Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He is Here

I lost my first copy of this story and had to re-write (and record it) at like 3 in the morning, so its due for some major rewrites . . . but my niece, Kayla, danced to it on Sunday for my dad's memorial - so I think it was pretty perfect. Thanks, everyone, who came out - it was a fitting service for a pretty awesome dude!

"He is Here"

When they reached the point they could no longer follow, and Papa courageously and graciously went on on his own, Nanny and the rest of the family watched him go, their tears and each other being the only things to sustain them. When they could no longer see him on the horizon, they just stood there, staring blankly, not quite sure what to do. When they looked around and saw each other, they realized how tightly they were gripping onto each other’s hands. Then they realized they didn’t know where to go. They were lost. Without papa there, they weren’t sure where the marsh was, how far their trip would be, or even if it was worth going back. They wanted to run as fast as they could to get back, where they felt warm, where they felt loved, where they felt whole. But buckets of tears are heavy, and a dark path is hard to navigate.

They wandered in the dark wood and thought they’d never find the way home. Little lights started to twinkle in the night - the little ones thought maybe they were stars coming down from the sky - but slowly the twinkle started to grow into a warm glow, and they realized that the light came from the eyes of their many forest friends. With their help, the dark path was brightened enough to know which direction to choose.

Then there were times when they just couldn’t go on, when they missed Papa so much it hurt. These days they didn’t get very far - and sometimes they’d lose their way again. But they knew that Papa wanted them to get back to the good times, back to the jokes, and the stories and the games and the songs - so they pushed on. And Nanny led them with a brave smile on her face and the little ones reminded everyone that laughter really is the best medicine.

One day, a particularly hot day, the pricks from the branches and the muddy patches in the road and the wrong turns and the crying babies just got to be too much for Nanny to bear. She sat down on a big rock, closed her eyes, and turned her face to the sky. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her arms fell by her side while the sobs took over her body. She raised her head to the sky in exasperation and her mouth opened as she prepared to yell out, “Why?”, when she heard the leaves rustle under her feet. As her tear-soaked eyes opened, she thought she awakened from a dream . . . she knew where she was - she knew how to get home! And as if the wind was pushing them all, the whole family ran as fast as they could to follow her there.

As they turned the final corner on their long voyage home, the littlest one cried out, “Papa, Papa!” Nanny was instantly sad as she turned to tell the little mouse that papa would not be there. But as she came to the tree limb that he prepared for her those many years ago, and as she smelled him in the leaves that lined their happy little marsh, as she heard the kids’ laughter as they told stories they heard first from their dad, and looked up to the sky to see the birds flying in the formations he created, and felt the cool breeze that always brought a smile to her face. . . she realized he was there. And there he will always be.

Part 1: The Popopotomous

Part 2: Forever

Maybe one day, I'll revisit these and fix inconsistencies and work on a story book . . . my dad, the ultimate storyteller, would expect nothing less. Right now, I'll just continue to fight through all the crap that comes with losing your dad - and watching your mom hurt - and holding your kids as they cry.

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I'm taking in all the happenings in Kansas City and saving you all the trouble . . . I'll let you know whether to soak it up or squeeze it out!!