What I Didn’t Know I’d Miss

When someone close to you passes away, you automatically begin thinking of what you will miss most about them. You hear their voice in your head, you see their smile, you recall your favorite memories, even funny stories. You wish you could do x, y, or z one last time. You wish could share every moment with them. You don’t really think about what you won’t miss, or what you didn’t think you’d miss, because those aren’t quite so obvious.

I started eating a gluten free diet in 2011 after several years of on and off stomach issues. Now at this point I had known my father-in-law for about 7 years, and bless him, a sudden change in diet was just rather difficult for him to get used to. Especially if we went out to eat…I think out of a sense of protection for me and trying to be helpful he would always, always let the waiter/waitress know I had to  “eat a…a…she has to eat the gluten…(and on it went until I corrected). My quiet, didn’t want to rock the boat self would always feel so embarrassed. Almost like a 14 year old who’s thinking, “…Dad….I can take care of myself, gah..”

But now I miss that.

I love cooking for my family. I spend hours meal planning, grocery planning, prepping, etc. It’s like my one hobby and I thoroughly enjoy it. What I don’t always enjoy is changing the meal plan. For example, when I’m in the middle of cooking a meal or if I’m about to start prepping the meal, and I’m interrupted to ask if we want to go out to eat instead.

But you know what I miss? Sundays in the late afternoon when I’m starting to get dinner ready and I hear my husband come down the stairs saying he’s been on the phone with his dad and do we want to go out to eat with them tonight. Yes. More than anything.

It drives me crazy when people ask me questions they a) already know the answer to and/or b) have already asked me. For my father-in-law I think sometimes this was just because he wanted to make conversation with me, and because I think he truly cared about what he was asking. Most of the time he would ask how my parents were, how my job was, had I heard from so-and-so. For the last year and a half of his life he would of course ask how his grandson was, what was he saying, what was he playing with, etc.

I miss the questions.

All of the above, those are all things that when he first passed I never thought about missing. It’s crazy what can pop into your mind when you haven’t seen or talked to someone for over 6 months.

In a funny but sweet twist, those memories popping into my head this week are my good news. While they’ve made me teary eyed and sad, they’ve also reminded me not to be so annoyed at small things. To find the good intention in what may seem like an annoying trait or question or interruption. To realize that the protection in the restaurants, the spontaneous eating out, the questions – all of that was because he loved us so much. And the good news is I can find that love in others’ actions toward me, and more importantly I can be that love in my own actions toward others.

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