Every day I wonder what it’s like where you are now. If it’s all angels and clouds, with singing all around, like the movies tell us… if you’re sitting in a fishing boat somewhere chatting it up with Moses, drinking root beer, and eating an ice cream bucket full of chocolate chip cookies (yes, I DID see you sneak those growing up)… if you’re simply kneeling before God in complete and utter awe of Him, like they tell us in church. Who knows. I guess I won’t know until I get to that point, too, huh. Can you walk again? Can you see? Do you remember us back here, or would that be too painful? I’m not sure how all that works up there.
It’s incredible to think that just a couple of days ago marked 10 years that you’ve been gone. A lot has happened since you left, ya know. I turned 16 and started driving, and I even joined the soccer team at school. Yeah, me. Soccer. Crazy, huh? I made it to State twice for singing, and I even got to sing the National Anthem at a big basketball game. Wish you could have been there to hear it. I worked really hard in school, just like you always told me to do, and I got enough scholarships to help me get into a really good school in Indiana. I kept playing soccer for my first year there before having to drop it so I could do more volunteer work at church. You would have come to cheer me on, right? When I got to HU, I started out in Youth Ministry (yeah, I got the same bug you had… every time there was something to do, or a mission trip to go on, I was right there!), but eventually changed that to Missions, in my second year, after spending some time in West Africa. (Yeah, I went to Africa!) After going to another country on my own for a few months, again in West Africa, I decided God was calling me into missions just like you, Dad. And guess what? Now, I’m a full-blown missionary in Thailand. Can you believe it?
At Huntington, I met a guy I think you would like… His name is Brook. Well, it’s really Michael, but he goes by Brook. Confusing, I know. We got married a few weeks after graduation in 2006. Tim walked me down the aisle, and he held my hand on his arm the whole way. I know he knew it should have been you holding my arm that day, too… but, we got through it alright. Tim’s a great big brother. You know how we used to set traps for each other in the house and argue and all that when we were little? Well, there’s no more of that now. We really did grow up to love each other, just like you said we would! Haha. He’s married now, too. And he’s got 2 of the cutest kids in the world. I’m so glad you got to meet his wife, Marie, before you left… she’s become such a big part of our family, it’s hard to imagine it without her now. I only wish you would have had the chance to meet Brook, too. It’s hard for me knowing that he’s never met you. It’s hard to know that you’ll never know our children, that they’ll never really know you. Heck, I didn’t even really get to know you that well because of that terrible disease… if only I could go back and ask you more…
I wonder what it is that you think of me now. I wonder if you’d come to visit Brook & I now that we live in Thailand… if you’d enjoy seeing Southeast Asia, if you would throw buckets of water during Songkraan, if you would make mom eat the fried bugs in the open-air market. I wonder what would be the same and what would be different if you were either still around in the nursing home, or if you hadn’t even gotten so sick in the first place. I know I was young and didn’t fully understand it all, it was all I’d ever known. But, if I could go back and do it over again, I would ask you so many more questions, so many more things about who you were and what you were like when you were growing up, I would cherish the time we had in your room at the nursing home instead of wondering when I’d get to go back and do my homework for school. It makes me sad to know that I’ll never have that chance again, to know you as well as I could have. I’m sorry I wasted what we had… I didn’t realize how precious it was at the time.
I really miss you, Dad. There’s days when the ins and outs of living here make me wish I could just crawl up in my Daddy’s lap and cry. But you’re not here. Mom’s been there for me, though. You’d be really proud of her and who she has become. I know I can’t wish you back into the life of pain and the years of suffering you had to go through again, but if I could have you back for just one day…
Love you, Daddy.