We returned back home from Michigan on Thursday. It was the day after my Dad’s funeral. I felt ready to return back to my home and begin figuring out my life without him. While I didn’t see my dad all that often, I always knew he was there. And now, knowing that he isn’t, and that he never will be again, is really taking some getting used to.
He was an incredible man. He was full of life and laughter. He was gentle and kind. He was warm and loving. I feel incredibly grateful to have been his daughter and to have learned how to create a wonderful life, simply by watching how he lived his. I miss him terribly and I am still trying to make sense out of all of it. It happened so much faster than I expected.
I left for Michigan on Wednesday, August 8th. That day my Dad checked out of the hospital and began the transition to in-home hospice care. This final phase of his journey only lasted for three days. By Saturday afternoon he was gone.
On Wednesday night when I arrived in Michigan, I sat by my Dad’s side and we talked for a long time. I had expected we would have many similar conversations in the days ahead…but I also knew that if we didn’t, it would be okay. There was nothing important left unsaid between us. He knew how I felt about him, that my love for him was pure. And I felt the same from him. We chatted about fun memories, family vacations and the stories he used to tell me at bedtime when I was a kid. He read letters from my kids—letters telling him goodbye and how much they loved him. I know this meant so much to him, as it did to me. Before I went to bed that night he thanked me for the great conversation, and commented that it had been a long time that we had been alone and able to really talk like that.
August 2009 at Lake Michigan
Those final three days in my Dad’s life are days I will remember and treasure forever. They are three days that changed me, my view on death, and my view on life. I am so grateful that I was able to be by his side, rubbing his arm and his head as he took his last breath. And I’m so grateful that our last words to one another were “I love you.”
I will write more about this I’m sure, as I start to make sense of it all. But for now, I just wanted to let you know that I’m back and to say thank you to everyone who has extended their sympathy to me and my family. It is so helpful during times like this to know that others care and understand what you’re going through.