I wrote this on Good Friday, with tear streaming down my face. But it helped me to write it and remember that because of the meaning behind our celebration on Resurrection Sunday I can have joy and hope, even if I still have tears, too. I dedicate this to all who are missing a loved one this weekend. May God bless and comfort you…
I’m sitting on the deck, in the warm spring sunshine. But across my back yard I see my daddy’s yard. I see the pine tree he used to attach his hammock to, and I can picture him taking a nap there, breathing deep the the scent of pine and nearby lilacs.
But now the pine tree is dead. Dad had stopped going out into the yard the last couple years of his life. But he wanted the hammock put up for my son and his wife who lived with him his last year. He didn’t know the tree had died. I remember telling him the sad news. And then I called the electric company because it’s branches were close to some lines.
The electric company came out and took most of the branches off. But the trunk still stands, sturdy and bare and prickly looking. I asked my brothers to chop it down, but no one has gotten around to it yet.
I mostly forgot about it during the winter. But today, as I sit on my deck, it brings back memories. Of Daddy healthy and strong, puttering around in his yard. Of conversations. Of him coming over daily for visits, when he could still leave Mom alone for a while. Of him cuddling with my older kids, when they were young, in the hammock, when it was attached to trees closer to the house. Of him cuddling with my youngest when he’d moved it to the pine tree.
I hear the birds singing, and I can hear him whistling back to them. He was so good at that.
I sit on the deck looking at the dead pine tree trunk, and the tears keep streaming down my face. My daughter is next to me reading. It’s her birthday. I don’t want to sadden her compassionate heart with my tears. I try to hide them, but it’s not working too well. Finally I decide to go in.
I realize, that though the date is off by one number, it was a year ago on a Friday that I had my last actual conversation with Daddy. He wanted to hear all the family news. I fed him some potato soup because he was feeling too weak to feed himself. We had a sweet conversation.
I didn’t know it was our last one. I didn’t see him on Saturday because we had a family get-together with all our kids and grands. And then Sunday morning the nursing home called early and said, “Come now.” And I heard the urgency in the voice. And I wasn’t ready for that.
I thought we had more time.
I got there in time to hold Daddy’s hand, but he wasn’t talking. I told him I was there. I told him all my brothers were there. I told him Jesus was with us, too. And that we all loved him. And then I choked up and couldn’t speak anymore.
One of my brothers was listening, and he nodded approvingly, and said, “What more do you need to say?”
But I want to say more now. I want to keep talking. I want to be able to call Daddy and tell him all the family news and see how he’s doing. I want to tape record him telling stories of his childhood. I want to sing our old songs together.
I want to see him puttering around in his backyard. I want to hear his bird calls and find him relaxing in his hammock.
What would I do without the comfort of the truth this holy weekend brings? Jesus died for our sins, so all who believe in Him will be forgiven and live with Him for eternity.
Daddy and Mama are in paradise with Jesus now. And we will be together again. I will talk to Daddy again. I will hug Mama and laugh with her once more.
The pine tree in Dad’s yard is dead. But Jesus isn’t. He lives! And because He lives I know Daddy and Mama and I still have an eternity of memories to make in the very presence of our precious Savior!