When we lose someone we love, we begin clinging to our memories and reaching for any and all signs that our loved one is still with us.
We begin finding hope in feathers and 11:11 wishes and songs on the radio we swear had to have been divinely intervened.
Sometimes puzzle pieces fall from heaven into our reaching arms and we are reminded, humbled and hopeful, that we are not alone. We are not without.
But sometimes, the signs stop.
Days go by and we can’t feel them anymore. We worry we might forget. We worry we might have moved on.
Buying a house without my daddy was one of the most bittersweet life events I have encountered.
I made a promise to him over dinner that I would buy a house upon my return from Illinois.
He said we would do it together.
He said he would be here every step of the way.
Part of me wanted to honor him in carrying out his wishes, but another part of me couldn’t let go of the fact that he wouldn’t be there to help me when the washer breaks or come over and check the backyard when I was scared of noises outside.
The company we received our inspection through sent out a contractor on Monday to review some bowing in our ceiling that we noticed recently. I was worried he would take advantage of us and kept wishing my dad could be there to protect his little girl.
When Steve walked in the door, he shook my hand quickly and displayed no hesitancy with getting down to business. He brushed past me and walked into the back portion of the house as though he knew my house already. He jumped around from topic to topic, asked me questions about high school and work, and seemed to be drilling Sun while getting closer and closer to him with each question he asked.
The resemblance to my dad was uncanny.
He even told us a story about telling someone to “buzz off” last week, a phrase my dad readily held at the tip of his tongue.
After he left, Sun pulled me close and quietly said, “he reminded you of your papa, huh?”
He knew. I’m so thankful he always knows.
A few hours later I received a text from Steve that worried me for the fate of our ceiling. “When you get a private moment, please call me.” So I did.
“Are you Don Hutt’s daughter?” I felt my knees buckle.
Steve went on to tell me how much he and his family loved my dad. He told me his uncle is Lyle Smith and that my dad is a topic of conversation often. He told me that he’d been to all of my dad’s previous houses, helped with development projects for my dad’s work, and laughed as he reminisced about all of the pranks my dad used to pull. “It was weird how much he loved you,” he began, “I saw your name on the referral and I knew it had to be you. I knew because I’ve heard your dad say your name so many times there’s no way I could ever forget it…and when you opened the door and shook my hand, I had to keep telling myself to stop staring at you like a creepy old man. You have his eyes.”
In those 30 minutes, I got to know my dad a little better.
I was reminded that the signs are always going to be there even in the moments we forget to look for them, and I was reminded that some signs come straight from heaven and other messages are delivered by angels here on earth.
I cried when I realized that none of the house matters have been dealt with alone.
I used to be angry that my dad promised he would be here to help me with this because I thought that him passing away automatically meant that he wouldn’t.
But he is here. He is always here.
And in the moment he couldn’t be here, he sent Steve.