at St. Vincent’s Heart Hospital in Indianapolis. Something had happened. Hearing that news my heart dropped. I was sure that something had happened to my grandma – she had had problems with her heart a year ago and she was in her late 70s. So I dialed the number with great trepidation sure that the news I was going to recieve would involve Grandma. The time between dialing and someone answering seemed to take years – but I know it only rang a few times. A nurse answered and told me she had my mom there – the words my mom spoke echo in my head still. “Something happened to your dad. They lifelined him here, but he’s gone. He didn’t make it.” All of a sudden the world dropped out from under me and for only the third time in my life I found myself on my knees. I didn’t understand the words she was saying – they made no sense. After all my dad was the healthiest one in our family – sure he had been fighting a cold and he’d been tired lately – but he worked long hours. He wasn’t even 60 yet – how could this be. He’d been to the doctor in January for a complete physical and everything had been fine. What did she mean? Why was she crying – what was she saying? There had to be some mistake -in my head a prayer was running through frantically – “God please let them be wrong, please let my daddy still be alive please let him be okay. Why are you doing this? why is this happening? I don’t understand……….” My hubby took the phone from me. He talked to the nurse and my mom. He established that everyone else had been called – my brother and my sister. My grandma and my aunt were on their way to my mom – she wasn’t alone her aunt was with her. We would all meet in Rushville and sort things out today. They hadn’t yet been able to get ahold of Ryan an hour north at school. The campus officer and the campus minister were both trying to get him. We would make sure he wasn’t driving down by himself. He would ride with us. While hubby – my darling beloved hubby took care of the details. I found myself stumbling to my feet and climbing the stairs like a blind man. I needed to be in the nursery with my Wee Man…. I needed to see him to know that life would go on – that my father would live on in our small miracle. That’s where hubby found me – on my knees by the crib – crying silently so that I didn’t wake our David.
The rest of the time between the funeral and the news passed with a sense of purpose for me. Someone had to take charge – my mom couldn’t which left me and one of my mom’s sisters. There was so much to be sorted out. It was unexpected and unprepared for. I didn’t have time to break down – I had to be strong. I didn’t have time for regrets – except when night fell and ,we were supposed to be sleeping – then I could regret all the things I wanted to say, all the time I should have made sure WeeMan spent with him, all the years that David – my WeeMan would miss with this great man, the videos and pictures left untaken, the words I couldn’t remember if we’d spoken, the lessons I meant to learn from him, the years we should have had – but wouldn’t. There were so many regrets – in bed with my hubby at my parent’s home I felt like I was suffocating under regrets. In amongst the regrets were tiny seeds of bitterness – why did it have to be my dad, why not grandma – like we had expected, why not hubby’s dad – who had had several bouts with cancer and took very little interest in WeeMan, why not some stranger – why did God choose to take my Dad – my hero – one of the best Christian men I could think of.
Now a year later – the seeds of bitterness are gone – I couldn’t allow them to take root. If I had then they would have grown into a tangled mess that overtook my life. My heart still aches and I will always have regrets, but I know that God chose to take my Dad because he was saved and he was ready. My husband’s dad – is not a Christian – we still have work to do in his life. I know that my dad would never have been happy if he had had to change his lifestyle and become weaker – he was an outdoorsman – a worker – his hands were never idle. I know that God was preparing us before we knew what was ahead – we had had the whole family together the weekend before for Easter, we had felt drawn to name our son after his grandpa and one of the strongest most faithful men of the Bible. I also know that even though the time together was short, my father will live on in my son – we see glimpses of his grandpa everyday – his stubborness, his love for being outdoors, his constant motion. I know that we will make sure that he knows this grandpa – even if we can’t be together right now.
We love you dad