All Saints' Day
Today is All Saints' Day in my church-- the day we remember all those who have died in the previous year.
I thought I was ready to hear my dad's name read from the altar.
I was wrong.
The second I heard his name, I wanted to speak to him again just one more time. I wanted to talk to him about all the silly inconsequential things we used to talk about: the World Series, the way the puppy has chewed up my husband's absolutely disgusting shoes he wears around the house (Good dog!), the silly things my kids have said.
Did I mention football? No? That's because football is NOT inconsequential, at least to an Okie.
I was also asked to speak for a few minutes about stewardship. I spoke of how a priest of my church-- who did not even know my dad, who had never even been my priest-- came and ministered to my dad and to the rest of us as the end approached. I now have proof that angels walk among us.
I was doing fine as I spoke, talking about how important the Church is to me, how I found the Episcopal Church through the grace of God, and how much I treasured this community of believers. Until I looked out and saw a woman in the congregation crying as I spoke.
I did manage to keep my voice from breaking completely. But it was very hard.
I miss my dad. I miss my mother not talking about death every waking minute. I mourn all the hatefulness that was unleashed in the wake of Dad's death.
A dear soul-sister of mine has formed a club of those of us who have lost a dad recently-- we call it the DDGC. I would give anything not to belong. I know she would too.
My dad worried about "going to heaven." Actually, I guess I should say that he worried about "going to hell." My son says that our dog Max is happy now because he is playing with Grandpa in heaven. All I know is, Dad, that I believe that heaven is the place where we'll no longer miss those we've lost. Where we'll never again worry if people really love us, or feel that we really don't deserve good things. Where we will be able to forgive not only each other but, more importantly, ourselves.