I was also able to carry him with me in that party. His name was on our front door, on our lips, and in our minds. His spirit was felt in every corner of our house, and with it his cheer and delight was there too. For the first time since his death the joy of his spirit was prominent, above the sadness of his absence.
It’s kind of amazing what happens when we go into conversations focused on how we’re going to listen rather than what we’re going to say. I learned a lot. Our political system is kinda broken and the greatest casualties are the many of us who are somewhere in the middle, politicians included. There is more to a story than the black and white lines of Yay or Nay votes. You can disagree on how to best fix a problem and still both care very deeply for the people affected by it. It’s easy to throw a political identity out with that dirty bathwater but it’s a lot harder to do the same with a very real person with whom you’ve sat across a table from drinking coffee and eating omelets.
Whenever Liam catches me crying he takes my face in his little hands and searches my eyes for tears. Upon finding them he proclaims, “Mommy’s happy! Mommy’s happy!” with manic desperation, as though he could will me into a state of happiness. I understand his behavior completely as I watch my mom sob over my dad’s body. It is all I can do not to grab her by the shoulders and shout, “Mommy’s happy! Mommy’s happy!”
The greatest gift he gave to us was unconditional love. My dad loved with a grace that astounds me. I never questioned if he loved me. After my fourth (or sixth) car accident my dad still wholeheartedly defended my driving skills. (At that point even I was ready to admit that I sucked.) I never grew up feeling like I had to be anything more than I was in the eyes of my dad. He gave us all a sense of “ok-ness” in a world that is always asking for more.