Nine years ago, I sat next to my father as he died.
I recently came across the following journal entry, which I wrote during his brief struggle with pancreatic cancer.
In honor of Father's Day coming up in a couple of weeks, I thought I'd share it here:
"I only wish I was unqualified to write about death. The world doesn’t really need another author compared to how much it needs more men in it like the man my father is. Currently, I can say how my father “is”, but only for another month or so, before I begin to talk about the type of man my father “was.”
Isn’t it strange how death graduates you from one grammatical tense to another.
I only wish I could spend my evenings complaining about what my boss made me do at work, instead of discussing with my husband my dad’s “condition” and its fast-paced deterioration. Oh, for normal life!
Since when did normal consist of looking at caskets on the internet to save money, or discussing how Dad managed to keep down three bites of baked potato? Since when did normal include torrents of tears from myself, my family, and the man who raised me and only cried on special occasions?
But this is my daily life now. This is ordinary.
No, it isn’t. This isn’t the evening news I am watching, thinking of those poor people who have been through so much. This is me, my life, my precious father, whose days are severely numbered.
People are looking at our family thinking, 'Oh, those poor people have been through so much.' We are on the other side of their sympathy – how did we get here?"
My dad died on June 12th--just a few days before Father's Day.
I had been keeping him company for several days (along with my mom and sisters), while he was being cared for in a Hospice facility. He was heavily drugged with pain medication and slept a lot.
One day I was sitting on the side of his bed as he dozed in and out.
He looked up at me and said, "I keep drifting off to sleep and then you move a little and it wakes me up."
I started to apologize, thinking I was frustrating him.
But he went on.
"Then I open my eyes and see you sitting there, looking like a beautiful angel."
If you're blessed to have a dad on earth this Father's Day, don't let the weekend pass without giving thanks and saying things that need to be said. And if your father has moved on, as mine has, don't let the weekend pass without giving thanks and remembering.
Remember the special moments, be they many or few, that you spent with your dad--looking up at you like his beautiful angel.