A bright smattering of yellow against the concrete and crème. Such an odd little thing for me to pick up on a random trip to Walmart. But then again, it isn’t.
He brought me mums.
Every fall, he brought me mums.
I would open the door to his darling face and a smattering of yellow or brown or red. I would say, “Dad, I kill plants.” To which he would respond, “Not to worry, it’s really hard to kill these!’
Then I would give him that look. He would peer over the rim of his glasses with a little crease in his brow. We’d give it a beat and then we would crack the hoot up.
Because hardy or no, I kill plants.
I would try. For a few days, I would try. And then I’d forget all about them.
One more “little” thing that becomes a “big” thing when it is no longer there.
Part and parcel of this year of firsts.
First holidays. First birthdays. First babies.
The one part of grief that you cannot put in a bottle and set on the shelf because in your heart, you expect him to be there.
So you pick up the phone to call him to babysit for your next doctor’s appointment. You wait at your daughter’s play for him to slip quietly into the seat beside you. And on the anniversary of another loss, you wonder when he’ll show up to hold your hand and say, “I can’t wait to meet my grandbabies in heaven.”
But then you remind yourself that he isn’t coming. You deny and kick and throw a holy hiss fit because he isn’t coming. And yet, your heart knows something from you is needed.
That you cannot simply fall asleep and wake up on July 3rd. That you must put up the decorations, go pumpkin picking and trunk-or-treating. That you cannot leave so much of him in bins forever.
Because he was the hand that held yours on Halloween night. Because he was the Pop Pop that laid on the floor and put puzzles together on Thanksgiving day. Because he ate the cookies you left out for Santa and hid Easter eggs every year in your backyard.
And you find yourself grateful for all the precious moments and memories you have.
So you put on your big girl pants, get out the scarecrow he bought and make memories with the kiddos he so deeply loved.
You go through the bins and cry and laugh at the pieces of him you find.
You hold hands on Halloween night. You take the time to play on Thanksgiving day. You lay out the cookies and put up the Christmas tree and dye the blessed Easter eggs.
Because he would expect no less.
And you buy mums, dash it all.
Because you know he’s peering over his glasses with that little crease in his brow, waiting for the day when you both can crack the hoot up again.
But until then, every fall, they’ll sit on your driveway.
A bright smattering of yellow against the concrete and the crème.