Here’s a note from my heart on your first Father’s Day in heaven.
Even though I know Mom put in the majority of the daily time raising us, my childhood years play in my mind like a movie of you playing with me, being interested in me, and having fun with me. You showed me, so consistently that you loved me, by giving me your presence.
Now that a giant hole in the ground, and in my heart, remind me that you’re gone, it’s still impossible to believe.
It’s impossible, because when I stand and look around my house, or make my way downstairs after I put the kids to bed each night . . . I still see you in all the places you were, when you were here.
I see you at the kitchen table laughing, singing, telling stories, and eating cake and ice cream saying, “I shouldn’t, but you twisted my arm”. I see you here the day we broke ground on our new lot, praying with us over the future we would build here with our family. I see you here when they put in all the studs, writing on the doorposts and kneeling on the cold concrete floor, writing prayers and scriptures of blessing for our future. I see you here, circled with us around the living room for our Legacy Israel trip meeting, sharing your passion for the meaning of this Legacy trip you saved so long to take us all on.
I see you in the culdesac cautiously laughing as we set off our annual fireworks. I see you on the Facetime screen in my office, every Wednesday night, so diligently seeking to help us by praying with us. I see you in the courtyard on Halloween, loving on all my neighbors. I see you in the backyard, throwing the football and kicking the soccer ball. I see you in the culdesac playing basketball with Oaks. I see you in the living room, in the swivel chairs, praying so earnestly with me and Scott. I see you standing in the kitchen with that glimmer in your eye, telling me what a wonderful home we had made for gathering, and how much you loved all the seating areas that make it easy to sit and talk. (You knew how intentional that was.) I hear you telling me how much you loved the Christian music always playing over the speakers, and what a gift that was to my children.
I see you asleep on the couch, “watching football” after a long night of babysitting. I see you in the pantry, checking out my latest health food experiment. (Mom gave me your big box of seeded crackers- I’m going to buy some muffuletta to eat with them 😁) I see you here last Memorial Day with wet eyes, holding Grandpa’s folded flag, telling stories about your Dad. I see you kneeling by the chair while Mom held Walter on his last day, tears filling your eyes for my broken heart, as you said your last “goodbye”.
I see you at my kitchen table, alone with me, holding my hands in prayer during our last lunch date together in October. I see you trying the obstacle course at Kim and Oakley’s last birthday party. I hear you cackle with laughter as you try to catch the rope swing. I see you in the driveway, saying the goodbyes that I never wanted to end, the ones when I always wanted just a little more time at your car door before you drove away. I see you standing at the front door, the last time I saw you here, in your hot pink golf shirt and white shorts, bringing us the cooler full of salmon you cooked with joy, especially for Noah. (Oh, how many times I see you there.)
I see you here on Facetime from your room in the Covid ICU, with your nurse Jenna, anointing you with oil while we all gathered from our own homes to pray with you, together. I see you here on Facetime from our couch, in our very last conversation, when you were checking in on everyone in the family, and I promised we were all going to be okay. (That was supposed to include you, too!)
I see you here every day Dad, because you were here so much. Your love and your presence still fill the rooms all over this house.
You are still here.
You’re in the “Legacy ~ Phil. 3:10” necklace that Becca and Daniel gave each of us on your homegoing celebration day, that always stays around my neck. You’re in the bracelet Heather made us, that stays around my wrist. You’re in the letters, cards, and pictures; every memory I cherish.
You are still here Dad, everywhere I look.
You’re in the ache in my chest from my deepest grief and disbelief. You’re in the sobbing face I see in the mirror when I wash my face for bed. I see your tender eyes looking back at me. The eyes that see all my pain and tell me you feel it so deeply. I hear the crackle in your voice as you tell me you’d give your life to take away the pain. I see your soft hands reaching out to mine, offering to hold them to pray as we trust Jesus, together.
You so intentionally, and so generously, gave the gift of your presence. So while your body may be gone, you are most definitely still here.
You are in us.
You are in me.
You are alive and well, Daddy.
My life is so full of you.
Today, on your first Father’s Day in Heaven, I just want to say thank you. Thank you with my whole heart for always, so intentionally, being here.
As a result, you’re still here, Dad.
And you always will be.
I’ll give them your love.
I love you, more.
Father’s Day 2021