It was very early on the morning of the 21st of November 2012 that my Dad finally decided to let go. He peacefully took his last breath, closed his kind blue eyes, and escaped his earthly body. As my Mom, my sister, and I looked on we could almost see his spirit freed for it’s journey to Heaven.
At a moment like that, it’s hard to explain what you feel. Part of me was sad…sad for the fact that I wouldn’t ever hear my Dad’s voice ever again. Sad that we wouldn’t be able to exchange a hug nor a knowing look when we were both misbehaving. No more sharing quiet moments together.
Part of me felt relief. His last year had been really hard on him. He slowly lost the ability to control his body. He lost the independence that he had fiercely fought for all his life. He lost the ability to speak with words and had to depend on squeezing our hands and talking with his eyes. I felt relief because he’d fought the good fight, run the marathon of life, and was now able to rest.
Another part of me was angry. I didn’t want to lose my Dad. This was something far beyond sadness. It didn’t seem fair that a man who had so much to offer, and such a huge heart, couldn’t share his gifts anymore. I was angry that medical science wasn’t far enough along to bring him back to full health. And mostly I was angry because my children would no longer have this amazing, caring, gentle man in their lives.
But overriding all these feelings was a calm. A sense of joy. A thankfulness for all the years that I had been able to spend with my Dad. We were very much alike, and that sometimes caused us to butt heads. And by sometimes I mean all the time. But we would always come to terms with each other shortly thereafter and be back to normal in no time. I grew up in a small family, with just one sister, so I got a lot of time to spend with my Dad. We did guy stuff all the time. We went fishing. We worked on cars (although I somehow didn’t learn a darned thing). We did yard work. We fixed things around the house. And mostly we spent time together.
True quality time.
And for all that time Dad spent with me, I’m thankful. With a deep feeling that permeates my whole being. Dad was a great man in his own way. He wasn’t a giant of industry, a sports legend, or some big-time political wonk. The whole world just saw another guy but when I looked at my Dad I saw a giant of a man. I saw a caring man who would do anything for anybody…and especially anything for me.
So today, as I quietly think about the person who I lost from this world in 2012, I know that he’s watching over me from a better place. As I’ve said before, I’m sure he’s laughing at my mistakes and just shaking his head at the things he tried to teach me and I didn’t learn. But I know he’s watching. Cheering me on.
For that, I’m thankful!