An awful hole
“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
I grabbed that from Pioneer Woman’s entertainment blog this week. It’s from It’s A Wonderful Life when Clarence is explaining things to George Bailey. It’s never been one of my favorite movies, like it seems to be for every other person in the world, but it’s almost exactly what I told Tim just two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago we lost my Papaw. We had just had the funeral and then attended the church’s Thanksgiving meal the next night. On the way home I could not stop the tears (which wasn’t unusual per the previous days’ events). I told Tim that it hurts so much that he’s gone because he was so present in our lives. It’s like there’s a big hole everywhere now. Just the week before that when I was dreaming of getting to eat the usual Thanksgiving goodies a whole week early (I love the church’s annual meal!) I could imagine every single detail of what the event would look like. I would have told you exactly where the food table and dessert tables would be set up. I could tell you exactly who would be working in the kitchen. I could describe the kids running up and down the hall. And I would have seen Papaw and Meme and the rest of my family waiting for the meal to start. But we went and I walked in…and he wasn’t there. And it was weird.
The church’s meal was wonderful. Lot’s of great people and we had a wonderful time with family in town. Our actual Thanksgiving Day meal was also perfect and we loved having more family around. But, I just expect him to be sitting in his chair when I walk in my grandparent’s house. I expect to get a funny phone call every-now-and-then from my husband telling me Papaw came by the gin because he had nothing else to do and he had everybody laughing the whole time. I expect to hear him say “Merry Christmas” on Thanksgiving Day or our birthdays and “Happy New Year” on Christmas Day. (He always did that, no idea why, but it was so funny.) I expect to sit at the dinner table and hear “MemeTreesyMaryLyndsyLacyceCHRISTY!” because he always went through all the other girls name’s before getting to the right one.
And, I’m not writing this for some pity because I’m just so sad. I just really miss him. It doesn’t seem right, him not being here. I know we’ll find a new kind of right to keep going on, but, sometimes I just miss him so much it hurts. He wasn’t sick and bound to the house or his chair, unmoving and waiting for the day he could leave. He was present, smiling, laughing and made a difference in our lives. There’s not just an awful hole without him, there’s an awful hole everywhere I go. The house, the gin, the farms, the church. But, our hearts are full. Full of memories and funny Papaw phrases. Those make him last. Those make getting through this easier. Those make me laugh till I cry or cry till I laugh.
I won’t forget the morning Tim woke me up at 6 a.m. with the awful news. But that will fade over time. I won’t forget the funeral. It seriously was the best one I’ve been to, such a celebration! But, it’s the happy memories with him that will last the longest and stay the clearest in my mind. Uncle Clay told of the few times he ever saw his dad cry: the day his dad died, the day his brother died, the day his son died, the day his grandson, Herbert Benjamin, was born…sadness and happiness, but he left one out. He cried when he saw me in my wedding dress. I will never, ever forget that.
I read something today by Beth Moore: “Every time you stand at a casket and mourn the death of a friend or loved one, know in your heart that Christ hates death, too…” It was not part of the original plan but the plan is still that we’ll all be together. There is hope in the resurrection of Christ that we will rise and be saved from a second death. He now has a perfect body. I’m sure Papaw doesn’t look like the Papaw I knew and loved, but I’ll know him when I see him again.