We stand at the water’s edge and watch the geese slowly glide from sight. This is real life.
“I have something I want you to write for me.”
“Okay, what is it?”
We begin to walk the circumference of the water’s edge. A picture thought comes quickly to mind, then vanishes. The water is heaven and spirit, something you can’t hold, but you know if it touches you. The earth is our mortal flesh that can dissolve by the washing of water.
He offers me some handwritten pages.
Maybe it is him trying to have some kind of control, in the very thing none of us can truly control.
Maybe it is his way of trying to make the inevitable easier when the time come; one less thing to think about.
He walks me to his desk, “Remember, everything you need to know is in this folder…when you need it.”
He is not sick. He is in his eighties and still plays tennis, just not as competitively, and not as often. He limps a little when he walks now. His skin retains the suntan lines from earlier years of playing tennis. Though gray is his dominate color, he still has streaks of jet black running through, like memories of youth.
He knows that the reuniting is coming and he embraces it. He knows that he was known before he entered his mother’s womb, and he will be known when he returns home again. Life here is not much longer than summer camp in comparison to eternity.
The handwritten note, a testimony of life, is waiting on my desk. It has been there for days. I read it out loud to my husband…then reread it silently several more times.
So many accomplishments, so many stories from his childhood; a very poor child of immigrants. So many stories from the Korean war. He speaks three languages, one fluently. The other two are in bits and pieces, kind of like the obituary; just bits and pieces of an amazing story.
Somethings he remembers from the war he will not tell the sisters, but my brother knows. Lessons men tell to men.
We went to the Grand Canyon last fall to celebrate his eightieth birthday. It was a late celebration, but worth the wait. He stares at the Canyon in silence. He loves hearing how the indians live off the land, using Cactus for needles, and certain rocks for medicine. We laugh and accuse him of going home and finding rocks for us to eat next time we are ill.
Again I look at the hand written pages full of cross-outs, do-overs, and rewrites. So many times in life we need to back up and have a “do-over.” He has had his fair share of “do-overs.” But not with marriage. They have been married 55 years.
“Mistakes are a good thing, if you learn something new.” he says.
I’ll write the obituary from his notes. And when the day comes and daddy, like the geese, quietly glides out of sight, I will know by Word and Spirit, he is just beyond the water’s edge.
Linking up with Gyspy Mama.
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