Tuesday, November 5, 2013

No One Should Have To Go Alone

The last thing I saw you do was sink into the earth.

The preacher raised his black shoe and pressed it squarely over that bump in the plastic green carpet, and your body – locked up, so strangely – eased its way down into the precise rectangle you'd been allotted.

I don't know how I knew there was a pedal underneath the fake grass, or that it was the catalyst for sending your body away, but I knew. And when I think of that awful shoe pressing that awful pedal, I am filled with rebellion and suddenly I am four years old, fighting to throw myself on top of your casket, wanting to go with you because no one should have to go alone.

I think I've been wanting to go with you ever since.

Because no one should have to go alone.

Life is full of things I don't understand and since you died, the oldest part of me has only been alone.

It was inevitable, our goodbye. Your leaving was just a matter of time. You hadn't recognized your life in a long time, but I couldn't recognize mine without you.

I remember this one time. All the adults were gone, you were home with us kids. And my big sisters were wide-eyed because you had been carrying kibble out for the dog – and you ate some. I defended you, saying maybe it was good, who knew? Maybe you liked it – and if someone had lived as long and as kindly a life as you, then why shouldn't you eat dog food if you felt like it? It didn't seem to do any harm – to you, or the dog.

There was one of the thousand times we went for a walk. We got lost. I knew it wasn't quite right, that you shouldn't know your way home, and we shouldn't have turned into that street. There was a wilderness in your eyes, and I could see that you knew it wasn't quite right, that I should know my way home.

There was the book I loved. Long and wordy. And you read it to me seven times in a row, and even I tired of asking, “Again?” And I realized that you were different from everybody else but it was a difference that was okay.

You wore a grey cardigan. I suppose I must have spent a lot of time with my head upon your shoulder because I see it up close in my mind's eye. Feel the scratchy softness of it on my cheek.

Sometimes I turn to show you something and the world tilts a little bit, because you aren't there. A yellow flower on the side of the road, the spring's first pussywillows, that perfect mud for squelching between your toes.

Where are you?

I mean, I know where you are. I know you're in Heaven, and life is glad and good and you're home – finally, home. I guess when I ask where you are what I really mean is I miss you here with me.


  1. Oh Janelle! I thank God for the blessing of words and for the gift He has given you in using them. What a loving and precious picture you have painted with your words! I love you and the memories you give me.

  2. Thanks, Janelle! I love that you have such great memories of my Daddy and your Grampy! Don't ever stop remembering. Heaven will be a wonderful reunion!