I woke up in a funk. As I stepped out of the shower, I realized the true culprit of my mood. Not only is it that blasted heinous Tuesday, but today my daddy would have been 64. No. Today my daddy SHOULD have been 64. After a rough start to the morning, I realized Bran had left his lunch at home as he rushed out the door with Charlee. I called him to see if he was close enough to turn around. He said he wasn't but that he was just dialing my number to tell me what Charlee had said. "I love Mommy. I love to hug her and I love to kiss her." My heart felt pulled in 2 directions. The innocent love of a child is something no one could ever duplicate nor prepare you for. Those words pierced my heavy heart. I had wished my dad could be around to know her, to love her, to invest in her the ways he invested in anyone wise enough to accept it. But in that moment, I realized my dad is with her. Her grace is beyond her years. Her perfectly timed affection is honest and real. Her connection to my heart is a direct route.
Suitcase by Over the Rhine always takes me back to that warm day in February that he left us. A host of confusing emotions took lead role. I came into that hospice room not knowing what exactly to feel or do. I knew it was coming. I felt relief that it was all over. I felt nervous about seeing an image of my lifeless father. I felt as if I needed to plant my hand to my chest to keep my heart inside it's broken nest. They let me have my time with him and as I lay my head on the familiar spot of his chest, I instinctively grabbed his hand and gasped. It was warm. His soul was gone but his blood was still flowing through his body. Air in my lungs, beat of my heart, bones working their hardest to keep me together...a piece of me floated away with him.
Today, almost 5 years since we said our goodbyes, that part of me is back. Charlotte has restored life in those secret places. She opened my eyes to the love that can only be shared by the one who has heard my heart from the inside. I can think of my dad while laughing and crying all at once. I can remember his dancing, our harmonies, his goofy phrases, the way he honestly loved people. The way people honestly loved him.
So, to a man worth taking note of, happy birthday. You loved more in your 59 years than most will in their countless time here. You learned your lessons and retaught them well. Our lives will never be the same, but your love will. It prevails death. What a legacy you've left behind.