Random thoughts & musings of a Michigan newlywed... Look out, I'm changing the world!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

five months since a funeral

I miss you. I thought that I would write a letter, because that’s what I’ve always done this time of year. If things were normal and right, I would be sending off your last letter about now, excited about the prospect of seeing you and Grandma again at Easter. I remember what that was like, when we were all little. Seeing the trailer back in your yard, there by the shed, would be such a great feeling. Usually we’d spy it there on our way home from school. It always made me feel like I was “home” again, as though all was right again. I’d know spring was coming, and then summer, and with it my favorite times of memory-making: bike rides, cookouts at Father’s Day, ball games in the yard, and time spent sharing a pop on the spring. Whenever Jimmy and I would ride our bikes over, you’d always insist on some sort of treat.

I’m sorry that I didn’t spend more time with you this summer. I can’t put into words how sorry I am, so I hope that where you are you can read my heart and know. I was so wrapped up in myself, in getting married and then adjusting to being a wife, that I just let everything else slide. I have such regret over that, and I know that you’ve heard the “if only”s spoken. I’m so sorry for that. If only I had known… but I didn’t. No one did, I guess, except maybe you. Did you know? My mind might be playing tricks on me looking back, but it seems now that your hugs were longer, that you seemed reluctant to let go. But that’s probably just my mind, urging me to see what I never could have.

That day you left, it was so beautiful out. The perfect sort of weather for you, I thought. Beet season finished, and the most beautiful sort of day as a reward. I thought that appropriate, that your rest would come on a day so perfect. Jimmy and I were driving home from church that morning, and were literally talking about coming to see you and Grandma, that we should go to Mom and Dad’s and grab bikes and ride over, since we’d done so little of that over the summer. That’s when I got the call, just as we were talking of you. I wonder, were you listening? What prompted us out of the blue to think of the two of you? I wonder what you watched that day, if you could watch us all reacting. I hope that we made you proud. I tried to be strong, but I wasn’t. How could I be, a cornerstone of my childhood gone? Now that you’re gone, I see what you were to me. In my mind, if my life were a building, with experiences as bricks, I see you and Grandma, Mom and Dad, as four cornerstones. My sisters, I see now, they are also important in the foundation of my life. I wish I could tell you all this in person, tell you how much you mean to me still, and how grateful I am for your presence. I hope you hear me now.

We played ball in the afternoon after your funeral. It was Becky’s idea, I think, while we were all still at the luncheon. We grandkids all sat at a table, separated, just as though it were Christmas or any other normal family gathering. It made me smile, to be separated like that even then. It was comforting. But anyway we all decided that you would have liked a game of ball that day—it was a beautiful day. So that’s what we did—changed out of good clothes and went to your house and played ball and attempted to eat all that food. I missed you then, too.

I think of you often. Last night I was sad again, truly sad again for the first time in a while. Since you left in October, I have had ups and downs. Some days are better than others, as they always say—some days I can be happy for you, and grateful that I’m sure you’ve found your place with God. Other days, like yesterday, I am sad and selfish, wishing for just one more hug, one more hour spent on the swing. In moments of thoughtlessness, I sometimes forget you’re gone. Then the rose Mom had preserved from your casket catches my eye, or I remember that Sunday all in a rush, and the loss comes again, as new as that first hour. The desperation to turn back the clock comes often.

I have your picture on the refrigerator. You’d probably think that was strange, but it makes me happy, to have your face there in the midst of everyday things. You are laughing in the picture; it’s Christmas. Your smile is a constant reminder of the person I should be: kind and patient, hardworking and faithful to God and my family.

I try not to cry at your grave, because I know that you wouldn’t have liked that a bit. But it’s such a dirty trick, coming to talk to you and having no answer but the wind across the expanse of field, some birds lending noise. I don’t feel you there. I feel you so many places, but not there. I feel you in the garage at your house, and outside in the stillness of morning, I feel you.

“between now and then, until I see you again, I’ll be loving you… love, me”


Blogger Sara Annie said...

Bethy is so smart. She always knows how to put my thoughts into words.
It is funny that she mentioned the letter thing...I was just thinking about it. Actually, you know how I would send you and grandma random letters throught the school year? Well just before you went away I had written one. I still have it.
I could sit here and talk about how I wish that I had given you a bigger hug, or stayed and talked to you longer...remember the last day I saw you? Grandma made hamburgers, and Dad and I sat and ate with you. We didn't stay long, cause you know dad is always in a hurry...but I remember what you said about school, and I'm gonna stick with it even though it is hard...I know someone has to take care of you old farts!
Bethy is right,the day you left was beautiful. God couldn't have picked a better one. I know it was the way you would have wanted to leave. Sundays really aren't the same anymore. There is a stigma, not in a bad way, but just a feeling, and I know that feeling means that you aren't far from me or the rest of the family. I hope you are proud of me and what I'm doing, I know you are, cause you always told me. Mike is very honored to have taken care of you too. He loves you both. I hope he wasn't a crazy driver, cause he could be!
I know now you are getting to do all kinds of cool things, and I'm sure you were with Mom, Dad, and Grandma the last time theywere down to visit, cause you took them down the country roads (haha).
Grandma is doing so good too. I know she misses you, but her knee is doing okay. Remember playing cards at the hospital while grandma was in surgery, you were so worried. I just wanted to let you know that she is doing well, even though I'm sure you already know.
It's easy for me not to believe that you are gone. I am secluded down here away from everyone. I in a sense still believe that I will go home and see you, just like it always was. I look at your pictures daily, and can't believe you are gone. You aren't sick, old, or frail.FOr a couple months I couldn't go to work without crying because it wasn't fair. I know it was really fair, because our lives are in Gods hands. He took you because you accomplished what He needed you to. I am realizing this more everyday.
I just wanted you to know that I think of you all the time, and that when school gets hard, I think of you smiling and hugging me telling me how proud you are.
Well, I haven't been to the cemetary to see you yet, because I know you aren't there. I can talk to you whenever I want, cause I know you are listening.
One of my friends from school here just lost her grandpa, and she gave me this quote;

Don't stand by my grave and weep,
For I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond's glint in the snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
In the soft blush of the morning light
I am the swift bird in flight.
Don't stand by my grave and cry,
I am not there,
I did not die.

I don't know who wrote it, but they described you. I wanted to thank you for sending the birds my way here in Kalamazoo, they really cheer me up!

Miss you and love you, See you again someday!

8:12 PM  

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