On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.
Remember this photo I snapped of you a few years back?
Now when I look at it, I envision you walking off into the happiness of a better place where you will be waiting for me when the time comes.
A peaceful and gentler place far way from this messy world of pain and entanglements.
When I took this photo, I never thought that I would be looking at it with a totally different perspective – a time where you would be existing elsewhere.
Dad, I know that life goes on.
I mean, bills don’t pay themselves, houses don’t self-clean, other people’s health issues still have to be addressed and estates need to be settled.
In our case, loaned hospital beds had to scheduled for pick-up, feeding pumps had to UPSed back from where they came and an entire duffle bag of medications had to be triaged and returned to the pharmacy for proper disposal.
Actually, I’m lying about that last one – it was only a few Sundays ago that I forced myself to sit on the livingroom floor and sort through that duffle bag of trial and errors.
That duffle bag brought me back to giving you post-chemo injections. Juggling pain medications to maximize relief yet minimize their build-up in your system. Medications every 2 hours, some every 4 hours, others every 6 and the rest every 8 hours.
Most days I feel like that ’round the clock care never happened, like it was just a dream that never really occurred.
And it irks me that, as time marches on, it’s like YOU never existed.
Like you were never born.
Like you were never even here.
When a funeral is over, there are a few check-in phone calls from less immediate family and friends. Then, those calls become more sporadic, sprinkled here and there until the phone no longer rings. Your existence begins to fade for them as they get on with the business of life and that is understandable.
I often think, is this what we as humans are all eventually reduced to?
Fancy suits and dress pants left hanging in overstuffed closets. Boxes full of Father’s Day, birthday and Christmas cards tucked safely under a beds. Boxes of trinkets and dollarstore items we teased you about for “collecting” but never using. A bunch of “stuff” that will need to be sorted through when we feel strong enough to tackle that mountain.
I’m a little ashamed to say it but…
Just the other day, I noticed a family taking a walk together, smiling and laughing so louldy that I could hear them through the closed window. And you know what I thought? What I actually said out loud to myself while I stood at that window?
“How dare you guys look so happy when my Dad is dead.”
I know, I know…
It’s plain old jealousy mixed with envy because I remember when we used to laugh and talk so loudly that others would give us those “why are you being so loud” looks and we didn’t care.
I was looking at that family thinking how unfair it was that life happily goes on for others while I’m erasing your identity and existence via endless paperwork and phone calls to authorities, organizations and establishments. Some days I don’t even want to get out of bed because I don’t know where I left off the day before.
Dad, as you would say, “One day at a time Marq” and I have no choice but to approach it that way each and every day.
Loving you always,