Father’s Day 2014: my first Father’s Day without my dad. It’s more than just Father’s Day though. I remember Father’s Day 2013 like it was yesterday. I woke up and took a quick shower before heading over to my parents’ house, a mere 4 miles away.
I arrived to find my father in his bed, where he’d been for almost two days. He’d fallen on the Friday before Father’s Day and we’d taken him to the local Urgent Care, but they didn’t diagnose him correctly. They fixed up the massive scrapes on his arm. My mom had called me on Friday afternoon to say they were on the way to Urgent Care, so I ended up meeting them there.
Somehow I think I knew even then. When he left Urgent Care that day I had to help him get into his truck. He couldn’t bend his leg, so I had to gingerly help him somehow maneuver his leg so the door could shut.
I followed my mom and dad home and helped him into the house. I don’t remember too much after that. At some point I went home, knowing but not knowing.
The next day I spent some time with him and then went to a party. Yes, this un party animal actually went to a party. I’m rather shy so I didn’t say too much to anybody at the party, and at some point I went outside and that’s when my phone rang. My mom told me my dad couldn’t get out of bed but they wanted to wait until Sunday morning (Father’s Day) to call 911. To this day, I don’t know how I drove home that night. I know I didn’t sleep much.
When I arrived at my parents’ house, no one had called 911, so that duty fell to me. I had never called 911 before. I don’t remember much of what I said. I’m just grateful that the firemen and paramedics treated my dad with such kind dignity and humor. They arrived at the house in no time and had him to the hospital fairly quickly.
Once there reality began to sink in. It turns out my father broke his back and his knee when he fell two days prior. My heart stopped when I heard that. Grief welled up inside of me like I’d never felt before. I tried to hide it from him, but I really couldn’t. I thought he’d die that day. Surgery wasn’t an option because of his heart. He’d had a massive heart attack 12 years prior and also suffered from Parkinson’s.
I thought he would die that day, and that terrified me. I spent as much time as I could that day sitting by his bedside. At one point he turned to me and said “I’m sorry I’m keeping you from your plans.” I looked at him and spoke from my heart “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” And I wouldn’t have made any other choice. That day, one year ago, belonged to me and my dad.
He didn’t die that day. He lived almost two more months. They ended up sending him to rehab with a back brace to try and heal him that way. In so many ways the summer of 2013 proved to be the most hauntingly sad and sublime summer of my life. I still cherish and am so grateful that I had so many moments just watching my dad breathe in rehab. I think I spent almost every night there, just sitting with him, watching him breathe, somehow knowing how precious those moments would be.
I loved him so much and I still do. I carry him in my heart always.
I survived that summer because I had found and discovered my new passion: Bikram Yoga. I never skipped a beat. I took care of myself so I could be there for him. I spent a lot of time telling him about my yoga, about the people I met, about the drive to the Marina. He loved hearing about my life, and I loved telling him about it.
I miss him more than I can express here, and I’ve been crying the whole time I’ve been writing this, but I don’t wish for him to be back. His time had come. He was ready. More than ready.
I’ll be okay. For him and for myself. He loved seeing me happy, so I’m going to spend Father’s Day 2014 working on my own happiness. I’ll go hiking in the morning to the spot where I released his ashes. I’ll spend as much time there as I need and then I’ll go and do some of the things that I used to do with him, things that made me happy, things that will bring me smiles through any tears that form. In this way I’ll be spending this Father’s Day with him too.
Love you Dad! I carry you in my heart always!
The Last Picture of Me and My Dad:
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