I started scrolling through the photos on my phone this afternoon, looking for pictures of my dad. I have a lot of them over the past one and a half years, but most of them are in the hospital. I was disappointed that I didn’t have any good ones more recent than early November, but when I alighted on my last non hospital picture of dad, it was perfect. It was a picture of him and Tim at the shop. In the photo, they are in the spray booth. My dad is holding a spray gun and giving Tim instructions about something. I think it was the last time my father held the gun. We often joked we would bury him with it.
The next day my dad went to the hospital, and so began a series of reactions to medications and what I would mark as his obvious descent, however it was only really obvious in hindsight.
It’s only been four days since my father died, and yet how can that be? Is time moving slower? I’m sure the world outside my window has not slowed down a bit. Life goes on as it always has.
They don’t know they’ve missed the passing of a truly special man.
The most unexpected symptom of my grief is the overwhelming fatigue that follows me throughout the day. Sleep is the only thing my body craves, and yet in the middle of the night, with the moon shining through the windows, I am denied even that.
I’ve been at staring the photo of my father… the one where he looks healthy and happy, and absolutely the father of my memories. I stare at it to burn it into my mind in order to supplant the image of his final moments.
Oh how I miss him.
My dad was an artist. During the last couple of decades of his life, he dedicated much of his time to his art. He easily did hundreds of paintings. Some he hated, turned over, and used the other side. Others found their way into the dumpster. But the ones he liked, he kept. And he liked a lot of them. There are piles of paintings at the shop, and many hanging on the wall. Here at home, we have several proudly displayed, and a mass of them sitting in the basement. He did commissions as well, and it makes me happy to know his art is still out there, being enjoyed by the people he loved. He made me several pieces, which are among my prized possessions.
He was a talented man.
I’m thankful my children knew him and knew him well, and I’m glad they knew him before his sickness, the time they refer to as ‘Strong GP.’ Baby E is convinced no stronger man ever walked the earth. I’ll allow him that.
I miss his quiet sense of humor and his quick wit, which turned any family meal into a playful banter. I miss the way he used to call me on my commute home from work to read me his latest poem. I miss the way he would gather the family to unveil his newest painting. I miss the way he would dig through the recycle bin to take out any containers he thought might be useful at the shop. I miss his ingenuity that could conquer any problem set before him.
I really, really miss him.
Thankfully I know where he is, and it makes the hurt bearable. I’ll never stop longing for one more hour to hold his hand or hear his voice, but our lives here on earth are but vapors, and soon we will meet again.
I love you, Dad.
Today marks the end of another journey. Five years ago I made a commitment to blog every single day for a year. That first year turned into two and eventually into five. Every single day. Five years. 1,873 posts.
I had little imagined the stories I would tell- the raising of my children (nearly the entirety of Baby E’s life), the loss of two babies, and the death of my father. At times it has been a devastating journey.
Many of you have been here since the start. Thank you for that. Thank you for the words of encouragement that you have showered on me over the years. I have not always responded, but I have read each one of them and treasured the person who left them.
So this is the end… A soft ending, actually, because old habits die hard. I’ll be back. Maybe every day, but probably not. I’ve made no commitment to myself.
I think I’m ready for a new adventure and perhaps a new adventure is ready for me.
Thank you again and God bless.
To Christ be all glory.