“I’ll always be near when you need me. Love, Daddy”
Yesterday I read these words from an old greeting card my father once gave me. I don’t remember the occassion for which the card was given, but those 10 handwritten words mean more to me now then I’m sure they did at the time I received it.
Today marks a milestone of sorts, five years since he’s been gone. In some ways I feel like I just spoke with him yesterday and in other ways it seems like an eternity. Regardless, there hasn’t been a day that has passed that I have not thought of him. Sometimes good, and honestly, sometimes not so good, but always a thought or two crosses my mind.
It’s strange how his words from the card reflect exactly how I feel about him today. I never feel like he’s far off or unreachable. A matter of fact, I feel him everywhere I go and in everything I do. He is now afforded the opportunity to be carried with me always, something his earthly presence would not allow. In this way, I feel we are closer then we ever were.
I don’t feel like our relationship ended the day he died. Odd as this may sound, I feel quite the contrary. I feel as though our relationship, his and mine, has continued to grow and change much like it would have if we were still able to visit face-to-face. There are days when I’m mad at him and days when I miss him. Days when he makes me laugh and days when I simply talk to him. There are days I learn new things about him and days when I remember things about him.
He was a complex man and we had a complex relationship, but one thing I know for certain – he loved me. Towards the end of his life, and now in his death, I have discovered a few other certainties – he loved our family and he loved our Lord. These three things are all I really need to know. If that was it, I would be content. However, I am blessed with so many more memories than I deserve and for this I am thankful.
He promised he would always be near and I know he will continue to keep his promise.
Death is Nothing at All ~ Henry Scott Holland
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.