...and in the end
My dad passed away last week.
I typed that sentence 10 minutes ago, but have sat here since, watching the cursor blink and wondering what to say about something I still can't believe.
One week later, despite his cancer and his pain and his valiant effort to fight as long as he could, I still can't believe my dad is gone, and I'm sitting here once again, trying to not allow my face to melt into something akin to a dried apple doll, all scrunched up and ugly from the crying I do.
Two days after his death, several members of my family gathered at dad's home and discussed a memorial service with my church pastor. My pastor had spent time with dad in the last few weeks of his life, but in what I imagine is the first question that must be asked during these types of gatherings, he asked each of us in attendance to describe dad in one word.
A lot of words you'd expect to hear were mentioned, and I don't think I'm being too prejudice when I say they are all true of dad. When the time came for me to answer, though, I asked if it wold be OK if I used two words. Those words were 'get it.'
My dad just wanted me to get it. Whether that meant math, figuring out who to back in park, or simply being happy, his greatest wish for me was to get it. To understand anything I was determined to work for was completely achievable. I think everything he did for me would have been a victory in his eyes if I got it. That may have involved tears, 3 a.m. telephone calls, or even constructing guides out of scraps of plywood that he'd dutifully place in my high school parking lot every Saturday so I could practice my parking skills, but everything he did showed his willingness to do whatever he could for me to just get it.
And when I did get it, when I finally (sort of!) understood algebra, made peace with a decision, passed the driving portion of my license test (after three attempts!)...whatever it was, dad's greatest reward in that was to tell me "Good job!"
I've spent the last three months on a seemingly constant care rotation with other members of my family. I hope dad thought I did a good job holding things together while there for him. Since his passing, I've been a bit lost. I pace circles in my kitchen - a place I've so rarely been since January - because I don't know which direction to turn first. I stay up far too late because my body's clock is off thanks to the 3 a.m. risings dad and I would surrender to when the pain he was constantly in officially kicked off his day.
I don't know what to do now. I'm suddenly lost following the end of a truly horrible routine. I imagine it will take awhile, but I'll get it figured out one of these days.
I have to.
My dad would expect that much. In fact, he wouldn't want anything else.