Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tulips

Funny how things go. I had been writing report cards all day, and needed to get out of the house for a bit. So, off to the store to get some ingredients for dinner. And there they were. Outside the store, huge buckets of tulips. And I thought of Brian's Dad.

He died in the April of a year, after far too many months in the discharge planning unit of VGH. I don't know about now, but in the mid-nineties this was a unit that was old, and crowded and depressing. Fortunately for him he was mostly blind, and the nurses were very, very kind to him.

He was bed-ridden having had his leg amputated some months before. But this isn't a sad story. Not at all.

He could see the roof garden outside the window nearest his bed. He could see the tulips blooming there. He commented on their beauty. The one beautiful thing that could be found in that desolate place.

Brian visited him every day. Every day. After long hours at work, and before coming home to his two young children he spent time with his Father. I don't think their relationship had been easy in the early years. Not because it was hard, but because that generation of fathers didn't talk about deep things with their children.

Beverley Arthur Taylor was the kindest person I have ever met. He was also the most truly, deeply, absolute believer in Jesus I have every met. He never preached about it, he never forced his faith on anyone. He just had this deep abiding belief in Jesus that sustained him through his life. And his life was not easy.

When I would visit, I would read to him from the Bible. He had favourite passages, favourite psalms. Those passages have now become my favourites too. He told me once I could be a pastor. I think I could. Maybe in another lifetime. Maybe later in this one.

So, although this isn't meant to be sad, I am weeping as I write this. He was a wonderful Grandpa to my kids. My son still tours with the fiddle he made. He always had ice-cream bars in the freezer for the kids, and could make his fiddle talk to the kids. He would wear silly earrings out of the Christmas crackers all through Christmas dinner. He found his way, by bus, to my bedside when each of my children were born. He held my son, his first grand child, and in all honesty asked me when his eyes would open.

I remember the day he died. I had said goodbye to him the night before. He had said he wanted to go. I told him to ask Jesus to take him. Jesus did, and his son was beside his bed for the passing.

So, back to the tulips. We organized the funeral, and I went to the flower store to order the flowers for the casket. I ordered tulips. The florist told me you can't use tulips for funerals because they open too soon, because they are not appropriate.

Oh yeah?

There were two huge bouquets of tulips that day on his casket. His 12 year old grandson requested time alone in the viewing room to play for his Grandpa one last time.

Sometimes the heart doesn't feel big enough for what it has to bear.

Tulips.

They always remind me of my Brian's Dad.

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