My sister and her husband stopped by over the weekend, on their way to Tampa. She had on cargo capris and a red tank top. Not her usual style of dress...but she looked good. After giving out hugs and hellos, she kicked off her sandals and curled up in the chair across from mine.
"So, how are you?" she asked.
We then commenced to having a relaxed conversation, unconsciously avoiding the subject of dad's recent passing. We seem to save those particular talks for phone and emails.
After we all hugged and said our goodbyes, I got to thinking just how important family really is. Even though we didn't speak the words out loud, we both knew how and what the other was feeling.
We were all there... side-by-side and through it all (myself, my siblings... and mom) sharing those last six weeks of dad's life. The good and the bad. And even though a sadness was constantly hovering, there were moments; funny moments where we couldn't help but laugh at, and with each other; touching moments when we sang hymnals to dad while wiping his forehead with a damp cloth or rubbing his back and shoulders; and moments... where we felt so helpless, we couldn't do anything but hold one another and cry.
We were there... together... my family and I.
But there were other moments too. Moments when dad and I were alone. Like the time I was walking by his chair on the way to unload the dryer.
"Sandra!" I heard him softly say.
He didn't usually call any particular name when he needed something, so, I stopped what I was doing and went and sat down beside him, took his big hand in my small one (as I so often did those last six weeks), leaned over him and asked,
"What is it daddy? Can I get you something?"
He didn't reply, he just squeezed my hand and closed his eyes- blue like Sunday morning- and prayed. His voice barely above a whisper.
"Lord, bless Sandra, bless her for all she's done and for all the sacrifices she's made to be here with me. Bless her greatly. In Jesus name."
I felt a big lump rise up in my throat and tears fill my eyes. . . but I replied,
"I'm right where I want to be, daddy."
And I was.