I know it’s the day before Father’s Day. But I’d rather not leave how I might feel about posting on Father’s Day to the actual day…
My father died October 2, 2012. Yes…it’s been 8 months but loss is not easy. So I choose to honor the day, not let my feelings lead the way.
Two things come to mind when I think about my father, J.M. Rutledge:
I remember when I was about 8, I had some fish in a tank. One of them jumped out the tank overnight. I found out it died when I stepped on something hard, looked down and realized I’d stepped on my dead fish! I don’t remember who I told first – Mom or Dad. But I remember Dad talking to me about how every living thing dies at some point. I was so sad I couldn’t even look at him while he talked. My face may as well have been were my eyes were focused – on the floor. I remember sitting on his leg as he knelt – with this solemn look on his face – holding me up, talking about life and death. Then he led the mini-funeral we had when we flushed the fish down the toilet. My mother told me recently that he was struggling to keep a straight face. But he did it for my sake.
The other thing I remember is when talked to him over the phone while he was in hospice. He was near the end. I was stuck in Kenya trying to get back to Djibouti. I was able to call home, talk to Mom about what happened, and it came to mind to talk to him over the phone. I didn’t know if he’d hear me, but I said what I needed to say to him. My mother told me that while I talked to him, his eyes fluttered behind his eyelids and that he “responded” in another way too. He heard me, just like he did that day my heart sank when I found my fish on the floor.
Sad to say, I lost another “Dad” shortly after I got back from my father’s funeral. Roosevelt “Pop” Taylor, a retired Navy Chief – who took me in at my first duty station and treated me like a daughter. I’m glad I obeyed the Spirit’s calling to visit him the summer before he died. Tomorrow wasn’t promised. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about how he and his wife treated me. I have a hard time thinking about it because even though you know death is a part of life, it’s still hard to let go of people who love you. But I’m grateful they did.
So this is hard. But writing this is good for my soul and allows me to honor my fathers for Father’s Day this year. Don’t forget to tell your father how much you appreciate him.