The day my Daddy died was like any other summer day.
The sun came up. The babies fought. The temperature climbed.
Life went on to the tune of a normal humdrum.
Until the phone rang…
And suddenly the day in all its normalcy changed into breath-stopping, heart-pounding, life-shattering madness.
One that my heart could not even grasp until I saw my mama holding his sweet hand, cheeks tear-stained and eyes so worn it could not help but become real…
He was gone.
And our world would never be the same again.
In the days that followed, I held it together piece by piece so that I could love my littles through their own grief. But in the silence of the night, I wept.
Dancing through all the things I would have done and said had I known it was the last birthday, the last Christmas, the last anniversary, the last Father’s Day. Holding onto voice messages and playing them on repeat just to hear him say “I love you.” Trying to cement in my mind the memory of our last moment together, where I kissed his soft cheek and said an awkward thanks for his tireless chasing of my spunky Sophie-girl.
I remember the overwhelming weight of sitting down to write what would become his obituary.
Thinking even now…
How do you reduce a person’s life into words? How do you express all the things that made him extraordinarily ordinary? How do you tell all the stories that built you from the ground up?
Whether it be your disgusted face every time he put ketchup on cottage cheese (and by the by Daddy, this is still gross.) Or your giggle every time he would raise his finger up to emphasize, “For twenty points, insert some randomly obscure question with an even more obscure answer?” Or your heart settling as he would take your hands every time he put you to bed and said, “One squeeze. Two squeeze. ALL the squeezes.”
How do you make the world stop long enough to know just how greatly he loved and was loved and is loved?
It was this…
That made me weep on Sunday.
Knowing that the sun rose to open a nightmare for brothers and sisters, moms and dads, sons and daughters, best friends and partners, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews. Knowing that they would feel numb from the shock while they listened to voicemails that had suddenly became sacred. Knowing that they would stand beside a graveside feeling ripped apart at the thought of something having gone unsaid.
This is not political fodder or righteous indignation or a place to trod at will.
This is someone’s son. This is someone’s daughter. This is someone’s someone.
Hatefully and tragically ripped from stories that had built them all from the ground up.
And I cannot let that go or leave it to be the love I meant to say.
Because Sunday is coming and I will find myself in the recesses of my daddy’s absence. A place where I will earnestly say to all who are looking to honor those who are in the throes of loss…
Do not wait to say what could be said tomorrow.
Do not muck about in the petty and unimportant.
Do not withhold a hug or a kiss or an “I love you.”
But instead, boldly leave nothing undone.
So that when your story comes to an end, it can be said, “She chose love.”
With all the life I have left in me…
Let it always be love.