January 4, 2015
He's with the angels now....
Posted by Gigi
Today has been a rough, rough day. And only four days into the new year.
On Christmas I discovered that my dad was in the hospital. I had called to wish him a Merry Christmas...but the phone went straight to voicemail. A couple of hours later, my brother called and told me that he was in the hospital. They wanted to replace his heart valve. Why my brother hadn't called me earlier, I don't know. He said that my dad had lost his voice due to coughing so much, that I might want to wait to call until he could speak, and that they were going to do a CAT scan (MRI?, I can't remember) to see if there was anything else that needed to be repaired.
He called me a few days later to tell me that the test had revealed a large mass in my dad's lungs. They scheduled a biopsy. It was either cancer or it could be an infection. The next day I was told it was cancer - and terminal, because his heart was in such a fragile state that it couldn't withstand surgery to remove the mass or any kind of treatment. My brother warned that it would be days or weeks; but to prepare myself.
I prayed. I prepared myself to let him go. I thought I was ready.
I was wrong.
I received the call this morning. As I was on the road running one of the many, many errands I had planned for today.
So, I stuffed the grief far, far down. After all, I was ready to let him go. And I had a lot to do.
You know what happens when you stuff the grief far, far down? You end up with a headache. And your throat hurts. And your chest is tight.
Maybe that also happens when you don't stuff the grief down. I don't know.
But, eventually, the tears work themselves to the surface and the nerves are raw. Especially after you steel your spine to make the phone calls. Once the words, "he passed." cross your lips.
I do know that this is much harder than I expected.
I feel guilty. I had planned to go to Houston this past Spring. But, for whatever reason, I didn't. Then I planned to go this past Fall. But news about my company made me nervous, so I didn't go. All that equals guilt. Major guilt. And now I'm about to take the trip I should have made last year. But this time to say goodbye to him forever.
When my mother died, I had been expecting it. For years. I was heartbroken but prepared. And my dad was there to hold me after the funeral. Who is going to hold me at his?
Once the word has spread, the phone calls and texts are coming in - and I'm crying with every one. I've even heard from family that I haven't thought about in years. Apparently, even years after my parents divorced, he is well remembered and well loved.
As one aunt recalled - he was a handsome cowboy that loved my mother with all his heart. She, obviously, was remembering when she first met my dad. Did he still love her when he died? Who knows. Possibly. My mother once told me that she would always love my father but that she couldn't live with him.
My childhood memories of him recall a kind and patient man. I think my mother was pretty much the only thing that could provoke his anger. His idea of punishment was tell me to sit right "there" (somewhere off to the side) as he worked on whatever project he was working on until "he got tired." I don't recall sitting there very long.
Despite the fact that we weren't as close as I had wished in these later years - blame to be placed on both sides of the fence - I loved him dearly and I know he loved me. And I know that the world has lost another wonderful human being. And it makes me cry.