Sunday Morning

I’m sleeping. Sort of. I was tossing and turning all night. Stresses of the day added to a damn head cold.

DING. Cell phone message alert. I think about rolling over to check it. It takes me a minute.

Mom, could you come stay with Micah? He’s still sleeping and the rest of us are leaving to go get Rachel.

I think about saying something smart-ass about the fact that I was still sleeping. But it doesn’t really matter.

Yes. Be right there. I mess around a bit, making the bed, getting dressed until I hear their car rumbling awake.

I walk the 20 steps over to their place, say goodbye to the wide-awake-gang, grab some coffee and sit down for SNL – smiles and laughter, good. I read through the local paper: American Canyon (Inc. city in Napa County) researches becoming a sanctuary city. Great. I was actually wondering about Napa City/sanctuary sometime during my sleepless laying awake bothered and bewildered hours.

Micah’s up now. He’s 4, walking around looking for the family. He lays on the couch, plays with my phone a brief few minutes. He looks a little funky to me, more laid back than the real Micah. “When will they be home?” he asks. “When will Nana be here?”

“In a while, I’m not sure.”

“Wha what..’s…Daddy’s er, Daddy’s daddy’s name?” he asks, the words stumbling from his lips.

“You mean Lowell? Pop Pop? The guy in the picture there? With the beard?”

“Yeah… he …not coming today?”

“No honey. I’m sorry. He’s not, he died. He’s gone now.”

“No, he not!”

“I know it’s sad. He’s in our hearts now, where he’ll always be.”

“NO! HE! NOT!” He rolls away from me, looking up at the picture of his Pop Pop.

This is our first Thanksgiving without Lowell. We are so happy to have Rachel here with us this week. We all need all the love we can get. We miss him so very much.

Micah watches some TV, and asks for a bowl of cereal. “I want it mixed. Honey Nut Cheerios mixed with Honey Oat Crunch.”

Okay.

I go take a shower and go sit down with Micah again, checking my email and Facebook.

“When they be here?” he asks, his little fingers twirling my hair.

“In just a few minutes, they’re right around the corner.”

Mollie just texted me to say so.

Everyone arrives, excitement in the air. The two grandmas hug and check in with each other. She’s had a long day already, having left Arizona to arrive in Oakland at 8 a.m.

I love Sundays. Mollie brought me a donut.

 

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Happy Birthday, Lowell

 

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Dearest Lowell,

You’ve been on my mind a lot today. It’s cool and rainy in Napa, your son here is out back scrubbing the pool after a wet and dirty winter. I’m pretty sure I know where you are, resting in your recliner in you nice warm spot. I bet Rachel is right there with you.

Lowell -CCLowell, thank you for the amazing job you did with Rachel in raising up and teaching your boys to be the best human beings they could be. They are a testament to you. Loving, hard working fathers and husbands, always ready to lend a hand to honor, love, and support those in their grasp.

PopPop, you are the very best grandpa all our little grandchildren could ever hope for. Always ready to listen to their stories, find a treat, teach a new lesson in life or how to fix some thing or another, handing out a drum lesson, or taking them all, one at a time, on a motorcyle ride.

Thank you for being such a warm and strong beacon of light for Rachel. It wasn’t easy all the time, I’m sure. Falling head over heels as teenagers, growing into adults, and marrying the love of your life. Soon enough, picking up to move from your family farms halfway across the country to build a life in Arizona. 

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The Millers

I’ve heard you and Rachel laughing about the years you carried water jugs spilling over to your travel trailer while you slowly but surely built up a home of your own on your own patch of land. I always feel so comfortable in your warm, safe, and cozy home in the mountains of Show Low.

You have so many blessings. I know there were difficulties. And struggles.

I’ve heard about your many adventures. Motorcycle trips, motorcycle racing, drums beating in the porch room and with worship teams. Annual trips to the family farm where you pitched in with the yearly harvest. I also heard you were still sitting up in the driver’s seat this year.100_2628

I’m so very grateful for the long trips you made to California. So happy we all went to the ocean, over the hills and down onto Stinson Beach. Did you really mean it when you said you never wanted to ride on that road again? Come on.

It was pretty comical, I have to say, after all the years of you worrying about our earthquakes, that you would be here for the last big one that summer of 2014. I cracked up when you told me you woke up thinking that it was Rachel shaking the bed. Like she would get up and do that.

Thank you for being there to help Mollie and Matt build their first house. Thank you for the new roof you and Matt put on my house a year ago. Thank you and Rachel for all your help when we first moved into our little compound almost four years ago now.

100_8824Yes. This is how you roll. Always in service. Partnering with each of your sons, and their families, to assure them a step ahead in life with their own families.

I know that you know this latest trip around the sun may very well be your last trip around that particular fiery globe of ours. It makes me so sad.

I’ve watched you and Rachel give this last year the fight of your life. I know the cancer that invaded you early last year hasn’t given up either. I’m so grateful that Hospice is helping you and Rachel to assure your last days on this earth are as caring, supportive, and loving as your first few days of life when you popped in here decades ago, right behind me.

I’m so glad we’ve had this time with together, you and Rachel and myself, growing closer over the years. It’s a special blessing that your dear Rachel and I found each other. Having each grown in a house only with brothers, we each have a sister now in one another.

All in all, you and your Millers are one of the greatest blessings that has happened to my family, and to my life.2015-10-17 12.58.41

My heart is full of love, sad with grief, and happy with wonderful memories. I don’t want you to go. It’s one thing to know that each of us is going to leave this planet for another place one day in the future. It’s another to see it happen in front of us.

So, today, with the joys of your previous sixty plus birthdays brimming over onto Rachel, your boys, your sweet grandchildren, your extended family, church, friends, and your beloved dogs, love must be the frosting on your birthday cake of life.

I wish you could stay here for a hundred more birthdays. And. I know you’re looking forward to a new world of hope and light and never ending love in your next life.

So, Happy Birthday, Lowell. I love you and wish you a birthday of peace and love and happiness. I wish I was there to see the candles.

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