Scene: It’s the “Quarter of a Century” celebration for my father’s 25 anniversary in Heaven. As a gift, God grants my father an hour for morning coffee with his daughter, me. Everything is calm and peaceful. There is an air of gentleness and “early misty morning coffee” quietness.
“Morning dad,” I start.
“Morning,” he replies.
“How does it feel to be 25 again?” I smile as the words flow out.
“Great! Better than ever,” he smiles back.
We both pause and chuckle.
“I don’t really know how to to talk to you,” my eyes water slightly.
“I’m sorry for that,” he sincerely apologizes. “Just talk however you can, I’m listening.”
“I know that I miss you.”
“I know,” he speaks reassuringly, “Believe me, I miss you too.”
“Thank you for accepting that letter,” I say sheepishly. “I know it was harsh at times.” I wince slightly at the thought.
“You said what you had to say,” he speaks calmly, peacefully.
“I’m better now.”
“I can see.”
“It helped to work through it, to let it all out,” I smile reminiscing the mess of emotions that was me just a few months back.
A moment of silence interrupts our conversation, steady clock ticking in the background.
“I, I…” he starts out, voice cracking, “I’m sorry I left you guys. Please believe me when I say I wanted to stay. Please believe Sarah.”
“I do dad. I do now. I won’t say I’m better off…”
“Good,” he cuts me off from finishing my thought, “Because we would have been a good team.”
I choke back a mini sob as a couple tears roll down my cheek, “You think?” I smile through the mess.
“I know,” he adamantly confirms.
“So we’re good then?”
“We’re good,” he smiles, and winks in the comforting way that loving fathers can.
I smile back, “I’m not going to awkwardly wink at you… I think it’d ruin the moment.”
Laughter ensues. We smile and gaze into each other’s eyes, in a moment of mutual understanding. His eyes twinkle and gleam.
“I feel like I should tell you more about the letter.”
“Let it go for now,” he asks, “We only have a little longer. You can always write me again,” he mentions, poking fun, yet completely serious.
“Okay dad, I will,” I agree.
“I like hearing you call me that.”
“I like being able to call you that without breaking down in tears.”
“I like that too. You’ll get there darling.”
“So…” I start out conversationally, “How are you celebrating today? Twenty-five years in Heaven. I’m sure time passes differently, but please indulge me!”
“Indulge, well okay,” he plays along with my childlike imagination and heart. “Well,” he smiles with admiration and amusement for his (our) family, “Paula’s throwing a big party, and while she’s preparing and decorating, dad and I are going to golf 18. You can’t imagine how great the course is here! Beauty beyond belief! And without anger, well Sarah, you could play,” he jokes. Clearly he’d seen clips of my cursing spells and golf course tantrums.
“Ha, very funny,” I say not as amused.
“But really,” he continues, “Dad and I go out every morning, or so to speak. You owe me at least one game.”
“But,” I plead, “I took that golf course in college for you and grandpa. That B lowered my GPA. Isn’t that enough?” I add some whine and sass for the sheer pleasure of it.
“Oh,” he soaks in his amusement, “Missed those teenage years, or was it early twenties for you?” he pokes more fun.
“Ha ha,” I concede, “One game. It’s a date.” We shake on it. His hand is larger than mine, but the perfect temperature of not-too-hot and not-too-cold. It reassures, comforts and confirms all in one shake.
“Your Gma’s making her chicken wings,” he continues.
“And popcorn balls?” I ask.
“No, we had those for All Saints’ Day.”
“What were those other things I loved?…” now drawn into the delicious memories of Gma’s best dishes.
“Potato dumplings,” he confidently mentioned, “She mentioned that to me once. She makes them up here from time-to-time, and they are DI-VINE,” he emphasizes “divine” kissing his fingers, then spreading them out in a French (or is it Italian?) perfection way.
“Be careful in that snow,” he changes the topic.
“I will,” I answer honestly. “Is it time for you to leave?”
“This has been nice,” I mention gently.
“It has been,” he agrees. “Keep chasing your dreams, Sarah, wherever they may take you.”
“Even Colorado?” I smile at the possibility.
“Even Colorado,” he smiles too.
“I love you, you know,” he is gently adamant in the words he speaks.
“I know,” I softly respond.
“Do you?” he firmly questions.
“I do. I love you too dad.”
Moment of silence.
“Dad?” I ask.
“Does your golf game improve in Heaven?” I smile at the shallowness of my final question.
“No darling, it doesn’t,” he laughs.
Then I laugh.
We share a smile.
The next moment he’s gone. Off to golf eighteen with Clayton in the land free of stress, anger and pain.
A peace-filled golf game, I amuse at the thought, imagine that?
. . .