He brushed the hair out of his eyes and watched the birds swoop and swirl in the air above his head. He gazed at his reflection in the water that sparkled from the sun’s rays. She loved this place. Why had he come here? The ache in his heart was like something he had never known. How could his heart hurt so much and still keep beating?
Could it really be so long ago, when it felt like yesterday? He could almost feel those chubby little arms wrap around his neck, a wet slobbery kiss on his cheek and the tickle in his ear from her whisper. “I wuv you daddy, bery bery much?”
He could see her golden hair radiant in the sun’s light. “Daddy. Daddy can we fow wocks?”
It was her favorite thing to do. He could feel the frustration even now rising in him. He didn’t have time to stop and “fow” rocks! It was an exercise in futility, if you asked him. What was the point of throwing rocks anyway?
But, they did have their special place; a small lake nestled in amongst some fir trees and within walking distance from their home. Some days he would let go of the many things pressing for his time and they would go to the “secwet” place, as she so fondly called it. He would hold her hand and she would skip and dance beside him as they walked. It never ceased to amaze him that she could receive so much joy from throwing rocks.
One day he asked her, “Honey, why do you love to throw rocks?”
She stood up straight, tossed her golden locks to indicate what a ridiculous question it was and answered, “Daddy, I wuv to fow wocks because I wike to watch them spwash! It’s so butifow! Those wiggowy wines that go afta the splash awe so pwetty, don’t you fink?”
He had to admit that those “wiggowy wines” were beautiful and watching her revel in them somehow completed him.
How could he disagree with this charming little minx that had stolen his heart? A smile crossed his face as He remembered the day she had entered his cold world and brought the warmth of her love.
He never imagined that he would ever be a father. He had given up on that dream a long time ago but when his sister died and there was no place for her to go, he had reluctantly agreed to keep her until something better could be found. And praise God that something never came.
He reminisced, how like those rocks she loved to watch splash in the water, she had splashed into his life and heart. And he cherished the ripples of her love that entwined their way into his very soul, forever changing him.
But as he sat there beside that lake, he wondered . . . how could a person hurt so much and still be alive? The very breath of his life had been sucked out of him and he wondered if he would ever really breathe again. She was gone. Her life snuffed out by a drunk driver and all he had left were the memories . . .
When he cracked open the door of his heart and let her in, he never dreamed how fragile his heart would become. Before she stepped into his life, his heart was well protected, a fortress not built with brick and mortar but just as strong and secure. But she had changed all that and now his heart lay in pieces around him.
He had come to their special place hoping to see a glimpse of her. Maybe being in this place, he would somehow find a way to go on . . .
“God, why?” ripped from his throat, directed at the heavens.
“Would you rather I not have given her to you?” He sensed the question, rather than hearing it.
“Well, no not exactly. But this pain, it’s too hard to bear.”
Slowly the realization began to dawn in his soul . . . if he was going to accept the joy of loving her, he also had to accept the pain of losing her. That was the price of love. He knew then and there that he would never trade this pain. Instead, he would embrace it and somehow learn to breathe again.
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