Thursday, January 22, 2009

The story of the Deer

When my father passed, he was the first person really close to me to have died. As much as we were sad we mainly were so relieved, because his existence here had turned into a nightmare by that point.

This post isn't really about his life (which was an amazing one), or his death really. But it is the story of what happens after.


After the funeral, the whirlwind of family, the shock, the tears, the wish I would of could of should of.

This is the beautiful story of the day we came together to spread his ashes.

Now his wish was to have them spread at his old fishing spot, by his old fishing buddy. He hadn't been able to go in years due to his advanced Multiple Sclerosis, but his friend had taken these pictures that he had hung in his room.
Jake was 6 weeks old when my dad passed, so he was probably barely 2 months old when we did this. It was late fall and this ol' fishing spot was not an easy spot to get too. We all met up, Mike and I with Tatum and Jake....Tim and his wife with their two dads brother...and my dad's old fishing friend and his wife. We started our trek out into the woods, all bundled up, and realized the hike we were in for. As each fallen tree trunk barred our passage we would work together to hand the baby over to each other, and help with the little ones, carrying them on our backs.
I was 22 at the time, and my faith was definitely not what it is today. I had watched my dad suffer for years and years, and the novelty of him being gone from that retched body and on to something else had now had me shaken into almost a panic. I wanted reassurance that he was safe now. I wanted more of a sign. We had had signs already. But me in my immature faith doubted and wanted more. I wanted another sign. More signs. A big sign!
My mother in her calm, and ever reassuring way, was having this talk with me yet again, as we trudged through the woods. "What was it going to take Becky?"
"Fine..." I said, scraping for anything, "If I see a deer right now, I'll have to know he is okay."
I know~ keep listening. A deer in the woods, not too unlikely. But within a few minutes one DID appear. He came down from the other side of the creek. Now we were a big bunch of 12 people. He saw us and continued to walk towards us, not spooked. He stood in front of us. He looked right at us. And just stood.
It was a male. He had big antlers. You know it is much more common to see the female, but more rare to see the male.
After awhile he slowly turned around, and then walked away. He did not run.
The 12 of us just stared and watched him walk back up the hill to who knows where. Mom said "well there's your sign, Becky".
Whether or not that was a sign, I felt my dad there that day. I held those ashes that once were a precious life, and knew that he was still around, whether or not it was here on earth.