Is Your Daddy Coming
Victoria is three and does everything better if she is clear about what
comes next. On the days we spend together we rehearse our schedule
over and over. We walk to the car in front of her house. She insists that
her father come out and wave good bye. Her mother has already left for
“What do you want to do today Victoria?”
“Let’s go to the park and throw the ball for Ollie.” Ollie is our German Shorthair Pointer who will chase a tennis ball until Victoria and I find our arms sagging…too tired to throw any more.
“Ok. Our day will go like this, we will stop by the house and pick up Ollie. Then we will go to the park. After the park we will return Ollie then go get some food. Where do you want to eat?”
This is a rhetorical question. The answer is always the same.
“I want a cheese sandwich at Philly’s Finest. And a cookie. Then we can go to Bookman’s and look at the books.”
“Ok, after that we will go home and take a nap.” If the nap becomes a part of the narrative then when the time comes she doesn’t resist. We must follow the rules. Once the daily schedule has been established Victoria allows for little variance.
Sometimes we talk a bit farther into the future.
“Next week my mom and sister are coming to visit. Do you remember them?”
She remembers them from pictures and stories but is unsure about who is who.
“Will Brendan come with them?” Brendan is from another family of friends and she is confused, but excited.
“Grandpa, where is your Daddy? Will he come too?”
“No honey. My Dad can’t come. My Dad died a few years ago, before you were born.”
“Oh. So he can’t come. Where is he?”
“He has gone to live with God.”
“Is God here?”
I think of a passage of scripture I read the day before at a funeral for a friend.
“See, the home of God is among people.
He will dwell with them as their God;
And they will be his peoples,
And God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
“God is here, with us, now. When we die, our bodies die and we are with God in a different way.”
“Are you sad Grandpa?”
“Yes, but glad too. I believe we will all be together again some day. Then you can meet my Dad.
Victoria and my mother are excited about spending a few days together. In Victoria’s three years they have been together four times. She doesn’t dwell on the past, or death, or the future. Her life is lived in the moment. She did ask Ann where her parents were. Ann said they had died and were with God. “Like Grandpa’s Daddy,” she asked?
Victoria doesn’t require long complex explanations. She accepts what I tell her. As I move toward the other end of life I don’t require much explanation either. And when explanations are offered I rarely find them satisfying. I am learning, again I suppose, to accept. We move from this life, across a great divide, to the other side of life. Could it be that God, who wipes every tear from our eyes, who declares that death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away, will reach out with a hand to offer assistance as we cross over?
Victoria wants to know when they are coming, how long they will stay, will we go to Philly’s Finest while they are here, who will come with them, where they will sleep, will they want her blanket, can she show them her giant bunny? Answers concerning the immediate future are important to her, they are also enough.
They are becoming enough for me…again.