Five Years Without You

Dear Daddy,

I’ve often imagined what a typical day in heaven is like for you. Now, on the fifth anniversary of your death I am wondering, what does five years feel like in heaven?

In case you’re wondering, here’s what five years feels like down here…

I live in a house you’ve never seen. You aren’t here to help me when I need to fix or paint something. I cry angry tears when spring comes and I work on the front yard landscaping alone. That was always our thing.

I have children you never met. Twins in fact. I know, right? You always joked about wanting twin grandbabies. When I look at my kids, I see so many of the qualities I adored in you. Kindness, quick whit and curiosity. If you were still here I wonder how you would influence their little personalities.

But it’s not just the kids and this old house triggering sadness. It’s me. Five years later I am a different person and it’s strange to think you don’t know the new me. Since you passed, I am stronger. Not just in my faith, but in my thinking and determination.

Oh, I’m still selfish and greedy. I want you back so you can teach my children what you taught me. Five years later I grieve the memories that will never happen.

The year you died my heart was dripping with sadness. The waves of grief washed over me frequently. Now, they don’t come as often or linger as long. But when they come, oh how my heart longs for you. Then I do what I have done every year for five years. I pull out your old shirts and smell them. I put on your jacket and put my hands in the pockets. Then I let myself cry. The kind of cry that makes your chest ache and gets stuck in your throat. I let grief hug my soul and I mourn what is gone.

As quickly as the sadness comes, it’s gone. I take a deep breath and once again choose to accept the sovereignty of God. I remind myself pain has purpose. My pain has a purpose and I will not waste it. You wouldn’t want me to. So I change my lens and remind myself,  even in death you are still helping shape who I am. Five years later I think you would be proud of who I have become. More like you.

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