As some of you know, my friend Tracy lost her Daddy this past week. I attended his memorial Saturday & got to spend time with the family afterwards for several hours.
Theirs was as wide & diverse as any I’ve seen & had the privilege to know. Lots of blood kin & by marriage & several were there & still embraced as family, after divorce. I make mention because, frankly, you just don’t see that much. And of course, friends that have been blessed to be embraced as family, like me. The roots I witnessed & the way the way they twined this way & that through the middle of it all was beautiful. It honestly was. I just sat & listened & watched. And reflected. I believe heaven is going to look a whole lot like that.
Theirs is a rich one. Rich with blood & history that runs deep. With warmth & stories that had me laughing obnoxiously loud. Rich with legacy. With pain & triumph & tragedy. And with love – the glue that keeps them together through the thick & the thin of it all.
I sat & watched my friend & how, though she could hardly walk under the unbearable grief, was going around making sure the others were ok & had what they needed. She was beyond spent & exhausted but kept going & going. And going. She gets that giving, that going & bent stubbornness honest-earned, from the stories I heard this weekend.
At one point she saw her Nanny – her Daddy’s mama – in the living room alone in her wheelchair & slipped over beside her to keep her company. I teared up at the two of them sitting there talking. She was bent over from the years & at 93 had just buried her 3rd son. It hit me all of a sudden what that must be like for her & almost couldn’t contain what I felt in that moment. That on top of all the grief I’d witnessed at the visitation & at the graveside. Even now, I have to mentally shut it all down some to just get through typing this out.
After a bit when I saw I could steal a moment alone with her, I went over, took her hand & introduced myself. And I looked into her tired eyes & cried & told her how sorry I was for her loss & all the loss she had already endured. I know I’d only just met her but I cannot imagine what that must feel like to her, being a mother myself. It took me somewhere dark I didn’t like going.
My friend’s Daddy obviously had something very special about him. The kind of special that draws people together, like water up from a well. The kind of special that sits as the center – the core of a thing. That others look to. Not a boastful thing – no, not at all. It just is what it is. We all know someone like that. At least I hope we do. And his baby girl – my friend T – she has that special something also. Anyone who knows her like I do, well they know it too.
Jay may be gone from our midst in body & soul right now, but his spirit lives on. I saw it myself this weekend in the faces of his kin & kin alike. In their stories, their laughter, their tears. In their embracing & playing & joking & stick-together-ness.
He lives on way out yonder now, high above us in rolling plains of beauty & color & peace the likes of which no eye has seen nor ear heard. He flies free & whole & happy. He sits softly in his favorite chair in a mansion built custom – plank by plank, stone by stone. Just for him. Surrounded by pure Love forever & ever.
And one sweet day he’ll come down off his sprawling porch & a reunion shall be had. At long last.
Here’s to you Jay & your rich & beautiful family ~