August 2019, Sandbridge Beach Virginia
When my dad passed away three years ago, I never imagined I would still be overcome with bouts of sadness at random times. True, solid, intense grief takes hold and I am in a puddle of tears, and raw emotion is back on the table. I know this is a tribute to the love I have for him, and grief is the price we pay for having loved, but it really surprises me sometimes.
I am on vacation with Brian and our girls – I watch Caroline and Riley with their extreme devotion to their dad, and I am in awe. The ease and simplicity between them is awesome. They fight to sit next to him at dinner, they laugh and bicker, they share in jokes that I just don’t get, they can’t get enough of their dad. I get it. I miss it. I would give anything to have five more minutes in my pops company.
Like my pop, I am an early riser. Even on vacation, I am up at the crack of dawn. It is the best part of my day, and even better if Brian is up to share it with me. He knows there needs to be limited conversation, and plenty of coffee, but not much else. In Virginia, at “our happy place”, for a few weeks every summer, the early morning hours are a SACRED time in my world. Having my “starter coffee” while watching the sun rise is my time. There is something so magical in the stages of a sun rise over an ocean – it is different every day, and more beautiful each time. The shadows on the water, the pelicans and seagulls swooping in and out, and lately, dozens of dolphins have joined this dance of nature. It is an indescribable feeling of awe, and an affirmation of a higher power. There can be no doubt in ones mind, when caught in this moment that there is a heaven.
This morning in particular, it caught me by surprise. I could imagine sharing this with my Pop, and I swear I saw him sitting across from me in the gazebo. In the wicker chair, legs crossed, white sneakers and socks, his USMC hat on, holding a book, a pen, a highlighter. He would have been at the bakery already, first in line, before they even unlocked the doors. The rolls would have been warm, the butter salted and at room temperature, the coffee freshly brewed. A perfect moment, even in my imagination.
This coming Saturday he would have turned 89. My mom will be arriving at the beach house, and my sister and her family – that is celebration enough for me. The ability to share this time with some of the Reilly’s, and possibly experience this same type of awe and amazement with them. Brian makes this happen – he knows how crucial it is to my ‘being’, and I am so grateful.
So yes, these moments overwhelm me and surprise me at times, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s my pop shining through just when I need him the most.
With love and gratitude, KB