Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A year ago today...

Dear Dad,

It feels both like yesterday and yet forever ago at the same time.  Its barely one year ago today, as Lee, Mom, and I sat making plans with the hospice nurse for your care.  You were already slipping so quickly from life, but as long as you fought and as strong as your spirit was, we couldn't have known how quickly you'd leave us.

I go over and over the events of that day looking for the clues or signs we missed that July 5th was your last day on this earth. My mind fills with the sight of the big white and blue striped coffee mug meticulously filled with syringes of morphine by the nurse.  You searched my face when she asked that we get you in bed.  "Why," you said, "am I sick?"  I faltered a minute before I said, "Well, we just think you ought to rest a bit."  Who was I to crash reality down on you, when you had so bravely held it at bay?

After all, she told us. In a soft spoken, easy manner, she told us. You were in your final stages. Maybe days, maybe just a day or two. She had a comforting way about her and she put our minds at ease, even as you wrestled that day. You didn't want to lie in bed, you never lied down in your bed.  You fought off the covers, kicking your legs out of the bed. You muttered and spoke things we couldn't quite make out. You brushed my hand away as I tried to lay my hand on your arm. But that mug filled with syringes- enough for a week- was where we set our eyes.  We left you to rest.

My head was filled with what I would say, how I would provide comfort, the way in which you'd leave your place amongst us. We'd gather, we'd say our words. We planned- always a plan. But then I forgot the essence of who you were- and it always involved plans gone awry. Besides, clearly Dad, neither you, nor I, were ever really in charge of the plan. It frightened me, yet it comforted me. If not my hands, HIS hands, as I would come to see.

At sunset we stepped outside of the apartment for a quick breather. We stood in the driveway with our mouths agape, straining to see the glory painting the sky- blazing a trail straight up to heaven. Just hours later, as we gathered, not in your room, but just outside of it, you quietly slipped away from us. It was your way Dad. There was no bedside handholding, no words uttered, no tears shed-until we realized you had gone on ahead of us, without us.

I smile through the salt of my tears when I think about the way the sky lit up fire engine red and blaze orange, the night your soul went to heaven.  You saved the best for last.  It was a far better exit than I could have imagined or planned, and even in death you taught me.

Sometimes the purpose of a day is to merely feel our sadness, knowing that as we do, we allow whole layers of grief, like old skin cells to drop off us  ~ Marianne Williamson

I sit here today with the lifesaving chemo drugs flowing through the needle sticking out of the port in my chest.  I'm sitting with the sadness of missing you.

But, I've remembered to kick the covers off Dad.

To not spend too many days in bed.

To fight Dad, just as you fought.

With our heads up.

With grace.

And to always look for the glory in the sunset.

I love you and miss you Dad,



  1. Deeply touching, dear Vicky. He was a lucky man to have such a loving daughter.

  2. What a lovely ending to a live well lived. To have those you love around you, holding you, showing you the way.

    His strength became yours on that day, and you are carrying it forward.

    Love and peace.

  3. I have tears running down my face remembering being with my Mom as she passed away, My MIL, my Husbands cousin and my husbands uncle. Every one on THEIR terms and time. God bless you, Vicky in your FIGHT! Praying for you and your Dad today. XO, Pinky

  4. Vicky, I've been thinking about you and your father a lot lately. My own Dad has had some disconcerting things happen to him. A fall and a hospital stay, which prevented my mother from coming with my sister and me on a much-anticipated journey. Then, another fall while we were away, and a broken. I'm worried that he is slipping, and I've become acutely aware of the little amount of time there may be left. So I am counting on you as you process your own dear father's death to help me through it. Meantime, I'm inspired by how your father inspired you. You are definitely following in his precious example of living well and not giving up. I know he is with you in this! Peace to you, friend.

  5. Well I am in tears here as well.
    Its hard to say good bye. Its also hard to remember people knowing you will never see them again and life goes on regardless.
    This is when you think of the importance of an afterlife to look forward to.
    I was watching a documentary where they said science is spiritual. They did experiments on the brain and seem to be discovering that the brain has more to it than neurons and chemical reactions.
    There is something else there they can't explain and it seems to be a spirit and this has to go somewhere when the body dies so the after life is not such a far fetched story to believe in.

  6. You are a blessing. Your writing and heart pulled my heart out of me. The tears are here.

    Kick off those covers - love that.

    Hugs and hugs and hugs to you, my friend.

  7. i love you with every part of me. you make him so proud...

  8. This beautiful post you wrote brought back memories of my own Dad and his passing, the gorgeous sunset as we walked out of the hospital that one final evening, the way my Dad would want me to fight, to not give up. Your special bond with your Dad is precious. Thank you so much for sharing this with others. It brought tears to my eyes, but good tears.

  9. Thinking of you today. Praying that you would be comforted. Praying for the flooding of special memories and joyous moments with your dad.

  10. Ohhhhh Dear You, you bring alive the memories of losing a parent for so many of us. God bless you on this day, the anniversary of your best friends' death or should i say, his rebirth unto the other side. God bless you and God bless the chemo, the drugs, the diet that is so alluding you of seeing your father too soon. We are so enamored with our beautiful writings and are so proud of you and your energy to fight the fight that you are sooooo winning. Love ya! Xxxooooo

  11. Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once Vicky. He is so proud of you. :)

  12. A very heart wrenching post Vicky. I wish I could bring him back to you..but I know that he will always be close to you in spirit. Continue to stay strong and see each day through. Love always!

  13. Amazing grace, that's you.

    Somehow I believe your Dad is helping you kick off the covers, Vicky. It's clear he hasn't left you.

  14. Perfectly, perfect. What an excellent way to remember his last day and to take his fighting spirit with you everyday.

  15. Vicky this was so very touching, It was two years ago May 30th that my dad has been gone. It just never seems real to me, keep that fighting spirit alive my dear friend. hoping you are feeling okay. did your dad call you snicklefritz....be well.


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