To my children,
He didn’t want to leave you. He wished to stay an eternity with
This wasn't in our plan. The plan that automatically pops in your
head when you see two blue lines on a pregnancy test. The plan that is set in
motion that day in the delivery room when you realize what the words 'elation',
'euphoria' and 'love' really mean. The plan you figure out after calculating
how much to save each year so you can take your kids on vacation and just watch
them play on the beach every summer 'til they’re 18.
There was a kink in our plan but I promise we'll get it straightened out. I know it's sucky and scary and rocky right now. I know I yell at you and I get frustrated a lot. He hated when I yelled. I'll try and do better. I know I'm tired and sometimes I cry in the car if Luke Bryan comes on the radio. It's because we've got a Luke Bryan concert story. I'll tell you about it when you're older. I know I get quiet when you tell me how much you wish daddy were here to play Legos with you. Don't stop telling me those things though, because I want to hear them.
I miss him, too. The daddy that used to play, laugh, talk and joke with us. I don't want to forget him. Yesterday I couldn't remember for the life of me whether or not he liked Rice Krispie treats and that kills me. I know that your daddy loved Kool-Aid- especially grape Kool-Aid. He would sometimes order a Shirley Temple at fancy restaurants. I'd joke about how he acted like a child sometimes. He was a big, goofy kid, your daddy.
I'm trying so hard to keep and
grasp all these memories I have for you because I'm our only memory keeper now.
I'm holding the memories of him for you- like the memory of how he nervously
asked me to marry him atop the revolving restaurant overlooking the city all
those years ago (as if I'd say no!?). Like the memory of his surprised face
when he saw his firstborn child was a boy. Like the memory of the smiles he
elicited from you kids making gestures and silly "faces" with his
hand. Like the memory of his laughter on the boat. Like the memory of how much
he enjoyed sitting outside having drinks on the river at his favorite pub, where I'll
probably take you all for lunch today to honor that memory.
I found this book in the study. One of our friends gave it to your daddy before he died. It's a journal for someone to tell their life story as a memory for their loved ones. The pages prompt the writer to tell all about their childhood, adulthood, about beliefs, values and their memories young and old. The questions ask things like, "What advice about life would you like your family to remember?" "What do you consider to be your life's greatest gifts?" "What is the one thing you would never change about the way you've lived your life?" "Is there a poem, passage or quote that has been meaningful in your life?"
As if my heart needed shattering one more time, I turned the pages to see the
book was completely empty. The
pages are all blank.
The book came too late. He was too weak, too sad, too heartbroken to fill out these pages. I know he felt like it was going to be goodbye. He wasn't ready for goodbye.
He didn't want to leave you.
So I promise today, dear children, I will find the answers to all the questions about your daddy's life and I'll write it for you. I'll keep it for you. I'll talk to his family, I'll ask his friends. I'll go through every email or letter he ever sent me and I'll compile your daddy's life story. I'll finish writing his story. I'll give you all the memories I have. You'll always know that you had the greatest daddy ever.
You'll always know he never wanted to leave you. And someday, I promise, you'll get to have an eternity with him.