Monday, October 31, 2011

Abiding with Johnny Mac's Memory

Yesterday made 4 years since my dad died. Right after he died, I just started singing "Abide with Me" in Spanish ("Acompáñame") right there in the hospital room because I find that the lyrics resonate with me more in Spanish, because I love the hymn, it fits in my narrow vocal range, and I felt like it would help me deal with my very really grief in the moment.

That hymn now serves as a permanent reminder of that moment and of the loss of my father.

Yesterday, the closing hymn in Sacrament meeting was "Abide with Me." I started crying in the back as I quietly sang it to myself in Spanish. I didn't sob or lose it, but the tears were there. I thought that that was going to be all that would happen yesterday. I felt fine. I came home, sat down at the computer and posted an abbreviated version of what I just shared on my facebook wall. I clicked send, and then started looking at my news feed to see what other people were doing.

My mom posted this photo of my father holding my Marley X at the Cafe du Monde in NOLA. The look on my dad's face and on my baby's face are ones of love and wonder:

And, I lost it. I mean, sobbing, chest-heaving, feeling-like-he-just-died-again-and-I-was-back-in-that-damned-hospital-room crying. My wife came down wondering what was going on and saw the photo and just started gently rubbing my back. Marley came down and just wordlessly hugged me. My little Calliope patted my knee and said "he's sad because he misses his daddy." And my boy, my Jack, the kid who looks at me the way I remember looking at my father, whose Primary education is apparently taking hold in his brain, bluntly but oh-so-lovingly told me in his always-too-loud voice that "DON'T WORRY, PAPI. YOU'LL SEE YOUR DAD AGAIN WHEN YOU'RE DEAD. IT'LL BE OKAY."

When most people talk about the Resurrection after someone dies, I find it annoying. When my son screams it at me, I found it touchingly reassuring. That's my hope and faith.