There’s a lot to be said about the music we keep in our hearts.
There’s a reason we love the music we love.
It speaks to us on an intimate level, no matter cadence or rhythm or volume.
Jeff kept quite a few in his. Many of enthusiasm.
Funeral planning, I chose hymns he’d always comment on. “Oh, good!” Jeff’d exclaim when the church bulletin listed one of his favorites. He’d sometimes sigh, “Oh.” Thoughtfully noting hymns of importance. Those his mother Sally and grandmother Nannee loved.
“Oh, How I Love Jesus”
There is a name I love to hear
I love to sing its worth
It sounds like music in my ear
The sweetest name on earth
“Jesus Loves Me”
Jesus loves me!
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
I don’t think I chose this one. I’ve sung it before, and the pretty melody randomly pops-in to remind me from time to time.
“Hymn of Promise”
There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
I talk to time about my love; my greatest listener.
When music talks to me, I listen for the beats and counts; steady rhythms to regulate my heart, with words that understand.
Next warp: standing in the sanctuary entry/aisle. I was either second or third in receiving and I have no idea who was first or second or fourth or even how many of us there were. I can’t conjure that tidbit from the obviously buried perhaps happily oblivious depths of my brain.
I tunnel-vision greeted.
: family and friends, and friends of the family and the families of our friends, friends of friends, my current coworkers, Jeff’s ex-workers, store patrons, other mall store owners, BNI networkers, business associates, website builders, marketing coaches, church family, neighbors and I’m sure I’m leaving out some major category.
I’d requested no flowers, due to allergies. More truthfully, I think I mandated it at the second planning. God, everyone was so accommodating. Maybe everybody else really wanted flowers. I could have taken a Benadryl. I was already fuzzy, fuzzed on caffeine, and sugar-buzzed, because I drank the rest of Jeff’s semi-flat liter of Mt Dew. One more zone wouldn’t have mattered.
One person, an ex-coworker of Jeff’s, didn’t get that restrictive email. That accounted for the wreath, and truly, it would have been horrible without it. He tried to apologize for it. I told him it was beautiful and needed – a lovely medley of warm fall colors.
(I just smiled to myself remembering the end of our 48- hour first date when Jeff asked me what kind of flowers I liked. I explained the situation. The next time he came around, he brought carnations, and a squash in case the carnations were wrong. The time after that, he brought daisies.)
No idea how long we stood there nodding and hugging and shaking. It didn’t feel that long to me. There are only a few crystal-clear encounters in my replay-loop. But, there was still a waiting-line out the front door when Pastor Dave suggested we take our seats so we could get started.
The first thing I remember about October 6, 2006 was entering church and seeing one, lone, beautiful flower wreath.
I’m not sure how Jeff’s October 6, 2001 wedding portrait got there. I assume I brought it, since it had been hanging in our home.
In that little space of wall next to the front door, I saw his love every time I left the house for work. Mine was there, too. Jeff saw it every time he left the house for the store.
The placement? Prophetically, romantically poetic now. I left Jeff’s photo on the wall until I moved out of our house, 4 years later. But, I took mine down right away. I wasn’t that person, anymore. I still had the name, but I wasn’t a wife.
After we were married, my father inquired, when I was going to change my email address for work? I tried way before he ever asked. Corporately, it wasn’t allowed. To this day, my maiden name remains in the root. But, I’m not that person anymore, either.
Although, it’s painful to admit, I’ve (more recently than not) typed or scrawled my signature on more than a few communications with my prior surname. Last week, I scribbled a return address on an envelope that way, too.
Why? Dammed if I know.
Maybe I should carefully consider this. Maybe it means something.
I’ve been undefined for years; unacknowledged and unreasonably delayed. So, I suppose, it’s time to declare:
The frown was a reflection of this disappointing thought:
Why did I think of my father instead of Jeff?
Why do I always feel spirit-driven advice is messaged from my father?
Why do I never hear from Jeff?
Why do I never dream of Jeff? Well, not never. Maybe twice in 14 years.
And here’s what wisped from through my canyoned heart straight into my creviced mind: Because you wouldn’t listen, anyway. (ouch.)
Because I won’t listen?
Because I don’t listen, on purpose?
I know I haven’t listened to those pre-death platitudes he liked to offer. The ones I dismissed as stupid answers to my standard bitching response to his multitudes of stupid anti-helping-his-situation behaviors.
Like not getting up every hour to help his circulation. Like chewing tobacco. Like drinking liters of Mt Dew. Like not watching his diet, his salt intake.
Like dismissing the real message in my accusation, “You must not love me very much if you don’t want to stick around.”
At first it would always be, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Then, it became annexed with, “but, everybody’s gotta to die sometime.”
Oh, the ire that inspired. “You don’t have to help it along!” I’d argue. “Why don’t you care that you’re going to leave me alone and miserable.?”
“Aw,” he’d push away my fears with air-palms. “We’re not Canadian geese, ya know. You’re not gonna be lonely.”
To which, I’d either tearfully reply, “I am.”
Or angrily assert, “I’m a #&0#@$# swan!”
“You’ll meet someone,” he’d confidently continue. Later, turning to, “You’ll meet someone better than me.” Which is actually quite hurtful, now. Either my tough-love attempts were interpreted as complaints of worthlessness or he was being his own worse enemy by putting himself down.
I haven’t once listened to the still living well-speakers offering echoes of the positives above for years. You know: Jeff would want, Jeff would be, Jeff wouldn’t be, and even once a more direct approach of, Jeff thinks it’s time to ….
I’m not entirely un-voluntarily stuck. I still don’t want to hear Jeff’s hopes that I’ll move on and be happy. What I want to hear is, “You’re just having a bad dream. None of this is true or real.”
Maybe he’d tried at first. I wouldn’t know. Lack of listening, again. Maybe he skipped right over that. Maybe he was wise enough to send my dad to get my attention.
That’s what I’d like to think. Otherwise, it would merely be uncoupled concurrence. Reading “A Box of Butterflies,” contemplating signs of spiritual arrival and a well-timed burnt-orange butterfly.
Except, I don’t subscribe coincidences. I believe in fate and His Holy Plan conveyed concisely within Jeremiah. 29:11.
The chaining, a reactionary result of missing documents.
So, no. I absolutely did not find what I was looking for.
But, I reluctantly confess; I might have found something more important.