Dad came home today

My Dad , Richard McGarrigle, came home today exactly 50 days after we said good-bye.  He came home by special delivery…in a little black box. 

ScienceCare took good care of him and enclosed a certificate that said he was cremated on 10/30/2008.  Just as dad wanted, his body was used for medical research when his body could no longer be used by him.

I couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad to see the little black box.  I thought dad needed to sit in his chair just one last time.  So we did…just him and me and that felt good somehow.  We talked…well, I talked, he listened…and that felt good too.  I turned on his beloved golf channel, but thought that was just a little over the border of sanity since I still don’t like golf and I know dad understands that.  So we sat….just dad and me… in the quiet…in his chair.

We sat and I thought.  I thought about how mom came home much the same way after she died in 2001.  Mom still gets mail, mostly from fitness centers.  I thought about how Dad usually left mom’s mail next to that little black box for a day because it made him smile.  He’d also tap on the box to wish her ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.  Today I thought “I’ll have to get a bigger box so they can share that space.”  I think they’d like that.

And then I thought… “So, this is it, huh?” All those years of living, loving, laughing and crying…then ‘poof’…just like that, you’re a baggie full of ashes in a little black box.

But then I heard it…faintly, but I definitely heard it…a giggle…dad’s giggle.  A giggle that confirmed what I already knew…that the little black box is just the beginning.  With faith and by the grace of God, the little black box means we’ve made it.

Dad didn’t come home today…the little black box did.  Dad’s not in the box.  Dad made it home 50 days ago.  The little black box is just a reminder.  A reminder that dad and mom free.

So, I tapped dad’s little black box and set it next to mom’s….right next to the mail he got today….and with that, like dad… I smiled.



  1. KeeKee says:

    Give Aunt Tena and Uncle a tap for me ………. I think of them often and am still so thankful I had them in my life. Aunt Tena was more of a mom to me and holds that spot in my heart …. Uncle Mac was like my special dad that I came to when I needed a giggle. I feel we’re more sisters than cousins Amy, for which I’m extremely proud

  2. Granddaughter Robin says:

    So glad to hear Gramps is home again. Amy you are such a great writter, if the real estate business doesn’t go well for you down there I am sure people would love to read all of the wonderful things you write. That was so special to read this am, not only did Gramps make it home yesterday but my baby Timmy did too, first time since he left in August for college. We both cried and hugged and I again am crying this am. Life is way too short for all of us and each and every day I thank God for having and sharing all of my wonderful family and friends, near and far. I love you Amy and please give Gramps and Nana some love taps from us here in Illinois. xoxoxo

  3. Gail Schmidt says:


    Thank you for sharing this with me. I love your tenderness, compassion, and the Lord’s Love shines in all you do. You are in my prayers as well as TJ and your family whenever you come to mind.
    “The best part…you will see mom and dad again” Praise God for the hope and assurance He gives us.

  4. KeeKee, Robin & Gail~
    Thanks so much for your words which always bring smiles and comfort.

    KeeKee, yes, we are sisters. Always were and always will be. I’ll never forget watching you get ready for your dates when I was little. I’ll say no more…though it still makes me smile. I’ve always said you’re so much like mom and I know that makes her proud.

    Robin~ In the family heirarchy, you may technically be my niece (though you’ll always be older than me 🙂 but you’ve always felt like my sister too. All those little girl years when my mom (your nana) made us all those matching outfits which we wore with pride. You with your brown hair and a foot taller than my blonde-headed little self. Remember when we visited that church in Oklahoma on vacation and told the kids there that we were twins? Do you think God forgives us for that? 🙂

    Gail…my sister in Christ. I am so blessed to be a part of such a loving Church family. Your prayers mean everything to TJ & I.

    I love you sisters~

  5. Hey, Just came across your post, could not stop my self from reading it entirely, I found it very emotional, it some how has touched my heart, If I were a Movie director or producer I would have produced a movie on this true story of yours! I wish you all the luck!

  6. Thanks, Ryan.