A dozen gone by
I have his smile.
I have so much more, I'm him in so many ways.
I can still feel that morning. I can still be laying in my mattress on the floor, because he was dying in my bed which had been moved to the tower room. I can still feel that pit in my stomach, the well of never ending tears behind my eyes. I have that outer body experience of being there, but not.
John was walking around outside. Maybe he was on the phone? Maybe he was crying privately? Maybe he was just wandering.
Dad started to sputter, and move in a different way. He'd been still and relatively silent for a few days. This was different.
We got John in to the room.
And within moments, Dad's body heaved, he moaned and he was gone. Bile spilled out of the corner of his mouth.
He was gone.
We all broke down in sobs.
We lay on him. We held him. But he wasn't in his body any more. He filled the room, but he was gone.
We laughed. We talked about how he had waited for John to come back.
I can still feel it all. I feel it all right now. The relief. The helplessness. The dread of what was next.
And it has been 12 years.
Where does time go? Where does it take you? It twists and weaves in such magical ways at times. I know I would not be here, sitting in this kitchen that I'm slowly starting to pack if my Dad hadn't died 12 years ago to the day.
The air was bright and crisp and full of life.
The buds were on the trees.
The world was coming back to life as my Dad let his go.
He loved to eat. And we made him Mac and Cheese and he didn't want it. That is when it felt more real to me.
He loved to watch TV, sports, anything really, and he couldn't handle the noise of the baseball game in late April. I wasn't sure what to do with that.
When I called Matt and told him to come up, through tears, that it was time and it was real, he got in the car immediately and left his law school finals behind. He listened to My Morning Jacket the whole way and still when he hears that album he's in that time. In that car. Thinking about this huge shift in our lives that was about to occur.
When I hear Andrew Bird I think of my Dad, and sometimes it is too painful for me to listen to. But sometimes I'm able to listen to the album, and remember when he first got it and we went skiing and listening to the strange sounds and his eerie voice as we drove up to park and get our skis out of the trunk.
There was beauty in watching him die. Helena told me there would be, and I held that so close to me as I prepared for the moment. I'm not as scared of death any more. That is a gift I've received from all of this. And I feel even more sure that I know what happens after you die.
You live on. Your energy, your spirit it fills the world. It carries on in the children you have created, if you have, if carries on within the people you've touched. It is seen in the places and things you loved the most.
When I'm with my children I know my Dad is with them too.
When I'm on clear blue water paddling a kayak, I know my Dad is in that water. In that kayak, in the sound of the paddles entering and leaving the water, over and over again.
When I'm running, he's the wind at my back.
When I need him, I pull him up inside of me and I know what he would say and how he would talk to me.
I just wish he actually could.
12 years later, it is still just as hard to have him gone. But I'm stronger. And I know how to carry the weight of his loss.
I'm not going to edit this post, because part of the process is letting it out of you. You have to grieve to move forward. You won't forget them. You won't push the feelings down through grieving. You'll find the way to hold them even more closely and cherish them in a way that gives you peace, and guidance and strength.
Life and death. And the world keeps spinning.