September 5, 2014 by Renee Griffin
We had only started to find a rhythm when he drew his last breath.
The impact of this truth hits me hard in the chest. My birthfather and I had known each other for little over a year when the call came.
I was in the back yard and the sun was shining. Standing on the red brick patio surrounded by pink flowering crepe myrtles, the hubs brought the cordless phone to me. I reached out to take it knowing from the look in his eyes that something was wrong. The normally light handset felt heavy as I pulled it to my ear. The voice on the other end was one I hardly knew, having met her only once, and it took me a minute for her words to register.
She was sorry to have to give me the news over the phone, but he was gone.
My birthfather, the one I never counted on knowing, the one whose deep raspy voice called out to cavernous places in my soul, the one who sat on a bar stool with his guitar and sang “Eyes of A Stranger” to me for my birthday was with Jesus. The new chapter being written in my life took a wrong turn as the reality crashed over me.
The cracks in the grout between the patio bricks formed a gully of tears. How could this be? My mind reeled and raced with a flood of emotions. The rays of the brilliant sunlight that brought such warmth moments before now scorched and mocked my loss. I wanted to scream at the sky and make the world stop. No screams would come though as the sobs took over.
The pain in my head was working its way down to my tightening throat. The thrashing of my heart pounded against my ribs. I wanted to pound something. Shock and pain and anger took turns twisting me about.
And then I remembered his mother.
She was still in the nursing home. This news would devastate her. I was mourning losing a part of me that I had only known for a year. She had lost her only child of a lifetime. Her pain became my pain as I wept for her, too.
God, I don’t understand.
The highlight reel of scenes from our brief year together began looping in my mind.
“I just got him! How can You take him away so soon? We have so much more to say and do. I’m going to see him in just a few weeks! I have so many more questions I want to ask. There are stories to tell and celebrations to enjoy. I am not done, Lord!”
We were not done, but his life on this earth was finished.
I have never said that he left me. He didn’t. He wouldn’t have ever left me.
His time on Earth was done, but I know where he is now. The moment he took his last breath here, he entered in to his heavenly home. And I know that I will see him again. Because he gave his life to Jesus Christ, he is safely in His Arms in heaven. I bet he ran around hollering, I Can See!
The next day I traveled over to his home to help make his final arrangements. I cried most of the trip, but my tears turned to anger when I arrived. In the most difficult moments of life, people show who they really are. When you should be pulling together and hanging on to each other for support, some pull away and try to tear you apart.