Today marks the one year mark of my dad’s death. A year ago today my mom, sister and I were waiting and wondering how much longer we could sit and watch my father hang onto life. He had been in a coma for 6 days by this time. For 6 days we talked to him, slept by his bed on the floor, held his hand, and made sure he always knew he wasn’t alone. We told him it was ok to go, that we loved him and he could let go. Finally at 9:30 pm on that very snowy cold night he did.
Like I have said in previous posts I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about those few moments. They are special to me. It was an experience that was horribly sad but also probably one of the most, if not THE most, spiritual experiences I have ever had. The love and peace I felt in those minutes were overwhelming.
I woke up this morning and actually didn’t remember that today was “the” day until I was in the shower. I decided that I wasn’t going to be sad today. I wasn’t going to mourn my dad’s death, but celebrate his life instead. I was going to spend the day thinking of how lucky I was that he was my dad with happy dad memories like these:
He taught how to drive when I was 14 in a big huge blue truck. The stick shift was probably as big as I was at the time. We spent hours in a big parking lot starting, stopping and parking. He probably was so frustrated with me, but never showed it.
Or the time he and my husband decided to prune my pear tree. Tony out there holding the chair (we didn’t have a ladder) as my dad lopped off the whole top of the tree. Every time I look at it I laugh. It is hideous. I still don’t know why he did it.
Or all the times he teased me about my university’s football team and how BYU was better. How BYU was better in everything for that matter.
Or how he made up silly nicknames for everyone. He called me frog and Heather berry since I can remember. My sister is toad. My brother is squeaky squirrel. My oldest is Jer Bear, Jonah is bug. I could list a thousand.
Or how he taught me to love nature. Even though I don’t love it much now, I do respect the beauty of it. I could survive in a zombie apocalypse if I HAD to because of all he and my mom taught me. But I would never choose to go camping for fun.
Or how he taught me how to catch, gut and cook a fish. Again, I would only do that if I HAD to, but I could do it.
Or how he taught me what happily ever after was. How he loved my mom.
Or how he never judged me and all my mistakes I made and just kept on loving me. Helping me.
Or all the times he hugged me and told me he loved me.
I could go on and on…
The last “conversation” I had with dad was a week before he died. My mom had gone to pick up my sister and he and I were alone in the house. He didn’t like any noise at that point, it just agitated him, so we sat in the quiet next to each other on the couch. He was to the point where he was sleeping most of the time so he was dozing in and out. But every few minutes he would wake up and turn and look at me and ask me “Are you ok?” and I would say “Yes dad, I’m ok. Are you ok?” he would say “Yes.” and nod off again. We did that for over an hour. Him always making sure I was ok.
Yes dad, I am ok. I love you. I miss you terribly. But I am ok.