If you’ve been reading my blog recently you know my father is close to death. The past week has been very difficult for him and for those who love him. And, because we live in a fractured family, there are those who no longer love him who are struggling as well. Some will mourn deeply, as I will. The others will be saddened that a life is ending but feel they lost their personal connection to him long ago.
Today he is in the company of around- the-clock nurses administering comfort care. I want to sit at his bedside, hold his hand and tell him that I love him. Plans are being made to make that happen.
I have yet to set the date. I know if I hesitate too long it will be too late but I’m afraid to see his eyes open and not register who I am. I’m afraid to see him draw his last breath.
In my eyes he has always been strong. Despite the fact he’s so skinny; not thin as he would insist; but hip bone and clavicle jutting skinny; he’s always had muscle and sinew under that blue lined skin and biceps that bulged bigger than those on men twice his size. Or so it seemed to me.
Emotionally it’s been another matter. As much as I love him I know he’s as flawed as any man can be; and when it came to making personal decisions; if there was a bad choice in the mix he always grabbed it. His actions ripped our family apart more than once, leaving scars that never healed, many of them my own. Yet I still see him in the kitchen dancing with Mom while my sister and I look on. And I see him and me out in the driveway. He’s working on one of his antique cars while I’m content to watch and swell with pride knowing that I’ve learned enough to hand him the right tool when asks for it.
Over the years there have been long periods of separation. Each time I welcomed him back in my life. This time will be different.
This time I can see it coming. This time I know where he’s going. This time the loss is permanent and my heart is breaking. Breaking not only for the final time but for this and every other time. I’ve learned that pain this deep is cumulative, each loss adding to the ones that came before. How will I survive this? Will it change me in ways I have yet to understand? Where will that part of me go? The part that has never let go of hope. Will he take that with him when he goes? I don’t know the answer and I’m terrified. Because of that, I ask you to pray for us, a father and his daughter, both flawed and trying to find their way.