Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I Lost My Dad and Everything Is Going To Be Okay
I want to start by saying that this is my personal experience with the loss of a loved one, and I would never presume to tell anyone how they should feel or react in their own unique situation. *My Dad had a genetic liver disease. He started getting severely ill about 13 years ago, but that isn’t what I’ll hold onto. *When I was at his house last, I saw his pill holder. It was the length for the amount I’ve seen sick people take in a week. It was labeled Monday. There were six others just like it, but that isn’t what I’ll hold onto. *Our hope was that he would get a liver transplant, but that isn’t what I’ll hold onto. In the hospital he was sick. He was suffering. We sat at his bedside and agonized, but that isn’t what I’ll hold onto. *He was 56 years old, too young for a life to end. He has grandkids that he won’t meet on this earth, but that isn’t what I’ll hold on to. *My Dad loved us. He told us. He spent time with us. He saved the pictures and notes we gave him. That’s what I’ll cling to. *My Dad took great joy in his Grandkids. They elated him, and he spent quality time sharing the things that mattered to him with them. That’s what I’ll cling to. *My Dad’s heart was pure. He taught me that a suit and tie and regular church attendance didn’t necessarily make a man a good man, and that a rough appearance or a bad habit didn’t make a man a bad man. He taught me to respect all people. *He taught me about love. He and Mom have a spectacular love story. *He taught me to make sure I had the key in my hand before I walked out of a locked door. *He taught me to serve people without any thought for the credit. *He taught me a true appreciation for nature’s beauty. *He taught me countless things and that’s what I’ll cling to. *He taught me that family is everything… and that’s WHO I’ll cling to. I didn’t expect my first writer’s blog post to be this heavy, but now I will tell you something you need to know about me. I believe in fairy tales, more now than ever. My Dad isn’t far away. There are no sad endings for him. For him, there are no endings! I’ll be with him again. In this life, we know pain, we know sickness, we know heartache. We don’t know joy, not like we will. I know a lot of people that don’t believe as I do. They might find it hard to believe in heaven. After the experiences I’ve had in the past two weeks, I’d find it much harder NOT to believe. Angels and comfort and light and peace may seem childish notions, but in the face of tragedy I can tell you that they aren’t really. They’re deep and intellectual and perfectly suitable for grown-ups. I walked alone out of that hospital where my Dad passed away. There was a wall of windows to my left that led to the outside, and to my right, hundreds of sick people, hundreds of worried people. I remember there was a breeze blowing down the corridor and brushing my hair away from my face as I moved toward the exit. I looked around that terrifying place. The place my nightmares have been made of for years, because of the fear of what I could lose and what Dad could suffer. I squared my shoulders, I held my head high, and I thought to myself, “Hospital, you’ve got nothin’ on me. Not anymore. Death can’t take my Dad away from me.” In that moment, I knew what I was made of. I’m stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. You are too. You can handle more than you think you can. It’s because you have people watching over you, people you can’t see, people who love you. Trust me.