Remembering Joe

Easter 2011

Hub’s father died yesterday.

Hub & I visited him Saturday.  It was a hard visit.  We both knew it would be our last time to visit with him here in this life.  We knew we’d miss him.  We also knew that his leaving this life meant wholeness and healing in the next.

I guess I knew he was gone before the phone rang.  I told Hub I don’t make any claim in believing in psychic connections but I did find it interesting I woke at the same time we learned he was pronounced.  Hub’s eyes grew wide when I told him what time I woke up.

Hub & I shared memories of his dad throughout the day yesterday.  I think it helped the grieving … the missing of him … not hurt so much.

My fondest memory of Joe was walking into their house one weekend morning early in our marriage to the sounds of a guitar being played.  Joe was a great guitar player.  I told Hub I thought it would be nice to have acoustic guitar playing during his memorial service.  Hub looked at me and smiled.  He thought it a very good idea.

It was hard sitting with Joe on Saturday.  He was such a frail shell of the man I knew.  The last stroke stole away the last remnants of Joe.  Hub’s sister said he’d spent the last several days with his eyes closed.  Saturday was the first day he had opened his eyes.  She said he couldn’t move his head toward us.  Because he couldn’t turn his head, he never acknowledged he knew we were there.  I sat with him after Hub had stepped out of the room to gather his emotions.  I watched Joe.  Watched his breathing, his blinking eyes.  I didn’t know what to say, so I sat quietly; watching him.

I wondered why there wasn’t any music playing.  Only the sound of the machine pushing oxygen filled the room.  The sound of music would have drowned out that machine.  I wanted to ask if he could have a radio, but wasn’t sure if I should.

Silence doesn’t usually affect me.  It did that day, though.  Silence gives me time to pray, to ponder thoughts, to solve problems.  The silence on Saturday only made me want to run.  I could sense the end of Joe’s journey was approaching and it made me sad.  He was tired.  Ready.

Hub & I talked about our own mortality over dinner last night.  We both resolved to live each day as if it’s our last.  To treasure every moment.  To not get caught up in useless stressors.  To say, “thank you” and mean it.  To say, “I love you” more often.  We want to fulfill the saying, “when you die, slide into God’s presence with a whoop & a holler proclaiming, ‘what a ride!'”

God’s peace, Joe.  Save us a couple places at the table.

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