It hits me at the most random times, like now, as I sip my coffee and watch the kids play in the living room.

They hop from cushion to cushion, superheroes “saving the day”. I smile at the determination on the oldest one’s face as he leaps from the top of the couch, arm outstretched and cape flowing freely behind him.

Moments like these, when I have a chance to sit and take in the beautiful simplicity of this life—that’s when I miss you the most.

The thing is, I always thought you’d be here for this. For all of it.

You were supposed to sit down for a serious conversation with a nervous guy asking for your blessing. You would have given him just a hard enough time to make him sweat, before bursting into laughter and clapping him on the back. Of course you can marry my daughter. Welcome to the family, son.

You were supposed to be at my wedding, standing on one side of me as you shared the honor of walking me down the aisle to my future. 

You were supposed to help us remodel our first home. You would have given up every weekend to help us paint walls, and lay flooring, and refinish cabinets. You would have exclaimed the perfection of this little house, and been so proud of us for having a place to call our own.

You were supposed to whoop and holler and dance for joy when we told you we were expecting our first baby. I’m pretty sure you would have moved into our guest room right then and there if we had let you.

You were supposed to be in the waiting room of the labor and delivery wing, pacing as you waited for updates. You would have been one of the first to hold your grandson, and his siblings after that.

You were supposed to sneak candy into their pockets and insist they be allowed to stay up past their bedtime when you came for a visit. We would have rolled our eyes at your spoiling and asked you to cut back, to which you would have responded, “That’s what grandpas are for!”

You were supposed to be on the other end of the phone line when I had a funny story to tell you or a question about car insurance. 

And here. You were supposed to be here. Watching your grandsons play in the sunlight of a late Tuesday morning. I’d do anything to share this cup of coffee with you.

Instead, you’re in Heaven, and we’re left to live these moments without you.

For the past six years, there’s been a feeling that something—someone—is missing in all that we do.

The only thing that eases the sting is trusting that you’re out there somewhere, watching our lives unfold. I know you’re grateful for the strength and love I’ve found in my marriage. I imagine it makes you smile to see the passion for life that pulses through your grandkids’ veins. I hope it warms your heart to see the happiness that fills our days.

I know you’re proud—so proud—of this life we’ve built.

We feel your physical absence so deeply, but we hold onto you in memories and photographs and words. We welcome all of the little signs you send to let us know you’re thinking of us, too. For now, that will have to be enough.

You were supposed to be here, but the mark you’ve left on our hearts will never fade away.

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Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward