Monday, September 21, 2009

Part Ten: Memories of a Grateful Daughter: My Mind's Eye. My Mother on Being a Widow

My Mind’s Eye

I have my father’s journal. It has a hard cover, marbled the colors of new and old blood. In Gold letters across the top it says Record. I read of his daily activities, his worries, his thoughts. And then I come to January 20, 1987. I understand just how extraordinary a man he was.

He hated pain. He feared suffering. “God gives suffering to his best friends,” muses Mr. Blue. Despite his fear, my dad had asked for it: “What you will. Take me on a ride.”

My father’s ride had ceased. Or was it more of a pause after the long, slow Click…Click…Click to the top of the biggest hill of the roller coaster of life. The halt which is merely a pause. How long in time is impossible to gage. A lurch and then the exhilarating rush of roaring wind, the reason for the ride.

I close my eyes. I see my father as he meets God face to face. The pain is gone and an awesome, yet strangely familiar and gentle voice speaks to him, around him, through him:

“You have done well my good and faithful servant…Welcome home my faithful friend.”

My Mother on Being a Widow

We sit on that same screened in porch drinking wine. The funeral is over, and we have my wedding to plan. We have decided it is to be a joyful occasion. And it is. Our sense of grief is not a dark shadow over the preparations. There is true joy in finding the perfect flowers, the right menu, what dress she should wear. I have my dress and my veil. The Veil. I can not look at the veil without crying. My dad would have lifted the veil. We joked that it was to be his only responsibility. What am I to do about the veil? I hide it in the unused room, so I don’t have to see it. But of course I will have to see it. I ask mom how she is doing that evening in early May on the porch. She answers in a most unexpected way:

“After Daddy died, I did not want to get out of bed. But I thought of my mom and the example she had set for me after my dad died. I got out of bed because one day one of you may lose the person in the world that you love most, God forbid. I get out of bed as an example to you.”

My Father’s father will walk me down the isle. Grandpa and I have always been close, and I feel honored and blessed to be on his arm. But, I have decided, pushing back the veil was for my dad alone. I will wear it back. And for my mom, I will not cry!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this, Sheila. It's good to have the memories someplace where I can get at them when I need them.