Papa’s Birthday

“Grief never ends… but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… it is the price of love.”

Happy 75th birthday, Papa. Tonight, we light a candle to feel your warmth. We all miss you, but Genesee talks about you every day and wonders where you are. So do I. Mom tells her that you’re probably waiting for us somewhere, but until then, we can keep you alive by remembering. So now, Genesee is “waiting for you to come back alive” …because that’s what she heard Mom say.

It’s heart-wrenching and so innocently hopeful at the same time. At first, Mom tried to explain it differently so Genesee might better understand, but that’s the story she keeps telling herself. And maybe that’s a better way to grieve… thinking that you’ll someday return from your spirit journey…

Mom says she would ask more questions, look into your eyes longer, and hug you tighter. She would tell you that this year has been really tough, but she’s done a lot of perspective-taking and is striving to harness your boldness. She would confess that she hasn’t watched the Packer games, and perhaps she would even admit that the only reason she watched football in the first place was to feel closer to you. She would tell you that your dogs are well-loved, your house was sold to a Gilson, and that your golf cart made it to Florida. And also, Trump lost. In fact, he re-lost the election approximately 50 times. We can actually hear your belly laugh. Then, your exhale would synchronize with Mom’s and you both would allow yourselves a moment to feel vindication… before holding your breath again.

Missing you hurts less when we believe that you come back at the end of this story. And so, with Genesee, I wait.

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