As a little girl, I dreamed of my wedding day. What would my dress look like? What would my husband look like? Where would I get married? Who would be in my wedding?
Little did I know that my future would become so much more than I could ever dream of. When I was telling my Dad about my husband (when we were still just dating) I told him, “Dad, you could not have hand-picked a better man for me”. It wasn’t too many years later that he agreed. My Dad gave me away in marriage to Rich Reed with pleasure. He loves my husband.
Before I ran walked down the aisle to marry my sexy husband, I was struck by the greatest influence in his life. I wrote a letter on that first Father’s Day that I got to spend with Rich’s dad, Dick Reed. I told Dick how honored I was to be involved with his son. I told him what an amazing person he, himself, was to me, and how I have benefited from the way he raised his son; my future husband.
Recently, he got to spend my Jaxon’s first birthday with us. It was just a family gathering in honor of the littlest Reed; his second grandson. Shortly after that, he celebrated his 38th wedding anniversary and his first grandchild’s thirteenth birthday — on the same day. Sunday, February 14th was Valentine’s Day and he came over to babysit my three children so Rich and I could go out to dinner to relax with some friends. The week prior to that he spent several evenings dating my Mother-in-Law. They went to a movie and several dinners. They laughed and talked and shared their mutual joy of their five precious grandchildren. Last Wednesday he was able to spend the day with his oldest granddaughters since their busy schedule was free enough to fit in some quality “Poppy” time that afternoon. That night he went to work just like he always did — the night shift.
Early Thursday morning, February 18 “Poppy” went to be with the Lord. He was almost at the end of his shift when he had a heart attack. It was not the first. But, it was the last.
As my husband rushed out the door to the hospital, not knowing his Daddy-O (as he frequently called him) had already succumb to stillness, I prayed begged God to give Dick more time. “Please, Lord, Jaxon won’t remember him if you take him now. Please give us more time. Please. Ten more years. Just ten is all I’m asking. Ok, five. Five and Jaxon will be 6 and then he will remember his Poppy better. Oh please oh please, God.”
I e-mailed the church. I urgently asked for prayer on Facebook. I paced. I did laundry. I helped get the kids ready for the day. I cleaned up the kitchen. I was “busy”. Two hours later, my phone rang and I bolted across the house to answer it. My caller ID announced it was Rich. Almost out of breath, I answered as quickly as I could.
“Hello Rich. How is he?”
“Hi honey. Dad went to be with Jesus.”
“What? No. No, Rich…”
I don’t remember the rest of our conversation.
We told the kids around 4:00 Friday afternoon. We waited so Brianna would have time to finish out her school week. Later that night I heard noises come from my sobbing 5 year old daughter that I never want to hear again. Agony. Her soul was broken. Next in line to me and her Daddy, Poppy was her greatest joy. She has seen him weekly since she was merely 7 months old. Her whole life.
I did not choose this reality. It took me a couple of days to decide to accept it. I know that might sound silly, but it is true. I had moments, for the first 24 hours especially, where I refused to believe it — as if my sheer determination to reject reality would bring him back somehow. At the funeral home, I wanted to yell at him to wake up. His lifeless body was impossible.
But it was real.
It is real.
I love Dick Reed. I love who he was for me. I love who he was for my family, especially my children. I love the son he gave me as my husband. I love his genes that carry to my children. They have always looked like Reeds. I hope they always will.
Goodbye Dick. I can promise you that we will do our best to make you proud. You are our rock and our family’s hero. Your faith has passed on to us precious gifts we could never return. Precious gifts that we can hand down. Treasures for all eternity. Your love enveloped us all.
I will miss so many things about you… your prayers at family gatherings, your laugh, your joy over my kids, your jokes, your love of Ohio State University and crisp cold Ohio air, your hand on my shoulder, your hugs, your advice, your humbleness, your love. Those stinky red crocks. I’ll even miss those. Rich took your golf clubs. I’m sure over the next several days/weeks/months/years we will sift through what you’ve left behind and gather them to ourselves or give them away. I want your Bible, but I can’t bring myself to ask Brenda for it. Maybe someday, when it’s her turn to join you, I’ll get both of your Bibles. However, I hope that day is far into the future.
No, Dick, I did not choose this reality. But, God did. And, I trust in Him.
Hug my baby and my grandma and my grandpa. Tell everyone I said “hi”.
I’ll see you there when it is my turn.
I love you.
I miss you.
We all do.