If I may speak just a bit on my most recent tragedy... and in so speaking... it might give my heart a short reprieve.
Mom and I talk on the phone nearly every day and have, since June. I spent a week with her in July (in Alabama). It was painful going back home and dad not being there.
I listen while she talks about things like the headstone she chose for dad's grave and wanting to be sure we are all okay with it, his notebook of songs she discovered while going through his things, his clothes that were packed to give away, etc... and all during our conversations it's "You know, when your dad was still alive."
I want to change the subject to something else, anything else... but I listen and try to give words of encouragement when needed although, to me, the words fall lifeless from my tongue like the dead leaves of autumn.
I know my dad is gone and he isn't coming back. I accept that... as long as I'm not reminded of it, as long as I don't look at his photos or hear in conversation that he is not with us anymore, as long as I don't recall any of the last six weeks of his life that I spent with him, getting to know him better than all the years before, as long as I don't recall the pain he was in or the look in his eyes on the few occasions when he thought he was leaving us, as long as I don't think about how lonely he seemed as he lay dying... as long as I don't give my mind any quiet time to think at all... and, as long as no one tries to tell me things like, "You know your dad wouldn't want you to feel sad." He is gone, I miss him and I feel sad.
I never knew he had such blue eyes or such big hands. I never knew he had such a tender heart or felt such emotion. He was just my dad. He was also a preacher for as long as I remember. That's where his heart was, in preaching. I respected and loved him and I always knew he loved me but I seldom felt especially close to him... not until those last six weeks.
Six weeks! What happened in all the years before, that kept me from really knowing him or sharing a close father/daughter relationship?
Even though those last six weeks seemed the most difficult of my life, I thank God for them. Every day, I thank God. At least I had that.