I asked, kind of confused, "What are you doing at Mom and Dad's?"
He said, "Well, you need to come over. There's been an event with your dad."
"Is he dead?" I asked.
On my wedding day, August 1, 1987, my dad came into the bride's room right before the service to see me. He told me that there were two days when your life changes just like that - and he snapped his fingers. (I was so happy the photographer caught that moment.)
Lou and I were working in the yard, and decided another hedge trimmer would be helpful. I called my parents to see if they had one we could use. (Living so close, we were in and out of each other's lives daily.) Yes, they did. I drove the 1.6 miles to their house to get it. I was on a mission. Needed to get the trimmer and get home. Dad was sitting in a chair on their lanai watching something on TV.
I asked, "Hey, where are those hedge trimmers?"
He told me where they were in the garage and then ended with, "You are gonna love them. They work great."
I said thanks and good-bye, and then I was gone. A couple of hours later, Dad drove to his garden, worked for a while, then drove home. He opened the garage door and pulled into the driveway. My mom, sitting in her chair, heard a horrible noise. She hurried to the garage and found the car crashed into the chest freezer against the back wall, spinning its wheels. Dad was dead behind the wheel.
I had a great relationship with my dad and have no major regrets. So thankful for that. But there is one thing I wish I'd done differently on that sunny Saturday. I wish I'd really looked at him. I know I saw him. And I talked to him. But I was on such a mission that day. Had to get those trimmers and get back - that I didn't really look at him.
After that day - because of that day, I've been making a conscious effort to really look at people. I mean, how busy do I think I am that I can't fully engage with someone and really look at them? My family, my friends, even the checker at the grocery store - all of these are people, created in the image of God, that He has brought into my life. I don't want to look past them. They are a gift from God right then, right there. Don't want to miss that.
My father taught me many good things while he was alive. (I might have to share some of those in future posts.) And I think it would please him to know that he taught me a very valuable lesson in his death.
|Papa Hugh and Mary Grace|