Our Dad died earlier this evening after a long wasting illness that took a much more severe turn over the past oh six or so months and then really accelerated in the last month as, well, as these things just do. It’s something that of course happens to everyone but it just doesn’t seem like some shared universal human event when it’s your father, does it? The emotions, the memories, the laughs, the tears, the regrets; they all come crashing ashore like the waves in a chaotic storm.
Several of us had planned to go down and visit him this weekend, but we got THE CALL early last week so we hastily rearranged flights and met for one last visit, and I’m so glad we did. Yes, his body had wasted away to but a drawn haggard husk of the mighty bear of a man he once was, at nearly 6’6″ tall and easily weighing 260 in his prime. He knew it was the last time we’d be together, and he drew on what reserves of strength he had managed to sequester away to be, well, himself. Yes, he was weak and so so sick but by god he was sharp as a tack and funny. He was always fond of puns and wordplays, and he brought his “A” game to the surface one last time with us (and honestly I hadn’t heard him in such form in years); we should have hopped in the bed because he had us in stitches. They say a bulb always burns brightest right before it burns out, and last Thursday he was radiant.
So I’m very blessed that my last memory of him was him being him, and I will always treasure that final gift.