Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 74. Yesterday, Kiddo1 and I helped serve at a funeral for one of our church members. My dad's best friend served as a pallbearer. It's been over a year and it's still hard for me to look at Steve without crying.
His voice and laugh and mannerisms are so closely intertwined with my dad that the ache is raw. My entire life, he and his family were such an integral part . We considered them family. (I've written about them before HERE.)
When we buried dad, it was the middle of harvest for Steve. My mom told him to go back to the field after the funeral. That he didn't have to come to the cemetery, which was the complete opposite direction from their farm. But when we got there, Steve was there. Mom asked him why he didn't go to the field. She knew how busy he was. He replied with his voice breaking, "I had to take Bill home."
I still can't think of that moment without crying. I heard Steve's voice from the fellowship room today as I washed funeral dishes in the kitchen. I cried into my dishwater. Do you know how many hours I've listened to my dad and Steve talk on the phone? Or over canasta decks? I can't even count them.
And now I sit in my dad's house. Where he lived for 69 years. We have his phone number. His tractor. His land. Sheep and goats are back on his farm. He would love that. He would shake his head at our pig, but he'd also smile because I convinced him once before to let me have a pig.
He would pull the kids into his big chair and tickle their toes. He would take them fishing. He would build wooden things with them. He would listen to their stories and tell his own. He would laugh with them. He would sneak them another cookie.
It is in those moments that I miss him the most. The moments I know he would have loved. Those moments of love that we are missing out on.
But I still have my "family". Avis made Christmas presents for all three of my kids. She lets them sit with her in church and holds them on her lap. We spent an evening at their home over Thanksgiving, laughing and sharing just like the old days.
And just like the old days, I have Steve's voice to remind me that friends are more than a profile on facebook. Friends are the ones that take you home.