My dad had always been a guiding hand for me. That nudge I needed to get where I am going. When I was younger, he was sometimes even a shove when it involved doing something that I’d rather. It didn’t matter what it was, he always had advice for what I should do or what he had done in a similar situation. And he had always urged me to do the right thing. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
It’s been 3 month to the day since I lost my father. Nearly to the hour, really. It had been a week prior, a Wednesday, when his throat cancer had been upgraded from stage 1 to stage 4. I saw him that Sunday, getting to spend precious time with him of which I wish I had more. My last words to him were that I loved him, and that I would take care of anything he needed me to.
How terrible it is that my last words to him were three days before he passed. I could have, and should have, called him that Monday and Tuesday. But life, work mostly, got in the way and pulled my attention. It was that night my younger brother called telling me to go to the hospital. He said it didn’t look good.
My poor brother. He was helping my dad put his clothes to head to the hospital when the seizure hit (or possibly stroke, we never did really get an answer). I can’t imagine what he felt, or feels now, about that moment. It haunts me that he had to deal with it.
We waited at the hospital for nearly an hour before they brought the news that he had passed. My mother was stoic, though I think it was also shock. She had to administer chest compressions until the ambulance after my father had collapsed. The thought of that also causes me great pain.
I didn’t really cry that first night. The shock and exhaustion had stolen any energy I had left for it. It was the next day that I broke down, sitting on my parents’ bed staring at the clothes he would never wear again. I sobbed. I had never before felt pain that I had in that moment.
The four days between his death and his memorial felt like one continuous day. People came and offered their condolences. Family came in from Illinois and Texas. My older brother and fiancee drove down from St. Louis. (God, it brakes my heart that our father won’t be there in person to see them get married next month.)
After everything is finished, we’ve all tried to get back into a normal routine, but it’s impossible. My father was such a large part of all of our lives that there’s a void now that can’t be filled. There are times when I’m at the house that I still expect him to come walking around the corner from the garage, but it never happens.
These three months have been hard for me. I feel dissatisfaction with many aspects of my life, and I lost the main source of guidance I had. I’ve been hard to be around at times, and I regret that I’ve allowed this to happen. And if my father could talk to me right now, he would have some choice words for my actions. But I would be grateful for them, just as I’ve always been.