Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sending a Letter on Wings to My Dad

Dear Daddy ~

'Good gosh!,' you'd so often say.

It's hard to believe that it's two years today since God took you home.  Quickly after supper, a delicious one if I remember right.

I couldn't quite believe that you'd leave us one day after we moved here to do life with you and Mom.  But obviously, God had other plans.  

I guess I want you to know again how much you are loved and missed.  Yes, still and always.  You'd be happy to know that we speak of you quite often, usually with smiles and memories, drawing you into our conversations, as bits and pieces of the family sit around the table with Mom.  

Maybe that's where our best memories were made ...over missing salt shakers.  Perfectly barbecued chicken.  The ever-present bottle of A-1 steak sauce.  Extra gravy generously ladled.  

A hefty dose of heavy cream poured over any and all desserts.  

And endless cups of over-boiled, heavily steeped tea, with heapings of sugar and plenty of half and half or whatever it was that you generously added to the steaming brew.

A good hot cup of tea still brings me comfort.

You'd be glad to know that the front yard has been mulched and the grass is looking better than when you last saw it.  Remember how I used to drag that heavy hose around the front yard, watering those stubborn lifeless patches you brought to my attention?  I do believe you actually used a magnifying glass one day to see if you could spy any signs of potential life.  I remember telling you that YES, blades were sprouting, but you weren't quite sure if you could believe me.    

Although we decided not to fill the window boxes this year, the place is looking pretty good.  Except for the holly tree in the back yard that suddenly dropped dead somewhere along the way.  You would not be at all happy about its demise.  But we do keep the bird feeders filled and the back deck cleaned off and Mom's enjoying gerber daisies and a sunflower and some pansies that reside there.  She keeps a keen eye on the birdhouse, too, and we often recall the years that a steady stream of mamas and babies called it home.

Not everyone would agree with my theology but I do believe that from time to time you join the angels in peering down from above, rejoicing in the good things God is doing in your growing, energetic family.  Perhaps you're still faithfully talking to Him about each of us, one by one, like you did when you were earthbound.  

Since you left, another great-granddaughter has been born, and a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren have been baptized by their fathers.  There's been a missions trip to Peru and your oldest great-granddaughter is headed off to the jungles of Belize with her dad this weekend for her first missions trip.  

I can't keep track of everyone's comings and goings.  But I do know the daily prayers that you and Mom sent heavenward have been answered and that one by one, the next generation is choosing to love and serve Jesus.   

A granddaughter and her husband are headed off to your beloved Scotland next month.  I know you'd be so excited, dragging out the old atlas, telling stories, and pointing out majestic castles and winding back roads and ancient inns where they'd find the best afternoon tea, complete with cream cookies!

And no, not everything's been rosy, but life happens, doesn't it.  

Not long after you walked through heaven's gates, you welcomed your little great-grandson as he joined you there, didn't you.  I've often pictured you walking hand in hand as you've given him the grand tour or pushed him higher and higher on some celestial swing set.  Maybe you've taken him fishing on the crystal sea.  Please know that I've found great comfort knowing that you were there for his heavenly arrival.

God's still very much alive and active in the middle of family challenges and situations that are part and parcel of living here on this earth.  We're trusting Him, leaning into Him on the tough days, with the hard decisions, when things seem kind of dim or uncertain.  

And you'd be happy to know that we're all keeping our eye on Mom.  She's just an absolute treasure, isn't she.  We try to give her space to live her life independently without butting in too terribly much.  She's a woman of great patience, grace, and strength, for sure.  Our only desire is to love her well.  If you're keeping an eye on things here on the Cape, I hope you're pleased with how that's playing out.

We visited your grave yesterday but didn't stay long.  You might not know that along the way I've left you some sand from your favorite beach, a bunch of bright red geraniums from our garden, a little pumpkin.  And most recently a clam shell, which seems to have been run over by the cemetery lawnmower.  Yesterday, I picked up a few shattered pieces from the grass and placed them back on the stone.




One visit awhile back, a couple of large black dogs surprised us from behind, one of them jumping on me, nearly giving me a heart attack.  They stayed for awhile, frolicking around your grave, barking and refusing to leave.  One of them actually sprawled right in front of the stone and just hung out for a bit.  I'm not quite sure you would have found it amusing or not, but I'm thinking so.

I love you, Daddy.  I guess I just wanted you to know that your legacy is alive and well.  I can't help but think that you're getting a kick out of the fact that I'm letting the whole world know ...







*

40 comments:

  1. Linda, this is just so moing...there are no words except to say thank you, for sharing this.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/07/your-dying-spouse-334-jesus-calling.html

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  2. What a beautiful letter to your dad, Linda. And I love that photo so much of you and him. May God bless you today as you collect your memories. I'm glad you have so many. Such a legacy your dad left!

