(It has been a year since he left us last May the 12th. One full year. We gathered at his grave. Words were spoken. Prayer was lifted. Flowers were left. It is funny how a year can come and go and even with no contact, the ones we love can still feel near to us. We can still here their voices. Still here their laughter. Still feel their presence. I miss him. Miss his advice. His comfort. His solid place in my life. The best part is yet to come though. Heaven. Glorious Heaven. I love you Grandpa. I thank God for you. I look forward to one day seeing you again in the presence of our Savior.)
I watch. Body resting on fresh white sheets. Chest rise and fall. Breath in and breath out. When did he get so frail? (I never noticed how white his hair had become. How soft.) When did time begin to move this fast?
I want to capture the moment. Take it back. A day, a week, a year. Want to hear another scripture off his tongue. Another prayer from his lips. Another moment. Any moment. I try. I will it so. I open my eyes and it is as it was before. Body still on fresh white sheets. Chest rise and fall. Breath in and breath out.
Stay. Who do I think I am to ask the God of all for such a request? Would he want it so? When he, so close to the One who made, the One who gave, the One who loves. Should I open my hands? Should I let go? Is that the real worship?
So I walk away. Whisper words of gratitude, and love, and promise. Touch warm face, hands, and feet as I pull myself towards the door. Eyes wet. Too afraid to verbalize fears that when I return warmth may be no more.
Hands open. Hands open. Hands open. (Perhaps if I say it, it will be so.)
Husband say's are you able to talk? (Soft yes in return.) Faith is the topic of night fall conversation. It has to be more than just a choosing. You have to truly BELIEVE. (Nodding on my part.) He presses further, no REALLY BELIEVE. (Yes, yes, I reply.)
Then He works. In the night. He allows lingering. He speaks not just yet. There is still work to be done, dirt to tend, ground to water, seeds to grow. It is the spring after all.
Time passes. He is home now. Adaptation. Adjustment. Things are not as they once were.
What before seemed important has moved to the side. I put off what can wait and make time for what cannot. I treasure, I cherish. Each moment forever etched in the heart.
We sit on the doorsteps of the weekend. There is sun today. Rubbing swollen feet is the order of the morning. I look around and find we are alone. I talk. He talks. I am amazed how he still ministers. Still shares truths of the One.
A shift in the sand. A crack in the earth. An opening in my heart. It is Mother's Day now.
Quick stop turns into a forever moment. He is in the chair. "Can I give him a bath?" (Of course.) Fears of him being uncomfortable or cold race through my mind and I push aside. Water filling in yellow basin. Familiar scent of soap. I use words to tell him of my plan. They seem steeped in child-like tone. (Perhaps later I will digest why?) Slowly I wash. First face. Then chest. Then back. Then arms. (Hard to not notice the frailness. I push forward.) Fingers, carefully washing each one. She brings two shirts. I pick the blue one. It is soft and he agrees that soft is what he would like. Slowly we dress. He closes eyes and returns to rest.
A day passes. So much change in so little time. Did I not think this possible? Must work. Must organize. Must keep mind occupied with tasks so that heart does not slip and fall into many pieces on the floor. Arrangements. Acceptance.
Eyes are beginning to feel as heavy as heart. It is after midnight. Must go home. Must be with husband and boys. Must let sleep find me. I kiss him softly on the forehead and mutter words of love and prayer. He purses lips and attempts kissing. I correct the error of my ways and grant him the kiss he is due.
A new day. I rise. Dress self and boys. Forego the morning routine. We leave with food in our tummy and dirty dishes scattered about. Prayer is on my lips.
He is there. In the bed. Dressed still in soft blue shirt. Breathing changed. Different now. Daughters and Sons. Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren. Surrounding. Filling home. There is prayer. There is scripture. There is song. There is sharing. There is comfort. There is love. (Oh so much love.)
Time is near now. The presence of God holding the room. More love is shared. More prayer is sent. God comes. He takes. He gently carries away the soul of the faithful one whom we have gathered to honor.
Hands open. Hands open. Hands open.
Alone now. Finding solace in the words of Psalm 103. I read. I weep. I allow the heart to feel. To open. To pour out my love in liquid.
Today I remember him. May I have the strength to go forth in worship. May hands remain open. He would want it so.