Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Decade

A decade.
Ten years.
1,200 months.
3,652 days.
520 Saturdays.

10 years ago, the day started off wonderful. Our friends, Bev & Chris got married. The reception, an afternoon affair where Bill was the DJ, was a lot of fun. The party then moved to the hotel where all the out of town guests were staying. In between the reception and the after party, I went over to my parents house to see my Dad. He was miserable. His legs were swollen beyond belief. Cancer had overtaken his body and he could no longer fight. My mom told me she was finally ready to contact Hospice for help.

It was time.

He was trying to rest in the spare room bed, but was very uncomfortable. I leaned in and kissed him goodbye and told him I loved him, as I always did. His voice, barely a whisper, replied, “I know you do, kid.” I laughed and said, “Of course you do.”

I went to the after party, but my heart wasn’t in it, so we headed home. Shortly after 11pm, the phone rang and I was out of bed throwing on shoes before I even said hello.

I knew the time had come.

I don’t remember anything about the drive to my parents house. I don’t know if I drove or if Bill did. I don’t know which roads we took. I know when we pulled in the driveway, I jumped out before the car was turned off.

The next couple of hours were a blur. I think my half-sisters, mom, and Aunt Eleanor held hands and said a prayer. A few of my moms friends came over. Bill and I left shortly after the funeral home came and picked him up.

I do remember the drive home. We took Lakeshore Blvd; about a 15 minute drive. It was well after 3am and all the traffic lights were blinking yellow. Just before we got to the intersection to turn onto our street there was a Walgreens drug store driveway with a stop light. As we approached, the light turned red. We stopped. Out of no-where a large bird walked in front of the car. The light turned green. Bill edged forward. The bird would not move. It looked right at me. I can remember the chills. I know I said, “That’s my Dad.” The light turned red again. The bird looked at me again and flew away.

There have now been ten August 19th’s . I dread each one just as much as the previous year. This day is the hardest. It sucks. The memories are close and the pain is as raw as it was ten years ago. Tears come quick.

The kids and I will go to the cemetery with my mom. My son, my sweet boy, who’s middle name is George after his Grandad, will brush the grass and dirt from the grave as he does whenever he visits. It makes my mom cry even more when he does that. Then he will take my mom’s hand when she tells him it is time to say a prayer. He will say the only one he knows aloud…..”Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May the angels watch me through the night, and keep me in their blessed sight.”

I know my kids have an angel watching over them through the night, every night.

I miss you Dad. There is a huge hole in our family without you.


Anonymous said...

I hope today you will remember all the good days with your Dad. He was a good man to you and your Mom. He is the wind you feel gently blowing your hair on a warm summers day. Take care... From someone who had the chance to know your Dad was a great guy!

DianeS said...

You are lucky to be able to so beautifully articulate what's in your heart Shelley.