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    1. I know you understand, Lisa ...

      You've encouraged me with that beautiful image of collecting memories. It's a healing thing, isn't it.

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  3. This is a hard day, yet a happy day to remember all of Dad's influence in our lives. We were blessed for many years.

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    1. It's a bittersweet season for sure, Mah.

      We make our way through it together ...

      x

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    2. Hear Hear! How touching and moving to read. We are forever blessed by his influence. So many happy memories!

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  4. "Not everyone would agree with my theology ..."

    Yes Linda. I agree with your theology. Your dad is looking down on you all; and praying for you all every day. He cares and loves you as he has always done; and I'm sure, every so often, he puts in a good word on behalf of all of you with our Lord.

    I'll be drinking a small (Scottish) whisky (not bourbon) to celebrate his life with you all, and to thank him for the good influence he has had on you.

    Praying for you all. God bless.

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    1. I raise my can of Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi as you hoist your small Scottish whiskey, Victor.

      Here's to Dad.

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  5. Oh, Linda, this was so touching, it brought tears to my eyes! I so miss my father, too, since he passed in 2014. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him in some way, and miss him so much. Your father would be so proud!
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. I hear you ... I certainly do.

      Sending a hug your way, Martha.

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  6. Hi Linda -
    Thanks for sharing that sweet conversation with you Dad. Made me smile(tearfully) since I knew him too - though a long time ago.... I know your Dad and mine are enjoying LIFE together in wholeness, without pain or regrets up in Heaven - even though we miss them here.

    Love and prayers for you on this day, friend.

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    1. I'm smiling thinking about your dad, too. What a gentle giant of a pastor, filled with wisdom and grace. I picture him smiling, talking softly. What an impact he ... and you ... had on my growing up years.

      I'm so glad to share this with you today.

      * And speaking of sharing, I'll be talking about Bob's book in my big July book post in a day or so!

      ;-}

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  7. This is beautiful, Linda, and I know what you mean about the theology thing -- there are people in heaven that I want to think are looking at life now and being amused or delighted. Some day we'll know . . .

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    1. And yet how could they take their eyes off the awesome majesty and wonder of Jesus Christ?!

      Absolutely everything else will pale in comparison.

      And that's the way it should be ...

      Thanks for hearing my heart, Michele.

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  8. Not many words, just a full heart of gratitude for your relationship with your dad. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Such a special and persnal few moments of memory and quiet conversation with your father.

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    1. mmm ... yes. I miss talking with him.

      Alot.

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  10. Linda, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment this morning. Tears are flowing as I read this heart-felt letter to your Daddy. My Daddy, Eston Willis, went home to be with Jesus in 1989, and I miss him every day. Many blessings to you!

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    1. I hear that years pass and still the longing is there. Your tender words speak volumes to those who have lost a beloved parent.

      May our tears be soothed by Jesus' tender touch ...

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  11. Beautiful, simply beautiful. What a wonderful man your father must have been, because this tribute overflows with righteousness and simple goodness. Linda, I fee like we're soul sisters when it comes to walking this journey without our dads. In just 3 months, my family and I will mark the 2 yr. anniversary of Dad's entry to heaven. You're the second reminder this morning - and it's only 8:08 am central. God is good.

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    1. Yes, yes. There seem to be many of us that are traveling this road, some a few steps ahead, some coming 'round the bend.

      I hear your longing this morning, Kristi. I hear your heart.

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  12. Linda, my dear friend, I loved this. It's more than a tribute, its love - love whispered in the soul that lingers in the heart. It's love remembered, treasured and kept alive. It's his legacy. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Love is the best legacy we can leave, isn't it ... everything else just fades into oblivion.

      May God's love be our watchword.

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  13. Well, Linda ... I don't even know what to say. Maybe I just need to read this again and let the tears fall a little more freely. This is beautiful, my friend. Thank you for posting it.

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    1. Yes, reading someone else's story prompts tears, not only for their griefs, but also our own personal ones.

      It's not been an easy summer for you, friend. Crying isn't optional.

      Go ahead ...

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  14. This is such a lovely tribute to your dad, Linda, and I love the photo of you and him together. Love and prayers from Scotland!

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    1. Lesley ... he would just LOVE that I've connected with a Scottish sister over the miles. He'd be utterly intrigued by the grace of technology!

      ;-}

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  15. Oh, Linda. ((hug)) I have tears. Thanks for introducing us to your daddy. You are so blessed to have had an involved father. Prayers for y'all this week. ((xoxo))

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    1. Thank you for sharing your tears with me, Brenda ...

      Yes, we have been blessed indeed.

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  16. That letter is truly a beautiful collection of memories. Peace and comfort, my dear friend.

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda