Dang, I miss him. And I didn't realize how much, until the other night. Over the past two years, as Dad's health, stamina, and strength have failed, he's spent a lot of his time sitting in his recliner in the family room, next to an end table with a lamp, box of tissue, a bowl of nuts or ice cream, and a book or two and a couple of magazines. He even made himself a TV tray that would hold his meals, sitting on his lap. He'd have the TV on, usually with something from the BYU station, Lawrence Welk reruns, or a blank screen with music playing.
Typically when I would go to my parents I'd walk in the front door, take 5 steps, look to my right, down 5 stairs, to see if Dad was sitting in his recliner. 9 times out of 10 he was, and I'd wave, walk toward him, or walk on by, depending on whether or not he was napping, reading, or watching something on TV, or even if he heard me when I walked in.
There have been changes in the house - the recliner was moved into my parents' bedroom on Sunday before Dad died on Tuesday. When Dad did pass, the first thing Mom wanted was to move the recliner (and his shower chair) into the garage, not back downstairs. Shortly after his death my brother, Craig, spent a few days with Mom, and he cleaned out and rearranged things in Dad's shop and the garage. Now Mom can drive the car into the garage and unpack the groceries! Yet one thing that hasn't changed is that the table sitting next to the recliner has stayed there, the lonely sentinel, holding a place, marking time, almost a memorial, and no one has moved it.
Until Saturday night. I had told Mom when she was ready to holler, and Scott and I would rearrange the family room for her, moving Dad's table, but not leaving an empty space. She did; my mother was ready to make a change (and change is not something she's a fan of). The room looks good - the end table is now a true end table, with only a box of tissue and a lamp on it. Dad's lap tray is in the storage room along with his space heater, and his books are back up on the bookshelf, his bookshelf (and that's another story). The room looks full, alive, bright.
I haven't been through their front door since the rearranging. Honestly, I'm a little afraid to go over, look down, and not even see the lone table - it was my reminder of my father - here or not, it stood for him.
Moving, rearranging, losing, is tough - and moving forward is the only way - transitions. My dad. Today I miss him. I hope I miss him tomorrow as well.
One of my favorite songs, reminds me of my childhood and watching Lawrence Welk with my folks. Are there tunes, shows, movies, that take you to a younger day, that you have incorporated into your life, now? My kids know every word to this song, and I have tried to sing this to my grandkids - passing down my dad.