Early in the morning hours of August 2nd, my father took his last breath. I was not there; I had planned to but God works in mysterious ways and perhaps he did not want me to be there for that. I had decided the night before to wait until morning – the hospice nurse had said he had a few more weeks.
I haven’t written in a few weeks due to his illness. What subject could I write about? How do you write something about anything when your father is about to leave you forever? Anything I thought of seemed trite; trivial. So I helped him write his own last two blogs. He was the author of the Chicagonow blog, Chicago Then. Up to the very end, he wanted his voice to be heard. And his was much more important to me than my own.
In late 2011 my father was in the deepest depression of his life. My mother had passed in February 2009 and nine months later he had met a lovely woman that he found great comfort with. In September of 2011, she passed away as well leaving my Father with such a broken heart I wondered how it could ever be repaired. I suggested he start his own blog – he was such a story teller; he loved to talk about the old days when he was growing up; what a simpler time it was. Hence, Chicago Then was created. It became the most important thing to him when he had little else. It filled lonely hours; it gave him a voice.
And now, that voice has gone silent. His blog turned out to be my most priceless gift; 115 stories about his life. Over time I will read and reread them over and over.
So now, I am trying to find my way back to the task of writing. It will be a different feeling now to write and not have him reading. He was my biggest fan; he was the first person to always press the “like” button, to share it with his friends. He was proud of every word I wrote, every story I told. As I was of him.
Losing this person, this father, this friend is a loss I am feeling to the core of my soul. I am now a fifty six year old orphan and I have to say, I don’t like not having parents. I could still feel young, I could still be my Daddy’s baby, his little girl. Now this makes me feel like more of an adult; it’s making me think more about my own mortality.
I could write about that. I could write about how now I don’t have someone to feel like I am really taking care of, someone to help edit and publish for. It had become a weekly job for me that I welcomed and loved. Each week I got to read and hear a new story about my Dad’s life; a new insight into his 81 years. I am so grateful I had that.
Many people don’t have good relationships with their fathers. I feel so blessed to have had the very best with mine – so thrilled to have called him not only my father, but my friend.
Take a few minutes and read some of his stories. Get to know him. I’ll bet then you’ll understand why I will miss him more than anything in the world and why I will always be proud to have been his daughter.
Now if you have one, go hug your Dad.
And listen to the first verse of this song. “And though you want him to last forever you know he never will, you know he never will. And the patches make the goodbye harder still”.
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