Five years ago this morning, Dad took his last breath.
He should be here. He should know the weight of his granddaughter, the feel of her squirmy toddler body in his arms as he twirls her around the living room. He should occupy the other side of the dual recliner in the home we now call “Grandma’s House.” He should be here to celebrate new jobs, new homes, new adventures as his daughters and sons-in-law grow (and grow into) our careers and adult lives.
Damnit, he should be here.
Much of the time the pace of life, parenthood, and vocation keep me busy enough that I can set aside the hurt of it, the lingering rage of it…the way his miraculous recovery and life were stolen from us by systems that focus more on efficiency and cost-saving measures than the health and wholeness of the people in the beds. Much of the time I can compartmentalize, outrun, avoid, outmaneuver the grief.
But not on October 16th. Especially not when the last three October 16ths have been filled with funerals of their own — services of remembrance for three powerhouse women in the community that is Smithville First Christian Church. Without fail, after presiding over the memorials and burials of these church saints — after making space for their loved ones’ tears — I retreat to my office and it all falls apart.
The flimsy compartment walls fail. My shoelaces break and my heart becomes sluggish. No more outrunning it. All the grief and pain and rage of another year demands acknowledgement, and all I can do is feel it — this weight of three, then four, and now five years.
Five years without Dad.