Sunday, April 30, 2017

Can't Quite Go There Yet

Today is three months since my dad passed away. Just typing that made me tear up. It's funny how when people ask how old he was and I say 86 I get the impression that they think it's not so sad because he lived a long life. He wanted to live to be 100. But what he really meant by that was just how much he loved living.

I've been surprised by the depth of my sadness.

I want to write what it was like to get in the car at 4 AM and drive for 11 hours trying to make peace within myself that I might not get there before he passed away.

How my younger brother, who I have nothing to do with unless we happen to be home at the same time, came and kissed the top of my head when he walked into the hospital room and saw me holding our dad's hand.

I want to write about what it was like to go see my dad in the hospital an hour after he had died, the warmth of his body fading. How when I made the sign of the cross on his forehead that I was taken off guard by the speaking in tongues that burbled up from within.

How I couldn't bring myself to sit in his easy chair after he passed. How I watched my older brother almost do it and then say, 'nope'.

But I can't quite go there yet.

The months since he died have seen so many health challenges within my own immediate family that it feels like a shit show. I told my kids and their spouses that we've used up 2017's quota of ambulance rides, emergency surgeries and other health crises in the first 2 months and let's be done with that okay?

It really has been one thing after another and those things aren't complete yet.

But my dad. He'd want me to embrace it all. He'd harrumph with a twinkle in his eye and a good deal of compassion and tell me that it was rough for sure. Whatever his aging challenges were he always said that they beat the alternative.

He's come to me in dreams several times. Full of light and vitality.

He kept a globe by his chair and my mom said not a day went by when he didn't put down the book he was reading so he could check on the globe where the story was set or where a particular place mentioned in his book was on the globe.

I have my own globe. I take my 3 year old grandson's hands and point out where we live. I rub his tiny fingers over the surface so he can feel where the mountains are. The other day he went for a drive with his mom and when she pointed out the mountains he said, "Just like on Nana's map."

There is no road map for this season of grief and loss.