the room was warm and sunny and i was a nervous wreck,
i was sure i would disappoint
tony handed me the phone and i'm sure what little sound you heard in my hello was lost in the airwaves somewhere between your home and mine.
but i remember.
i remember how you spun out stories of your life, of your marriage, of your children.
how you pulled me in and made me laugh and how that conversation ended too soon.
i remember the first time i met you.
you, so proud of your son with the diploma in hand and that cap on his head,
you stood there with arms outstretched to welcome me in.
you welcomed me in and added me to the many you already had.
you loved with the love of a father and you unlocked a part of my heart that i had hidden.
you were you and my world that was so complete with you in it has been left gaping since you made that choice to leave.
and i wonder, as you stand perfected in the presence of Jesus, do you know?
do you know that when i look into the face of elias, i see you?
when olivia laughs her sweet belly laugh and her eyes crinkle closed, i see you?
when lyla begins to sing every note to every song, i hear you?
do you know?
oh dad, do you know?
but do you also know of the way He is healing us here?
the question floated up from the seat behind me this morning,
the one that always seems to come up every other month,
the one that asks why they don't have a papa.
i pulled over because i suddenly couldn't see through the tears,
because i want to have an answer that is easy.
and the one left behind in your wake is anything but.
but i'm sure, you know that too.
i think of that moment we drove away to come and see you, 2 years and 1 week ago.
and how 14 short days later, everything fell apart.
and everything really did fall apart,
but the glorious truth of the matter is that what has fallen apart
can be built up again.
and here, where we knew no one when we traveled that long and tear-filled road to this front door,
He continues to pour out His Love onto this family left reeling in the loss of you.
i lost so much when we lost you.
i don't know if you know that.
i am gaining so much in the healing.
that is something i'm pretty sure you would know.
i watched elias take off running down the hallway of our church tonight,
his eyes lit up and his smile grinned wide as he flung himself into the arms of a father here who didn't have to, but does.
and i think of how i will always miss you,
how my life is completely changed because of the eight years you loved me and the one day you gave up.
but changed for the better -
because you taught your son how to love,
and you taught this timid heart how to trust.
and how because of you, whether you know it or not,
we hold close the love He gives us through the ones He brings into our lives.
and maybe you know too, that the foundation that was so broken that horrible new years eve is becoming stronger, little by little...
the ashes are being gathered up in beauty,
and the joy is coming back.
i love you dad.