We celebrated birthdays in my family and it has always been my favorite time together. My dad’s first birthday since he passed away was hard on me. I couldn’t concentrate on my job all day, so I did the mundane things that came easy and I kept my thoughts on dad while periodically wiping the tears that fell from my eyes. I decided it would be good for me to stop by the cemetery to see him after work, but it was February, and daylight did not last long after my 5pm “end of the day”.
I took a shorter lunch so I could leave at 4:30pm. This bought me a little daylight. I stopped to the store to buy him a red helium balloon. It had to be red, dad’s favorite color. I borrowed a black Sharpie marker from my desk so I could write a birthday message to him on the balloon.
As I rushed through the self-check out, I was scooping change in my purse while clinging to dad’s balloon and trying to put on my winter gloves and find my keys, I looked up and saw an old friend. It was obvious we hadn’t seen each other in a while; I didn’t know she was pregnant. She stopped me, and I could tell she wanted to catch up and tell me all about her pregnancy, but in my haste, I acted uncharacteristically awkward. I looked at her, and looked at the setting sun out the window, and said, “I gotta go.” And I turned on my heel and ran out the door with the balloon waving behind me. So awkward, but I had to see my dad, it was his birthday and my favorite time together with family.
The route I mapped out earlier got me to the cemetery with some daylight left. I sat at his gravesite and told him I love him and wished him a happy birthday. I told him the balloon was for him and I wrote a note on it. I said, “Here it comes, dad! Catch it!” The balloon left my hand and swirled with the wind up, up, and away. I followed it with my eyes until it became a tiny dot and disappeared. Gone up to heaven, for my dad.
Later that evening, I got on Facebook to look up my friend that I awkwardly ran into at the store. I wanted to connect with her and tell her why I acted so strangely. I was sure she would understand as she had loved ones die and knew what it felt like to mourn. As I searched my friends list, she was not there. She took my awkward actions more personally than I ever imagined and she de-friended me from her Facebook account. Just like that, she was gone.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.