I should be sleeping, but I can't.

Outside it is raining on our tin roof. It's 9:00 and here I sit, in hot pink pajama pants and a "To Write Love on her Arms" T-shirt. My hair is thrown back in a ponytail and my make-up is long gone by now. Sarah Jane is sound asleep and has been for a while. I'm curled up in my red paisley comforter on my bed leaning against 4 pillows... I just got caught up on Army Wives on lifetime.com and the kittens are playing in the floor beside me. They've just spotted themselves in the mirror. I haven't turned off the light yet... or locked the doors. I have laundry going and 3 dishes in the sink that need to be done. My feet hurt from wearing heels all day. I'm staring at the computer screen and I have a huge smudge on my glasses, probably from Sarah Jane's fingers. My mind is racing and inside I feel slightly numb.

Someone close to me's Dad suffered a heart attack today... it's all I have thought about. My mind and heart have been comsumed by it all day. It was 1993 when I lost my Dad, and I don't remember much about the details of that day, but there are things that I do remember about him. I think about them often, maybe so I won't let myself forget.. maybe so I can tell them to Sarah Jane.

My dad was tall, bald-headed and happy. In my memory he always had a smile on his face... He had a mechanics suit that he wore around the house... mainly because it was comfy, but I think it was also for the comedic effect too. He sang all the time... and he had a strange liking to ducks. He Wore a tie to church on Sunday Mornings and he adored my mother. His laugh still rings in my ears sometimes. I remember riding in the back of a wood-panel station wagon listening to my mom and dad sing church songs; he was a preacher, you know. His heart for God was astounding.

It was June 3rd when the phone rang at our house at 3:03. (I have those numbers branded in my mind, it's my most vivid memory of the day... they were right in front of my face on the microwave) I was at home with my brother, John, and my mom was at Southern Foods in Brantley. John was outside and I answered the phone. I could hear the ambulance in the background. My Dad's secretary was on the other line...I can still hear her voice asking me if my mother was home. I don't remember if I answered or not. I just remember calling out to John. When I handed the phone to him he talked for minute or so. I remember seeing his face go blank. He didn't even hang up the phone, he just stood there for a minute. I kept asking what was happening. John never responded, he just threw the phone as hard as he could at the wall... then he walked outside. Before I could fathom what was going on there were all kinds of people at my house. (from our church, of course)

My friends at the time were Summer and Ben, they came over with their parents. I remember knowing what was going on, but pretending like it was nothing and that I just had company over. We played outside in the yard and told secrets in my room. This was the day that I learned that boys didn't sit down to pee... I don't know why I remember that. I remember not wanting to go in the living room. I remember hearing people cry. I remember various people sticking their head into my room, they were "checking in" on us. It is all such a blur in my mind, like trying to look at life through a magnifying glass held a foot away from your eyes. But I'm thankful that Summer and Ben were there. --- I am glad that I have memories of them and not memories of everything else that day.

I was 8 years old when he died... that was over 15 years ago and though I never talk about it, I think about him daily. Growing up, I always wondered what he would have thought, or said, or did, or wanted. I wonder things like what his favorite color was, or why he chose the army, or what he would think about Palin/McCain, or if he would be proud of the choices that I've made. I wondered what he would have thought of my high school prom dates or what he would have done or said when I was a rebellious smart mouthed teenager. I would like to know his thoughts on things like aliens and ghosts... or how he feels about global warming and the green fetish. I want to know what drove him to be the amazing man that he was (besides my mom behind of course)... I want to know what he thought the first time he kissed my mom. I want to know what was going through his mind while he was serving our country overseas, or what kind of cigarettes he smoked in the 60's. I have so many things to ask him when i get there. I KNOW how amazing he was, I know about the life that he lived. I know the legacy he left, I've seen it. I'm a part of it.

But still, All these questions plague me...So I write to Sarah Jane. God forbid something should ever happen to me, I don't ever want her to wonder. I want her to know. I have letters written to her for all kinds of occasions... from the first day of Kindergarten, to the birth of her first child and everything in between, even how to shave her legs.. If you know me, you know that music speaks more to me than most things. I also have a LONG list of songs that I want her to hear. Among them is this one... it's been ringing in my head since we sang it at bedtime.. it's he favorite and mine as well, I just wanted to share it. (of course, it's by Sarah Groves)

Beautiful Child
...beautiful child
right from the moment you were born
you overtook my heart my world
my beautiful child
tender and sweet
both in your crying and your sleep
you radiate a sense of hope
you're beautiful
And I have seen the most amazing sights
in my travels on the earth
misty seas and amber harbor lights
and other things of matchless worth
but next to you all of the beauty seems so plain
you would think I'd never seen a beautiful thing
And I have seen the most amazing sights
in my travels on the earth
seven sacred pools on starry nights
and other things of matchless worth
but next to you all of the beauty seems so plain
you would think i'd never seen a beautiful thing
I have seen the most amazing sights
in my travels on the earth
moonlight sleeping on the canyon heights
and other things of matchless worth
but next to you all of the beauty seems so plain
you would think i'd never seen a beautiful thing
Anyway, I guess it has been an emotional day to say the least and I am not even really sure why. But overall life is good right now. We are getting settled in to our new place and Sarah Jane is really enjoying her new school... and getting over S. Throat. I will post pictures soon of the house and of Sarah Jane in her cheerleading uniform.
Have a good rainy Monday night.


Dana said...

Well, now I'm the one crying.. I've always known that you adored him and I knew some steps of faith have been hard for you because you didn't know what he would think... But it's nice to hear (read) your full heart on the matter.

And, I think you're a better writer than you think you are!

Tammy said...

So I finally got around to catching up on blogs and I'm so glad I read that! It is so important for you to talk about your Dad and for Sarah Jane to hear about him. I never met either one of my grandfathers so the stories that are told to me are the olny things I have to hold onto. I hope you're keeping all of the letters to give to her someday. Those will be really special. To know what her Mom was thinking on her first day of Kindergarden is pretty cool.