Tonight, I’m clinging to 2017.
It’s the last night of the last year of my dad’s life, and I’m dreading tomorrow when I have to step into a new year and truly leave him behind.
My dad and I didn’t have a great relationship, as I’ve mentioned before, and I had done a sort of mourning years ago, in which I mourned his role in my life. He wasn’t going to be the kind of dad I wanted - and I'm not talking about an expectation of the perfect father, I mean just acting like he liked me. However, despite that mourning, I hadn’t been ready to let go of the hope that one day it would all work out, and we could find a way to reconnect.
The day after my last post, his doctor at the University of Chicago hospital called and told me that they didn’t think that my dad would improve; that he was irrevocably gone and that it would be best if we started to talk about stopping life support. So, that’s what we did. He wasn't coming back, and we couldn't make him stay in the condition that he was in. Even though I still had hope. I wanted more time.
Only, there wasn't going to be more time.
When my dad died, he was surrounded by his children, and our mom, and our friends, who to him were like children. We held his hands and loved him goodbye. It went so fast that it was easy to believe that we had made the right decision. After it was over, and everyone else had left, I stayed with the nurses and helped wash his body. It was a final step in doing everything that I could so that one day, when I look back on this - losing my dad - I will know that I did everything I could to love him goodbye.
I wasn’t ready for this, I wasn’t ready to let go of the hope.
I find myself clinging to the last vestiges of it every day, other things have happened since my dad died. Challenging, painful things that have made this process more difficult but I haven't let go of hope. On top of my china cabinet, I have the candle from my dad’s wake, and some of his holy water from Knock, and a couple white rose petals from his funeral. I think that before I go to bed tonight, I’ll bless myself they way he did when we were kids. As hard as it will be to leave losing him behind in 2017, I know that I’ll carry him in my heart into 2018.
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