Dad with Caroline (2003)
Dad with Katherine (2006)
It was five years ago today that Dad died.
Given a six month prognosis, he lived for years, to walk me down the aisle and to hold his two grandbabies. And then he was gone.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Dad as we approach this anniversary. Recently, I re-read an essay that I wrote shortly after he died. In it, I explored how similar Dad’s death was to Katherine’s birth. How I had to let go during labor, to let our baby come and how Dad had to let go during death, to stop all the pain.
In it I wrote,
As I approached the hospice, it started to snow. Snow is Lubbock is rare. Dad had always hated the weather in Lubbock; too much humidity and too little snow. As the flakes covered the windshield, I knew that Dad had died. Minutes later, I rushed into his room. Where there had been struggle before I left, there was only calm. Dad lay still on the bed. No movement, no fight, no breath. He had let go. He had let nature work. Dad had left the world. His calm eyes closed, his mouth stopped, his strong fingers at rest.
Days later, I returned home to Richmond, to Rob and my little girls. I cleaned, sorted and organized. I jumped back in to my life. While completing the chores of everyday, I began the challenge of explaining death to Caroline. I also thought constantly of how Katherine would never remember my dad. How she would know him only through pictures and stories. This little girl who entered the world to the same words that her grandfather left it would never know this man. In my mind, though, Katherine and Dad would always share something important. They together had taught me the struggle, the importance and the inevitability of letting go.
Good bye again Dad. I love you.