Saturday, March 06, 2010

Fatherless for One Year

Exactly one year ago today, I told my dad that I loved him and kissed him goodbye for the last time. When I saw him a little while later, he was gone.

And he really was gone. When I left his hospice room to take a break from the death watch, he was unconscious but his energy was still there. When my sister came out to tell me he died a short time later, I went into his room and he was gone. There was still a body in the bed but it was just a body. 95 pounds of skin and bones and disease. He was really gone.

I believe he went to a better place where he didn't have to struggle for each breath.  It's a place where his damaged family members don't have to behave badly because they are sad to see him go. He went to a place where he doesn't feel pain, anger, shame, fear, or regret.

I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to re-establish a relationship with my dad, especially in the 10 years before he died. I will always be thankful that the kids and I spent February vacation with him the week before he went into the hospital. I know how lucky I am that I was able to tell him I loved him many times before he got very sick and I got to hear him say it back. I knew that he was proud of me and he knew that I had forgiven him. That is huge. While it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I'm also grateful that I got to be with him in hospice and help him make the journey out of this life.

I miss you and love you, Dad.

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