I still remember the day he called to tell me he didn’t think he had much time left. I had just gotten home from a 2 week visit. He had grown much weaker, much thinner, but amazingly he still carried his spirit. He found his way to his garden to water his flowers, if only for a few minutes. He still preferred his food to be prepared in a very specific way. And he continued to play the role of father as my sister was home on crutches healing from a fully dislocated ankle.
That day he called I couldn’t find any words. My heart felt heavy, my throat small. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say I love you. I didn’t tell him how his life had impressed me, nor do I think I knew exactly how it had at that time. I just knew I had watched my dad slowly give in to his cancer over the past 18 months. It wasn’t easy to watch and I am sure it wasn’t easy for him to live it, to slowly let go of the things he was capable of doing. One of his favorite things to do was to go to home depot. And in the most endearing way, he would make his way to home depot in his last weeks, even if he had to get into one of their wheel chair carts to make his way around. His body had slowly let go, but his spirit held strong. I never found the courage to tell him… yes, life was at times hard, heart wrenching, but I still loved him. I admired him for that all that was good. I admired his generosity toward his friends, his community. I admired his dedication to his profession, his ability to continue to be inspired in life and to want to stay abreast of all of the things that interested him. And at the same time my heart felt heavy for all that he struggled with. I know more than anything he wanted to be loved, but it wasn’t always easy for him to express it or to receive it. I wish I could have said this 5 years ago… I love you dad. You hold a soft place in my heart. A place that can find forgiveness and more compassion than I thought could be possible.
Happy Father’s Day dearest Dad.