I should be writing a eulogy right now. Dad’s memorial service is in a few days. I’ve asked him lots of questions over the years about his life and I loved to hear about it. But I wish I’d written more down. So I’d know the facts for sure and not have fuzzy dates jiggling around in my brain.
I want to call Dad and ask him, “What year did you retire again?” I think it’s 1999. But it might have been 1998. I’m not positive and I feel like I should know this. And I feel like I should be able to pick up the phone and call him. And I can hear his voice confidently saying, “I retired in….”
But I can’t hear the answer. And I realize I can never call Dad on the phone again.
And I can’t tell him that we visited Aunt Harriet on Monday and she really likes the CD player he had me send her when she lost her eyesight. And she’s listening to books all the time and it really helps her.
And I can’t tell him how I cried at the funeral home, when I saw the application he’d filled out years ago to prepay for his cremation. His handwriting was so neat then because he could still see. And he’d already filled out his information and checked his decisions and I felt like he was there taking care of me. He was still protecting me. He was still providing for me. He was still being my daddy.
I can’t call and tell him how I’ve been working on the menu for the memorial reception. Or that I wrote his obituary. He was always interested in what I was busy doing and liked hearing updates.
I can’t tell him how Annie went out and bought newspapers and donuts this morning. I can’t tell him how I read his obituary and then cut it out carefully and put it in the back of the Bible he and Mom gave me a few years ago, right next to Mom’s obituary.
I can’t even tell him how his watch reminds me of him every hour. Because he was blind, he wore a talking watch. He was wearing it still the hour he was dying. It was pulled up higher on his forearm because he’d lost so much weight during his illness. We cleaned out his long term care room after he passed and I have a couple baskets of his things in my office now.
And every hour, when I’m in this room, I hear Dad’s watch announce the time. It doesn’t make me think of him, because my thoughts are already filled with him. But in a way it brings him even closer and he seems to talk to me through it.
Because Daddy was a driver and a doer and liked to get things accomplished. His talking watch is a gentle nudge, like he was. Get it done now. Have you done it yet? When are you going to?
I will, Daddy. I’ll get it done. I’ll write your eulogy. But I wish I could call you and talk to you about it. I’ll plan your memorial service. I’ll figure out the reception. I think it will be good, Daddy. I think you’d like it. But I wish I could talk to you about it.
I can’t call you on the phone anymore. But I know we will have an eternity of conversations. Because you trusted Jesus, and I do too.
So death is not the end of our conversation.
It’s just a pause.