When a loved one dies, things can be incredibly chaotic; especially when the death was unexpected. There are people to tell, arrangements to be made, accounts to be closed, questions to be
answered and more.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our loved one could reach out to us from the other side and help out with some of that stuff? It’s hard enough when dealing with the details, let alone while
experiencing shock, pain, and deep; all-consuming grief.
The truth is, our loved ones can help us…sometimes.
In March of 2018, I received what was to be the worst call I have ever had in my entire life. My father, my daddy, had suffered from a heart attack and passed away in the emergency room just a
short time earlier. As soon as I heard the ER doctor tell me those words, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground. “No! What do you mean? I don’t understand!” I cried to the doctor. “What do I
do? I don’t know what to do!” He calmly said to take a few breaths and collect myself before anything else.
I was hysterical. I had a very traumatic childhood growing up, and as such, my Dad was the only parent in my life. Although I had moved out of state a few years back, we talked at least once a
week (more when the Seahawks were playing), we emailed all the time, and never missed a birthday or holiday. We would even fly from our home on Maui to spend Christmas Eve with him in Washington
State, which was not a cheap trip that time of year. We had our traditions with Dad and my Uncle Tom that were sacred and incredibly special to us. Every year, we enjoyed the same menu, we ate
the same foods (if you consider little smokies food), listened to the same songs, told the same silly jokes, “Dad, fruitcake is not food! I will use it as a door stop, instead.”, and had an
evening full of love and gratitude.
In the years leading up to Dad’s untimely passing, he would often take me up to his office and say, “Okay Pal (his nickname for me), you need to know where my Last Will and Testament is.
It’s in this safe next to the cremation certificate (already paid for), the plot information (already paid for), and the headstone I have picked out (already designed and paid for). The keys to
the safe are here he said pointing to the not so hidden hiding spot. He was organized and thorough.
My Dad being as young as he was, I would always say, “Dad, I don’t want to talk about this. You can show me in like 20 years, because you are never going to die.” He would chuckle and always
reply, “Well that’s not true, Pal so pay attention.” Of course, like a stubborn child I refused to acknowledge that he may be right.
Then the day had come when he was right.
After receiving that life-changing phone call, my husband Steve and I packed up our youngest son and drove to Washington. We had moved to Coeur d’Alene, ID from Maui less than a year before. I
was grateful for the move as facing everything I was about to face was easier via a 6-hour drive rather than a 5-hour flight.
We approached Dad’s house to find Uncle Tom waiting out front. It felt very strange to open my Dad’s front door and walk in without him. It felt intrusive and surreal. The house was cold and the
lights were off. I noticed Dad’s coffee cup from that morning on the counter. “He never knew he wouldn’t be coming back home.” I thought.
The three adults slowly trudged upstairs to my Dad’s office to find his safe and figure out our next steps. As we looked in his office, a
thought of terror struck me: I had no idea where the keys to the safe were!
Why had I been such a brat and not listened?
Ugh! He had even pulled Steve into his office the last couple of times with me to make sure we both knew where everything was. Now, when it was time, we had absolutely no idea where the keys
were. For the next hour or hour and a half, the three of us looked in every drawer, every box, and every briefcase in the house for the keys.