You knew what was in it all along, but were just too fragile with fatigue and anxiety to open up the many layers that you packed it in to keep it safe from harm. Then, it was put in a box and a storage unit and a truck and another storage unit and another truck until it came home where it always belonged.
There are some things that make your knees buckle a little bit when you see them again.
My Father's Navy flag. U.S. Navy Seaman 2nd Class Auburn Slocum Rodgers.
I requested it when he died. They sent it to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and in one of the most emotionally moving ceremonies I had ever seen, 8 sailors, all old as the hills and dressed in their uniforms, silently folded his flag with only barely audible signals.
It was a huge flag. It's daunting size did not intimidate them one bit as they slowly and with solemn deliberation, folded it one side over another over another over another until there was no more folding to do.
They presented it to me and each one shook my hand and said, "From a grateful nation".
From this grateful daughter, Dad. You taught me so much and you always will.
Love is never lost. It is the case that those you love are far too often out of sight.