Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gratitude 5: Do overs...

So my last post?  I take it back.  Because for the past two days, I haven't been grateful that my dad has passed on. I miss him. A lot.

Me and my family went to my mom's yesterday to do a few things around her house. Her gutters were full, and she had a blind she wanted hung in her living room. It didn't even occur to me that November at my mom's house means leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. My side of town is still very new-ish. In our old house, we might have filled a garbage sack each year with leaves. But my mom has trees that my dad planted 20+ years ago. A whole lot of leaves had collected on the lawn and the flower beds and on the driveway and everywhere else a leaf could possibly find itself.

So while Shane got his hands dirty in the rain gutters, me and Thomas and my mom and Ben raked and swept and blew the millions of leaves. Luckily, a neighbor was using his lawn mower to suck up the leaves in the front yards of the houses on the street, so a lot of the leaves we raked into piles went with him. The rest were scooped into garbage cans and later garbage sacks.

My dad was there so strongly with me as I worked. I wished so much that I could hear a whisper of him, but I didn't. I just thought about him and how many times he had likely raked the same color and shaped leaves from the same corners of fences and angles of rocks within flower beds. How many times had he bagged the leaves and what did he think about while he did it and where was I when he did it, because I only have one distinct memory of ever raking leaves and it was only because I wanted $20 to take to the Sadie Hawkins dance? Did he like raking leaves? Did he use the rake to gather the leaves into the bag, or did he scoop them all up by hand? So many questions I never asked. I doubt he hated leaf-raking, because he loved his trees. But, like so many other things we never talked about, I can only guess.

The day was a success. Shane finished the gutters, we all did the leaves, and then Shane and I hung the blind. It is the first time my mom has ever had a blind in that window, but it looks fabulous and I feel much better that she has some privacy. We had a lot of fun chatting and moving furniture around and eating pizza. I shared the joke that behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law (not sure if my mom caught than one.) But I missed my dad, and felt bad that my mom has so much house to take care of alone.

I feel like a broken record with all these posts. I echo myself in each one, talking about my dad like running my tongue over and over a painful cavity. I never knew his loss would leave such a giant hole in my life. I prayed for his release for so long, and am now finding out that death, for those left behind, is permanent. Even though I can still feel his influence and I know his spirit lives on, free and whole and healthy, I can't touch him or have any new conversations with him or make him happy in any temporal way. It sucks. I miss him and I mourn the loss of the relationship we could have had here on earth.

So today, I'm grateful for do overs. I can take back what I said, that I'm glad my dad is gone. Although I would never, ever want him to come back in the state he was in when he left this earth, I wish tonight he'd had more good years to spend on this earth. There were life-long friendships he left behind. There was a wife who wanted more time with her healthy husband. There were daughters who still had conversations. There were grandsons who needed to be taught about hunting artifacts in the desert. There were leaves that still needed to be raked and blown and bagged.


Amy Sorensen said...

I love this post. And your last one. So beautiful and inspiring, and, you're right: I miss him, too. The ache really is not that he is finally at peace but that all of those years he was sick were so...lost. Moliere says that we only die once, and for so long. That's what your post made me think of.

And...I feel guilty for not coming to help! Of course, I was working and Kendell was hanging lights, but still. I think this will be a sweet memory for your kids to have of mom!