Yesterday we moved my Mother in Law from her house of 20+ years to a smaller apartment on the campus of the missions organization she and my father in law served with their entire careers.
It was fun in many ways. It’s always fun when the whole family gets together. 3 of her 4 sons and their families showed up to move her in. (Eric lives out of town, but was here a few weeks ago and he and his daughter put in lots of time helping her get ready for the move.) We laughed and played music and were silly. The teens ate donuts between lugging large boxes and unpacking. Overall the atmosphere was upbeat and festive.
There was an undercurrent of sadness, however. There was no Far Far. Many of the things that have always been part of my in-laws house were notably absent: Far Far’s chair, the walker, his hats. Hard to believe it’s been almost 2 years since his passing. There is none of Far Far in this new place. It seemed sort of cold and sad as we were moving the things from the old house, so full of his presence, to the white-washed walls of the new place where Far Far had never been. There were no memories of him here. I know we all felt it, though no one really spoke of it. It was a hard enough day for my mother in law without bringing that up.
We were pretty much finished in the old place and we were all packed into the new apartment trying to get her settled a bit before we left. A few of the teens were trying to put her coffee table together and having a hard time of it. It’s an old table someone brought back from Colombia. It has eight sides and they had to be placed just so before the top would fit on. The teens were not having much success. Dave walked in as they were struggling and said to them, “Look underneath the table top. If I know Far Far, it’s marked under there somewhere so you’ll know how to put it together.” The kids did and sure enough, there were markings showing just how to line it up so it would fit. We all laughed and my mother in law got a little teary.
Far Far was here. Even though he’d never been physically present in that place, he left a little part of himself with every single one of the people in that room. He’d left marks on all of us. Directions. Showing us all how to line up, so we could stand.