Dad died on July 13. Four years ago today. I haven’t blogged about that day, although I share a few of the details in My Music Man. Writing those words at the time, prior to publication, felt raw. With the passage of time I articulate my feelings differently than I fully did then. The day or the month or the year after.
Today I feel gratitude. I will always feel sadness in missing the dad I knew. But now, after 1,460 days and nights – hours to contemplate…mourn…rejoice…I feel grateful. Dad would have liked that – he, a big believer in the 12 Steps.
I don’t know what happened for Dad in his final moments. We wonder and think about the details: what happens and what will we feel or hear or see or think and will it hurt? What happens next? Those things I don’t profess to know. What I do know are the things that happened around Dad in his last moments. It is for these that I am grateful. And while readers of my memoir can read in the final chapter the things I am grateful for in having the dad that I did, here’s a few others that I never got around to writing.
For the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Emergency Responders – heroes Dad once referred to as “ out of Central Casting” – who responded to Mom’s 911 call and transported Dad. To the one who stuck around and told me to pray and hope, but to expect the worst, given how many minutes Dad was pulseless. To prepare me to make those phone calls…now, so that three of my four brothers made it to the hospital before he took his last breath just before midnight. And that my fourth who was in flight a continent away, had already made his peace. For the nurse at Meridian Park Hospital who remembered Dad’s humor and kindness from a past visit – and thought to tell us about it. And the hospitalist who empathetically walked us through decisions regarding life support. And for Dad for having made his wishes so clear. The hospital chaplain who unobtrusively offered her services, giving us the opportunity to select the prayer we had all grown up with.
I’ll always love you Dad. And I’m grateful to be able to feel grateful.