You know what surprises me?
And you will probably be surprised at this–
My heart. My mind. My heart’s memory.
That’s what surprises me. Big time.
Grief and the paths it takes us on surprises me too.
Saturday we took the whole crew and met Gnomee, Leroy, and Shaker at the Fair. Rides are not my thing unless it’s the Agri-Lift, which is a very time-consuming, slow, and relaxed ski-lift type ride over half of the Fairgrounds. I enjoyed watching the children ride and worrying over whether or not Cooter was going to lose his lunch, since the first ride he went on was rather rambunctious.
The last of the tickets were used to ride the Ferris wheel. We had just enough for everyone to ride except two. I gladly sat it out with Cooter (who was still a little puny), as I like to be the cheerleader on the sidelines when it comes to these kinds of things. I also like to people watch, and I welcomed a few moments of downtime. As I waited for them to come around in sight where I could wave to them, I people watched.
And when I saw this man and his shirt, my first thought was “Oh, that’s perfect for Daddy.” They didn’t come any greater than him. And immediately after that…..
it hit me all over again.
It’s been almost three years since my Daddy went on up to the Big House, and I know this. Not a day goes by that this doesn’t register in my brain. But somehow on Saturday afternoon, I relaxed so much that for a nano-second, my heart forgot.
And then I had to feel the pain all over again.
I’ve got no idea how that even happened y’all.
Just an hour later, after we rode the Agri-Lift–such memories we make each year on our leisurely ride–we were in the Commercial Exhibits building, and I found myself admiring the woodcrafts of one of the exhibitors. I’ll be dog if I didn’t have another one of those moments.
For a second in a surreal moment, I thought what an awesome gift one of these would make for Daddy. For Christmas.
Of course I’m not losing my mind. Not really, right? It seems that Fall is a trigger for me. I’ve thought more about those last few weeks in 2011 with my Daddy in the past couple of weeks than I have in a long time. And I’ve discovered something important…..
There is pain, yes, but there is so much beauty in those moments. The memories of our last weeks and days were not just filled with tears. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of quiet moments of giving thanks. For our time together, for the man who raised me, for the grace he always gave, for the stories he told, and for the love I still feel from this gentle giant.
Tonight I’m thankful for the reminders of my Daddy. For the cardinals that play in my backyard and remind me of our quiet days sitting and watching them through the living room window. For the woodcrafts that remind me of his carpentry skills and how he loved to create with wood. For the yellow jackets and wasps that make me laugh as I remember Daddy videotaping the ones that lived in his workshop out back, wanting to observe their behaviors. For the quiet of a fall sunset that lets me sit and be with my aching heart as I remember all the times I sat in comfortable and peaceful silence with my Daddy.
I’ll always be his girl, and if I think of him sometimes and forget that he’s not here, then maybe it’s because he’s so close, just on the other side of the veil, and I can feel him there.
I hope so. I sure do miss him and need his wisdom right about now.
Wishing you all a beautiful fall sunset to remember and reminisce and to make precious memories.
Love to all.