It’s been awhile since I skulked around the pages of this blog of mine. At least a month, I think…. hard to believe. In some ways, what’s happened in my life the last month has been strange and seems far away, almost like it happened to someone else and all I did was watch a documentary. Then, I wake up.
Eleven days isn’t a long time, but sometimes, it can seem like forever. Days melting into days, until two or three have passed, and you get caught in the blur of it all. You can’t remember what day of the week it is, the time, when you last had something to eat or drink. Sleep impossible, you wait, and wait, and wait.
At first, before all that, you hope. You get the phone call, the one no one ever wants… the voice of your sister saying, “dad’s in the hospital”. She sounds a bit alarmed, but isn’t panicked, so you think to yourself, OK, it’s OK, nothing terrible is happening. Then you get the second call, and her voice is strained, and worse yet, she sounds scared, “they found a mass on his spine”. So… you go. And, once you get there, you don’t leave… except for short jaunts away at night to try and sleep, which you don’t, but hey… you’re in it now… this weird other world is your life, and in this place, nothing else exists.
He went into the hospital on June 3. Eleven days later, at home surrounded by his wife, kids, and grandchildren, he decided he was ready to go on to the next adventure, and he quietly slipped away. It was beautiful really. Strange to say, but true. Over the course of those eleven days and then during the service, which happened the following week, I kept looking at us… my brothers and sisters, their children, our spouses, my step mom, and I kept thinking to myself, wow… look at us. Look at what my dad did. We are beautiful. Our lives, the people we are… his kids, his grand kids, how my sister and brothers are as parents, and how much we all love each other. I looked at all of that, and felt this overwhelming sense of pride for my dad. We are all, to the last of us, part of him… and he is a big part of who we are. What a wonderful thing that is. What a tremendous legacy. His life was full, and lovely.
Now, days after the memorial, I feel, more than I ever have in my life, that dad is holding me. He’s looking at all of us, how our relationships have grown over the course of this experience, and he’s smiling that smile. He’s throwing his head back and laughing that full body laugh of his, and his eyes are twinkling… joy spilling out all around him, flowing around us, around me. His life, so full of love, of laughs, of joy… made evident during the course of just eleven days, and one week… it’s amazing how much you can feel and see, in such a short time.