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Monday, July 18, 2011

June 28, 2011

I don't know how to write about my father's death. It will be three weeks tomorrow, and when I try to collect my thoughts and feelings, all I have are snapshots: his half-open eyes in the final day, when he had slipped into a coma; the pathetic thinness of his arms; holding his growing-colder head as my mother washed him prior to the arrival of the funeral home staff. The dried blood stuck in the stubble of his beard.


He fought so hard and so long. At the funeral, I wanted to say something about his determination to keep on, to stay focused on the things that mattered to him, and not to get derailed by his health trouble. I wanted to say, what an incredible gift to his children, that determination. I see it in myself and in my brothers, in different ways, but profoundly. We may none of us have become physicists, but in this way, at least, we follow in his footsteps.


He died at home, for which I'm grateful. He died by degrees, which was excruciating. I expected that by the time came I'd be prepared, having lost him in stages for months and months. I was wrong. There is no way to prepare.

6 comments:

MemeGRL said...

You're right. There is no way to prepare for the void. Even when the person you loved has changed, the physical presence is a comfort.
I am thankful that he is out of pain, but I am sad for and with you. Thinking of you...

Magpie said...

((hugs))
it is excrutiating.

Maureen Kelley McKenna said...

My hope for you is, as time passes, the snapshots you remember most vividly will be the good ones, before the sickness took him over. But you are right, just because you know the inevitable is near, there is no way to be prepared. My father died of cancer and even though we knew it was terminal, it still was a surprise...we were shocked when he left us.

Mir said...

Time heals, but damn if it doesn't take its sweet time making that happen. Horrible irony.

Thinking of you.

Lora said...

In very quiet moments at our house, my husband often breaks the silence by saying things like "I really thought I was ready to lose him" or "this is a lot different/harder than I thought it would be".

Thinking of you often.

ccr in MA said...

It's terribly, terribly hard. Once you've been there, you know what you didn't before. Thinking of you.