How you doing up there? Hard to believe it’s been a year since you were freed from the body that you were so frustrated with.
You’d been preparing me for a while, telling me how much you were losing; your sight, your mobility. And how so many of your friends were already gone. I’d call and you’d say you’d fallen asleep listening to a book again and I could hear the defeat in your voice.
When you told me from the hospital that you didn’t want dialysis, you said you were sorry. I told you there was nothing to be sorry for. We both knew your body was failing and I knew you were ready to go. You’d been ready for a long time. I’d never be ready but that didn’t matter.
I’m so glad I got to the hospital in time to talk to you. And feed you orange sherbet. And laugh with you. And hold your hand that whole last day. And whisper in your ear that I would be okay. That it was time for you to go.
As we stood around the bed after you’d gone, Cousin Robin said this was the hardest part. She was right. Leaving you, alone in that bed, to be ministered to by strangers, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But in my heart, I knew you’d already gone. It was just that worn out body laying there and I hoped you were already with Grammy and Grampy, Nick and Judy, Flo and Arthur, our beagle, Blaze, and all the other loved ones who’d gone before you.
So now, every Saturday at one, I ask how you’re doing up there. And I tell you what’s going on down here. And every few weeks I leave flowers at your adopted grave. I stand under the clear blue sky and watch the birds and listen to the burble of the nearby fountain and tell you how much I love you and miss you. I wonder what you’d be saying about all this crazy political crap and the hard winter we’ve had and how I accidently retired. You’ve got a kid who’s on Social Security!
And don’t worry about me. You were always so sure that Jesus would take care of you and your faith was so strong that I know in my heart you’re happy and free. My grief is selfish and nothing for you to feel bad about. I miss our three hour phone calls and your laugh and gossiping about the ladies where you lived. I miss your willing ear and advice and even your chiding (sometimes 😊 ). I believe we’ll be together again someday but I miss you in the here and now, when I want to call you and share good news or gripe or just see what you’re up to.
So, I hope you’re doing okay, wherever you are. I decided I didn’t want your first anniversary to be mournful. I wanted it to be a celebration of your freedom. I imagine you in a place like Grammy’s living room or Flo’s lake house, up on your feet walking, eating anything you want, re-reading the Eve Dallas series for the 5th time, watching White House Down for the 20th time and partying all night with family and friends, free from pain, weakness and all the earthly burdens.
I’ll bet it’s fuckin’ awesome!