It was sitting quietly in the mailbox one misty morning. Waiting for me to find it. I knew what it was before I opened the envelope.
International Special Delivery, the important stamp said. I normally love mail from England… it’s always family-sent. But this one was different.
I opened it slowly and pulled out the contents. An impressive logo announced, ‘Zurich Bank’. So here it was…. the check I never wanted.
Dear Mrs Nellist, Paying the claim on your father’s Adaptable Life Plan, the words said in bold.
Your. father’s. Adaptable. Life. Plan.
I had to read those words three times and still I didn’t want to believe them. Is that my father? The one with a twinkle in his eye and a love for life?
The one who walked with me through the woods, and taught me how to spot glow worms in the dark?
The one who held my hand when I was in the dentist chair, and read books to me every night?
The one who taught me the name of every insect and every tree?
The one who happily gave away everything he owned, and the only things he ever saved for himself were acorns in his pocket?
Do you mean my father? Surely not.
Because if you do, then I don’t want this check.
What I want is for my wonderful dad to see what I’m seeing… which is a fiercely protective robin, who labored long to build a scraggly nest in a ladder outside my front door; who carefully laid four little blue eggs in there; who chases away every naughty chipmunk that dares to go near her home; who sits on those eggs every minute so that her young can have the very best future possible.
Who, when those babies are born, will watch over them, and love them, and feed them, and nurture them, and teach them everything they need to know about the world….
just like my wonderful dad did for me.
And if I could hug him again, and laugh with him again, and walk with him again, and show him the robin building her nest, I would gladly rip this check to pieces.
But it’s his way, my wonderful father’s way, of caring for me, even though he’s gone.