We celebrated your birthday today.
It wasn’t the party we might have previously envisioned, and the circumstances were nothing we would have desired.
We weren’t at a restaurant of your choice. We weren’t shaking our heads as you pretended to scan the menu as if you’d actually try something different for a change.
We weren’t having a family game night, talking trash to one another as the cards fell across the table. We weren’t
teasing lovingly commending your persistence even though you have a knack for coming in last place.
We weren’t even at your house because you’re not there. You’re not there and I know that’s the birthday wish that supersedes them all.
But you are here with us, which is a blessing in itself.
You’re here after that alarming text I received on the afternoon of April 4th.
The text from mom that made my mouth drop wide open as my heart simultaneously plunged into the deepest pit of my stomach.
The text that made everything around me fade to black:
At the hospital. Think Dad has had a stroke…
I began to pray immediately.
I prayed without ceasing for you to be ok, even though it was difficult to comprehend that this was actually happening.
My mind was racing and the fear I felt was real.
Everything was happening so fast, and in a blur I got the girls’ situated and went to see you. I walked in just as mom was being told you’d have a second surgery to attempt to remove the blood clots on your brain.
There were tears and questions. Oh those questions!
They were the ones no one should ever have to be asked regarding the person they love.
And there was another family in there too. I remember hearing the woman wailing behind the curtain that was pulled next to us. They prayed aloud as she cried out to God. She was asking that her daughter’s life be spared, and as I looked at you my heart groaned as I asked the Lord the same thing.
You know I’ve already lost the daddy I was born to. He has gained by being in the glory of heaven, but knowing this didn’t make me any more ready to let you go as well.
I wasn’t ready and you had to hold on. You had to fight. You had to be around to stand in the gap just as you’ve always done before.
You had to stay and continue to love my mom in a way that has made her more alive than ever before.
You had to stay and be the World’s Best Pop-Pop to my girls who adore you, and stick around to watch them grow.
You had to stay for your kids. For me, Taylor, Kevin and Chris. Biologically related to us all or not, you are our father and you have changed our lives.
What makes us a family would never be the same without you in it, and I’m thankful, so thankful that we don’t have to make that difficult adjustment yet.
Yes, there will be challenges. An unknown, and potentially long road ahead. But dad, you are here!!
I’m so thankful that I’m visiting you at rehab everyday and not planning your memorial service.
I’m so thankful that we are facing a set of obstacles and not an earthly ending.
I’m so thankful that my daughter’s got to bring you the card they made, and sing happy birthday in that family waiting room at the very top of their (not so little) lungs.
I’m so happy that I have this picture of us together.
I don’t care about your wheelchair, the words you’re not yet saying, or the symmetry of your face. I’m believing for your full and complete healing anyways (AMEN!), and all I care about is that you are here for me to say I love you once again.
I love you dad, and today is one I will forever celebrate.
A handful of balloons, a room full of family, and the breathe in your lungs is all we needed to make today special.
All we need is to celebrate the gift that is your life, and with that I proclaim the happiest of birthdays to you.
The Eldest Coconut