Through the mighty oaks I drove up the quiet road when, unexpectedly, I happened upon a doe. I slowed my car from its already slow speed, admiring the graceful animal, not wanting to frighten it. It warily stepped out of the blackberry briars into the road, carefully making its way across the asphalt. Halfway across the road she looked back, flicked her ears and there was movement in the bushes from where she just came. A small, speckled fawn stepped out and quickly tried to catch up to its mother. They continued their walk, into long grasses on the other side of the road, quickly disappearing into the trees, out of sight.
I continued my drive, turning onto the gravel road I’ve become so familiar with. No one in sight, I parked my Jeep and stepped into the stillness. The clouds blanketing the morning sky were a comfort. Sometimes I just don’t want sunshine in these moments. Sometimes I need the gray, it makes me feel that at least nature understands me. Gray, solemn clouds seem more fitting at times than glaring sunshine, not always, but definitely today.
With flowers in hand, I yet again walked towards that place, that place that encompasses and brings forth so many emotions. Alone, the silence only occasionally broken by the cries of a lone red tailed hawk perched in the tree above, I found my resolve. Kneeling in the grass I took one stem at a time from the bouquet and arranged the flowers. Thoughts, memories, blessings, wishes all flooded my mind while placing each blossom carefully. The flowers, the beautiful purple, white and green flowers, begged me to bring them to this place as soon as I set my eyes upon them. They were an unexpected gift, one that I was grateful to receive, and felt honored to be given. Despite my adoration of them, as the arrangement contained some of my favorite flowers, I knew they were not all mine to keep. I needed to share them, to give them, to take them where I felt they belonged, at least a few of the blooms. You see, the flowers were extras, left-over from my brother’s wedding this past weekend. It just seemed fitting to bring a piece of the celebration here, especially since such a big of piece of our hearts was missing during it.
We missed you at the wedding, dad. We carried you in our hearts, and we tried to do so with joy, but speaking for myself, it wasn’t easy.
We miss you so much.
And dad, you’d be so proud of all three of your sons. Scratch that, I know you’re proud. Engaged, married, strong, brave, giving, intelligent, hard working, loving… They are becoming the men you’d hoped and prayed they’d become.
The wedding was beautiful, dad. Just like life was beautiful with you here, with us. I’m glad that we’re able to find joy again, but I struggle so much with this concept, the idea of embracing the future when you aren’t here to celebrate with us. The thought of these major life events occurring without you present wrecks me. Honestly, I think it wrecks us all. But I promise we are trying. I promise we will continue to be brave, despite our tears. I promise we will try to seek out joy, despite the pain.
And I promise, we will remember you.
I love you, dad.