A letter to my #father of #grief, #family, #Easter, and #StarTrek

Dear Dad,

Another Holy Week is almost over. Another Easter on the horizon.

Another Easter without you.

This time of year the stores are overloaded with Easter lilies, the scent of their beautiful white blooms permeating every aisle. Of all your allergies, Easter lilies were the worst, especially because the old ladies of the church flower guilds never really took it seriously.

Oh, you’d tell them, and I’m sure they nodded politely, but what did they do on Saturday? STUFF the altar with lilies for the Easter service Sunday morning.

So where are you during those two, sometimes three services Easter morning? Not in the pulpit, that’s for damn sure. Down in the pews, as far from the altar as you can get, silently praying you can at least speak your way through the service without passing out because your throat’s so constricted. Singing Easter hymns was not even an option, which sucked, because I know how much you loved them. Even if the flower guilds used a mix of fake and real lilies, it made no difference–your voice would always be so hoarse anyone would have thought you’d spent the last six hours cheering for William Shatner’s arrival at a Star Trek convention.

Honestly, that’s what initially got me writing this. Not Easter, but Star Trek.

All my listening to James Horner put Bo in a mood for Star Trek; one clip with the kids later, and Biff is hooked.

Oh, Dad. Biff’s so into Star Trek right now it’s hilarious and sad all at once. He stares at the ships, absorbing every detail. He’s transforming boxes into his own Enterprise, Excelsior, Reliant–the kid’s got the entire Starfleet parked on the end of his bed, manned by the brave comfies from Planet Teeny Ty. I can’t imagine what a conversation between you and Biff would have been like, especially when the little guy’d insist Excelsior is cooler than Enterprise.

And because I can’t imagine that conversation, I’ve been pretty damn sad.

My last picture of you and Biff–his first birthday, 2013. Probably can’t see it, but you’re wearing your Dr. Who-Harry Potter scarf fight shirt. I have a pillow with that shirt’s image now.

Bash shows me the first book he made about the Wall-E and Eve robots, and I can’t help but remember when I’d show my own stories to you, how’d we spend ages going over the stories I’d type on that goliath of an IBM computer.

How is this the only picture I have of you and Bash? Where are the others? I asked Bo, and he’s pretty sure our sister-in-law was the camera-holic at that time. I’ll have to get those pictures from her somehow.

I hear Blondie sing in church, and can’t help but remember those toddler years when she’d run up the aisle at your own church at the end of a service. You would pause the announcements, and just stand there, grinning, until she reached out for you with her little hands. You’d hold each other all through the announcements, recessional, and greeting, so happy to be together.

You and Blondie in Door County, Wisconsin, 2013

Blondie turns nine next month.

Bash, Blondie, & Biff, 2019

How you’d laugh with these guys now, sharing goofy faces and terrible puns. How you’d run after them at the park, caught up in epic battles of dragons and space ships. How you’d throw your hands up in exasperation when facing the latest generation of family stubbornness I know I got from you and have passed on to all three of my little B’s.

How I miss the memories that never were.

But this Easter, I’m doing my damndest not to let love known in the past prevent me from seeing the hope of a happy future.

Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done,
Now after gloom and sadness
Comes forth the glorious Sun!
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.

From the lutheran hymn “awake my heart with gladness”

Despite those lilies, you loved Easter. You loved sharing its joy, its hope, its miraculous nature. If not for Easter, there would be no hope for us beyond these few years of mortal coils. Through Christ, death can only keep us apart for a little while; through Christ, we know that when our time on earth is done we will be joined together in Heaven, where we can share all the songs and smiles, stories and laughter we’ve gathered over the years.

Happy Easter, Dad. For once I can put a lily next to you and it won’t kill you, let alone keep you from singing the Easter hymns you loved so much.

The Easter hymns I still cannot sing, too choked with tears.

But no tears will ever choke my hope of seeing you again in Heaven.

Happy Easter, everyone.

48 thoughts on “A letter to my #father of #grief, #family, #Easter, and #StarTrek

  1. Reblogged this on lampmagician and commented:
    Oh! How I can feel and perceive it, as my late brother and me, we’re watching all the time the series of Star track the next generation and of course the movies with Spaak and Captain Kirk, especially; the voyage home. oh my dear Jean, we are almost in the same mood. that’s fantastic ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been there done that…only I’m the (retired)Reverend now. 41 years yesterday. I was barely 20 when he passed, followed by my mother 15 months later.

    Easter is a time of celebration, but it is also a time of remembrance of those gone before.

    “God, for the communion of saints,
    and not so saintly ones, we give thanks,

    for they have known in part,
    and now they know face to face,
    and none is left behind.
    amen”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so so beautiful. Brought tears to Yorkshire. What a great man. He will be so proud of you and the kids. Need to find ways to live our lives and bring happiness to our kids. If people take the time to look down from heaven on the ones they care for the least we can do is to try and smile back. I struggle to do this but I should. Take care my good friend. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My own late father (2018) looked like Captain Kirk (I’m not kidding!) and I’m always reminded of him when I watch a Star Trek film…your own father looks like he was a beautiful soul…thank you for sharing your memories and grief with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful tribute. I can relate to your father’s struggle at Easter services. My wife is allergic to poinsettias, and during the Advent/Christmas seasons, she suffers just as your dad did.

    Now your father is in the Lord’s presence. Though we miss our parents, in one sense it won’t be long before we are reunited before God’s throne.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are the posts that tug at this old man’s tear ducts. (How’s that for an image?) It must be tough, Jean. Your Dad hasn’t been gone all that long, has he? It’s a blessing your faith is strong. Happy Easter, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great tribute, with lots of smiles too. Star Trek has such a large place in our home, if we lose hubby, I don’t know if any of us could bear to watch it for a long time. I would bet the kids couldn’t.

    I am not a lilies fan, finding them at every funeral, every spring. they smell too much like death to me. I have to say he must have been a very kind man to sit near the back instead of insisting on having his way, which would have been more comfortable!

    I owe you a hug if we should ever meet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, that would be wonderful, thank you! And he really was. I think he just didn’t have the heart to tell those old church basement ladies they couldn’t have lilies any more.
      It’s so strange–while I’ve watched Star Trek on and off these past five years, it’s Biff’s new passion for it that’s really turned the mourning screw. It’s affecting my mother, too, as now Biff’s constantly going into his office to look at all the Star Trek figurines, phasers, and ships. Sigh.
      Hope you had a good Easter. 🙂

      Like

  8. What a beautiful letter. Bitter-sweet, maybe, but memories like these, that link so thoroughly the past and the present are precious. Thank you for sharing them. Love the photos you do have.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So sorry you didn’t have time to make more memories. It is the saddest thing. When the time comes, you will be together again like all those who love and care for each other, because the love and care are all that matter in the end ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dearest Jean Lee, this such a beautiful tribute to your father and the memories that surround him. I smiled reading this, the love is so big! I hope you had a wonderful Easter. Please take good care. ~ Mia 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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