I never knew you. I know it wasn’t what you expected or planned. You were just responding to that fire.

That’s what fire chiefs do.

I’m sorry your life was cut short. You were so young and there was so much more life to live. I wish your heart hadn’t given way that day. Just a few more years and I could have known you.

My heart has been heavy most of my life. I’ve been holding my breath ever since I learned of your passing when you were at the age of 46.

I turn 47 today grandpa. I made it. I know that is what you would have wanted for all of your family.

I promise to start living now.

I never knew that fear could metastasize like that.

It seemed like it took a thousand years to get past the one birthday I had circled on my calendar my entire life.

I cry as I write this. Why did I carry this weight all these years? I know that is not what you would have wanted.

I’m sorry.

It’s Easter today too. How ironic in that I believe He makes all things new. I hope you believed that too.

Maybe God had this birthday of mine circled on His calendar too?

Never in a million years would I have thought that this birthday of all birthdays would be on this day. It’s like it was waiting for me to arrive.

Making all things new for me, I hope and pray, means a new start with new opportunities to love those closest to me and those all around me at an age you were never able to.

I’ll gladly trade my fear now for that baton you’ve been waiting to hand me.

Perhaps in doing this, I can finally begin to love those closest to me and those all around me without this fear that has paralyzed me so.

I hate that it took this long to learn that love metastasizes too.

I hate that it has taken me this long to learn that fear, when given a chance, will always paralyze one’s ability to love.

I say paralyze because it’s like when you arrived at that fire that night, I know you were never able to leave the car. I knew that you couldn’t move your legs.

You wanted to run to the fire, but you couldn’t. But I know your heart wanted to.

So has mine.. So has mine.

I love you grandpa.

I know that no one knows the day or hour of their final breath. I just no longer want any fear to drive my life towards that moment.

I’d just rather arrive at that moment with love leading me towards it by way of my heart being surrendered to it, instead.

For no matter the hour or the day, Love always leaves hope within the footprints of its past.

I want this for those closest to me and those who come in contact with me with every step I take. And now that I have finally exhaled, I want this with every breath I take, too.

Love you grandpa!

It’s a new day. He is risen indeed. The weight is gone. My fear is an empty tomb.