It was on this day, last year, that my dad took his last breath on earth and his first one in heaven.

He hadn’t been doing well, but none of us expected him to deteriorate so fast. Certainly, none of us, including his oncologist, expected him to be gone less than a week after his last trip to Columbus.

He went into the hospital in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and by Sunday he had slipped into a deep sleep all on his own.  We sat around him that day, periodically going over to check on him, to tell him we loved him, to keep vigil, to chuckle just a little at the half snore.

The next time my dad opened his eyes was to see the face of Jesus.

I’m not sure what it is about the year anniversary of a loved one’s death. They are no more gone that day than any other, but suddenly, you find yourself back there where you were a year ago, walking a familiar path of loss all over again.

There is a sort of shock and numbness that cushions you when a loved one dies, but certain things remain clear memories.

I can close my eyes and see and feel the dim hush of that hospital room. I can still feel the wispiness of my dad’s hair and the clamminess of his skin.

I remember my mom’s call that time was short, and the horrible disbelief that even though I had hit every single green light, I had still missed his moment of passing by only a few minutes.

When I entered that room, I knew immediately and unequivocally that my dad was gone, that his body was just an empty shell. The spirit that had animated it was gone.

I remember the befuddled busyness of going over funeral details. I can still feel the dread in my belly of having to smile and nod and hug all the people, but at the same time taking comfort that so many people loved him and cared.

I remember how desperately I wanted to get across who my dad was and what his life meant in the eulogy I was giving, and how inadequate I felt as words seemed just out of my grasp.

I remember Brody leaning on the podium singing.

I remember Brock – my most stoic of children – breaking down when sharing about his grandpa.

I remember my mom, the first time we came into the funeral home, how she had to brace herself before going to the casket.

I remember the day after the funeral. I spent the night with my mom. The next morning we went to Panera where we picked at a bagel and drank coffee, not sure what to do.

How do you do life without the person who has always been there?

Just recently, I wrote in my prayer journal and asked God how you can both miss someone deeply and yet not wish them back here.

The truth is, it was my dad’s time to go. If he had stayed longer, he would have suffered and none of us wanted that.

At the same time, life continues to roll on, and I miss him experiencing it all. My younger son filmed a short movie this summer. The premier is in a few weeks (just a screening at our local church – nothing huge), and I can envision my dad telling everyone about it, proud of his grandson. “My grandson, the filmmaker.”

But he’s not here.

Life will move on and all the important milestones will happen and he won’t be here. And some days, that’s just hard.

And yet, our lives have also moved on. Our days and weeks have slowly rearranged themselves into a new normal, one that doesn’t include my dad in its daily fabric.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. But I know while we have been grieving and fumbling around trying to figure out life without him, he’s had the best year ever.

Appropriately, someone sang No More Night at church this week. It’s why I can be sad and glad all at the same time.

No More Night by David Phelps from the album Heaven

The timeless theme, Earth and Heaven will pass away
It’s not a dream, God will make all things new that day
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell
Evil is banished to eternal hell

No more night, no more pain
No more tears, never crying again
And praises to the great, “I AM”
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing
The only sound is the praises to Christ, our King
Slowly the names from the book are read
I know the King, so there? s no need to dread

No more night, no more pain
No more tears, never crying again
And praises to the great, “I AM”
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb

See over there, there? s a mansion
Oh, that’s prepared just for me
Where I will live with my Savior eternally

No more night, no more pain
No more tears, never crying again
And praises to the great, “I AM”
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb

All praises to the great, “I AM”
We’re gonna live in the light of the risen Lamb

Blessings, Rosanne

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