So today is the day that I’ve been dreading. It’s your Memorial, Dad. It means that your death is real and that you are gone. I was there when you passed last month but I’ve been denying it. How can you be gone when we all love you and need you?
So many times I have picked up the phone to call you and tell you about the kids, the weather and that my paperwhites are blooming. I can hear myself saying to you “I know it’s February and they are outside in North GA but they are blooming. Crazy, isn’t it?” Each time I realize that I can’t speak to you, my heart breaks again.
Soon after your death, my BF, Susan, told me that my VM was full. I was listening to the messages and your voice was still there from our wedding last summer. You were asking if we were home yet. “Make sure you call us when you get home, Honey. We love y’all.” My heart broke again and I couldn’t stop the tears. On my worst days, I listen to your voice, wishing you were still here with us.
I often think of you as I am looking at our wedding pictures from last summer. Lord knows that we upset some family and friends since it was just immediate family and a couple of our closest friends. If we had made them happy by waiting and had a larger wedding, you wouldn’t have been there. I am so thankful that you were there for our special day. It wouldn’t have been as joyful without you.
I thought that I was going to be okay on this trip. After all it’s been over a month since you passed. As we got closer and closer last night, my slowly healing heart started breaking again. I cried from Birmingham, AL until Tupelo, MS. Maybe just maybe, I got all the grief and pain I’ve felt out last night then maybe just maybe today will be easier. Not very hopeful though, since the hard knot of grief around my heart doesn’t seem to be loosening. Praying hard to feel joy since I know that you are with Nanny, Pops and all our family in heaven.
You weren’t always the Dad that I wanted. But you are mine and who God decided that I needed. There have been so many times when I was so angry with you and hurt by your choices. At some point, I realized that you asked for forgiveness and showed love through simple things like sharing plants and gardening knowledge with me. It was time to let the hurt go and accept what you had to give. I am so thankful that God blessed me with the gift of forgiveness and a second chance with you. You are so important to me.
I’m avoiding the grief books a friend lent me. If I read them, then you are really gone.
I couldn’t share your obituary because then I would have to acknowledge that you are gone.
When you passed, I wanted to feel relief for you. You were free from the horrible pain that you had been in for years. I couldn’t though. I was screaming inside. “Don’t you know how much we need you? Gram-Gram loves you and needs her husband! We love you and need our Dad! Aunt N and Uncle P love you and want their brother! The kids love and need you! You won’t see them grow up. Who’s going to count their ribs and make funny faces with them. Who will teach them about our love for gardening, Dad? I don’t want to do this without you. You can’t leave us!”
You had passed and were lying there tilted to the side in the bed at hospice house. I wanted to make sure you were comfortable and make sure you were warm enough even knowing that your spirit was no longer with us. I hated walking out with Gram-Gram and Sissy thus leaving you alone. I felt like we had abandoned you. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.
I was so angry with myself. This had been coming for so long, I was supposed to be prepared for it. I was supposed to be thankful for God relieving you of your pain. I wasn’t. I was shattered and felt bereft without you here. My Dad was gone.
I drove Gram-Gram and Sissy home after you passed. I’m thankful that the Lord’s angels kept us safe from harm because I don’t remember a single thing from that 1:30 am drive. Not a damn thing.
We are keeping our promise to you and being here for Gram-Gram. We love her so much. I swear it’s not a burden at all. Hopefully we aren’t making her too crazy. I’ll admit it, I’ve been needy. Sometimes just hearing her voice brings you close.
We brought all sorts of pictures of you from the past. I feel guilty about not doing it prior so you could have told her your stories. I know that Uncle P and Aunt N will help tell your stories. Gram-Gram will enjoy hearing about the crazy things that you got into and seeing the scrap books full of your young life.
You would enjoy the party later today. Solemn funeral services are so not your thing. I’m sure that you will be looking down on us loving seeing that you brought your family together. I promise that I will try to be happy later today but I’m struggling right now. I’ve cried a box a Kleenex while I’ve written this letter to you.
I miss you today, tomorrow and forever, Popsy. I will miss having you around for our adventures and seeing all the kids grow up. But you will be with us always and I’ll love you forever.
Rest in Peace.
Daniel Bradley Perkins III
February 19, 1943 – January 3, 2019