Traveling home from laying my papaw to rest, I lifted my head up from behind the car seat where I’d spent most of the drive alternately entertaining and lulling to sleep our 3-month-old. “Are we about to leave Texas?” My husband casually confirmed our impending border crossing and without warning, I burst into tears.
“What’s wrong? Are you upset because we didn’t stop at Whataburger?”
And while it is sad to leave Texas without having a Whataburger, that wasn’t it. It wasn’t even the prospect of driving on Oklahoma roads for the next 200 miles. Nor was it the fact that the speed limit was now 70mph instead of 75mph for the remainder of our trip.
“I wasn’t ready. I don’t want to leave Texas.” Jeremy, only half understanding, told me that we could always come back. I immediately thought, “But papaw won’t be there.”
Ah. I thought I was crying because I wasn’t ready to leave Texas, but really, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to papaw. Coming back to Texas will never be the same. Sure, I still have family and people I love to see in that state, and to me it will always be home; but until now, papaw was always the reason to come. It feels like losing a part of my identity.
Someone recently told me, “You’re not a Texan.” True, I haven’t lived in Texas for 7 years, but in my heart I truly feel it is home. If I clicked my heels 3 times that’s where I would find myself. As for papaw, his home is now a place where there is no more pain or sorrow. I grieve his absence and miss that dear, sweet man so much that I feel used up and nauseated, but at the same time, I’m hopeful. Because of Christ, I know that I’ll see him again one day. In this happiest of thoughts, my heartache gives way to rejoicing.