Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birthday Wishes

It's your birthday. It makes me think of all your other birthdays.

The ones you had when you were just a little guy, excited to be another year older. The first ones you had with Mom, before all of us started coming along. The ones when we were bratty teenagers and didn't even remember. The ones when we were slightly less bratty adults, and
you were healthy and we all knew there were tons more ahead of us, and we got you silly cards. The one when you turned the big five oh, and we surprised you with a great big party in the "forest".
Look how young and tall you look! (Stupid cancer.)

And then the ones when you were sick, and we hated to think it, but it was always there in the backs of our minds, "This might be the last."
It makes me sad that you never finished watching your last birthday present. Which is lame, I know, because of all the things you didn't get to finish... Videos are lame. But I remember that birthday, and I wasn't there, but the rest of you all went out for supper, and Noah ate lots of spaghetti I'm told.

And I miss you so much.
I miss taking for granted that you would always be there. Oh man, I miss that. And I miss not staring at your brothers and wondering how I could kidnap them and brainwash them to think that they are my kids' grampas. And I miss hugging you. I would give anything for a hug from you, I think about it all the time, and I shouldn't, because it opens everything up again and turns a healing scar into a gaping wound.

And right now, when I'm not having a very good day, I miss being able to call you or see you and somehow you make it feel better, usually by being a bit of a brat. I miss that.

Today for your birthday, I wish Gramma could make you some chicken noodle soup for lunch and you would call me and slurp it on the phone to bug me. And then you would go out for dinner and I would call you and say I wish I was there, and you would brag about how much time you are spending holding Nathaniel because I'm not there to fight over him with you. (Baby hog.) And then you'd call me from Aunty Susan's hot tub to brag some more, and I'd laugh and hang up on you.

Because, after all, I'd probably talk to you tomorrow when I called Mom to talk about whatever it is Mom and I talk about.
(Farm Town probably.)

I'm sure you're having a great birthday, and I'm sure if you could, you'd call me from heaven and brag about the noodles and cake Mavis made for you, and maybe eat a garden cucumber really loudly to rub it in that it's winter here and you can have cucumbers fresh from the garden whenever you want...

But even thinking of all that, I can't help but wish you were here, so that I could tell you, even just over the phone, "Happy birthday Dad. I love you all day, all night, all day, all night, all day, all night... A lot."


The Invisible Mo said...

Dear Becky,
I love you so much. And I'm sure that's just what your dad would say if he could, just maybe not with those words.
And I bought a chicken two days ago to make some mennonite chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. I planned on making it today, until I remembered that we would be having Daelin's birthday party today. I'm hoping to make it tomorrow or Monday. And I would gladly call you up and slurp it on the phone if I thought it would help. But it won't. So I will think of you while I eat it and try to slurp it just a little bit and pray for the healing to begin and your life to begin again without all the torture of wishes that can't come true and dreams that will never be real. My daughter posted this on her page one day and I'm going to post it here, for you.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.

So I knew what this man experiencing.

"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked.

"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral," he said.

"When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"

He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more."When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

footsack said...

Heartfelt post Becky and a beautiful response Sheila.