Late Night Talk

Dearest Rachel –

It may have had something to do with our discussion en route to last night’s Bible study. I don’t know how the subject came up but Daniel and I were sharing about how late night talk show hosts just aren’t what they used to be. For my part, I never took a shine to Jimmy Kimmel in the way you and Daniel did – and these days, with his smug ‘I know I’m right, and everything I don’t understand is stupid’ attitude, that much less so. We both agreed that Craig Ferguson was the kind to never talk down to anyone, or about anything – and the fact that he truly lived his adoptive country didn’t hurt. That, and he could just be silly and fun.

Anyway, last nights dream add him – or somebody like him – introducing you as ‘the ever-ebullient Rachel Larson,’ to thunderous applause. You came out from the green room, waving both hands at the unseen audience, and smiling open-mouthed in a way that might well put your ‘Good Seed’ smile to shame.

Wouldn’t that be cool if that was how our entrance interview into heaven was conducted, with the angels in the audience celebrating the triumphant life of every redeemed sinner? Not that our lives are necessarily triumphant, as such – rather, that our very presence at the gates of heaven is a triumph of God’s work in us.

Anyway, I don’t remember a thing that was said in this dream interview, however; I was still trying to parse something that Pastor Joel said to us after last night’s study, about a conversation I was never a part of (and therefore also don’t remember).

Interestingly, he started off with something of an apology, “I hope you don’t mind my bringing this up.” I wonder if people still walk on eggshells around me, careful not to touch too much on the subject of you. That would be a shame. There are so many other perspectives of you that I don’t have; so many stories that I don’t know. It may hurt to hear about you, knowing that you’re no longer with us, but every new story (well, new to me) is just that, something new for me to treasure about you, and I welcome them, no matter how painful.

In any event, it wasn’t quite his story, as such, but rather involving you and his wife, about his son. Now, normally husbands don’t talk to other husbands about what their wives say to each other. In fact, husbands generally don’t even know what their wives have said to other wives – and even if their wives would tell them about the conversation (and I speak as a husband here), it would fade from their memory fairly quickly, as it wasn’t likely a topic that pertained to them. Or is that just me?

However, this was a topic that did pertain to him, as a father. It seems that his son is currently being tested to determine whether he, like Daniel, resides somewhere on the spectrum. Thankfully, there seems to be less and less stigma all the time to such a diagnosis; in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if kids who aren’t diagnosed with some kind of disorder – ADD, ADHD, autism, gender dysphoria, what have you – are the exception rather than the norm these days. In which case, do the ‘normal’ kids even qualify as ‘normal’ anymore?

But back in the day, when we would occasionally visit his little church prior to its merger with our own, you would talk with his wife as a sort of comrade-in-arms, since you both were raising sons who were… challenging. Although, in fairness, all little boys can be challenging; Dennis the Menace probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed with anything (although Calvin might have), his antics would have been dismissed as ‘boys being boys.’

But given the size of their church at the time, they had no one to lean on in their situation, and the support that you gave – when it wasn’t available from anyone else at the time – is still remembered fondly today. You were there for her, to quote Mordecai, “for such a time as [that],” and you rose to the challenge.

Now, I don’t know if your late-night talk show gig would necessarily cover that scene – although, to be sure, you have eternity to review your life story, so why not? – but I wonder how you’d react to the big deal others have made of it. To you, it may have been a random, offhand topic of conversation, with a little bit of advice thrown in from one who had been down that road before. To her – and by extension, to him – you were a true blessing.

Why we couldn’t keep you around a little longer, I’ll never know – at least, not on this side of the pale. I’m not even going to speculate.

All I can do is to hope you’re enjoying your well-deserved moment, and while you’re at it, to keep an eye out for us all.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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