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 ...