So today I was cleaning the last of the closets here at the Chiles Estate. I had put off cleaning them out for some reason. I think I ran out of steam. It was down to the coats and the jackets and it was harder than I thought. My father in law had a lot of coats. A lot. They were crammed in the hall closet and we had already gone through and taken some out that we could pass on.
One of the things that I had the forethought to do was check the pockets. You never know, do you, what folks leave in their pockets? I found handwritten notes-grocery lists- written by my sweet father in law. A wave of sadness hit me and I realized that the grieving process continues. It made me think of my own Daddy who died in 1994. I don’t remember helping clean out my dad’s things but I imagine he had handkerchiefs and maybe Lifesavers in his pockets.
I don’t really have anything handwritten by my own Daddy but I do have something he typed up–maybe his handwriting was as bad as mine is these days. My mom found it quite awhile after he died. It was in a place where she had looked many times but for some reason it was not meant to be found until then. It was a note to my mom. In it he wrote a little bit to each of the four children. It was sweet and it was an insight into what he thought our strengths were at that time. I can’t remember what the date was when he wrote it (I have it safely tucked away in the firesafe box in Iowa) but I was only in grade school, I am pretty sure. I am not sure what prompted him to write it or why but I do know that he had me pegged. He told me to always keep my love for others and that my gift of being with older people was one of my great strengths.
We have teased our boys and told them that we are going to leave things all over the country for them to find when we die. Make it kind of a challenge for them—a sort of death scavenger hunt. Maybe I need to start working on that now and start writing those notes that will make them smile when they find them. I definitely will do that—maybe not the scavenger hunt part but definitely the notes that tell them how much I love them.