Eighteen months have come and gone since dad took leave of this plane of existence.
Add a few days and countless hours and you’ll take me back to the hospice where we held watch and I made my final promise to him.
I remember midway through those terrible days starting to want it to be over and terrible guilt for thinking that.
Because a part of me thought there could be a miracle and wishing for it to end would not only negate that but would hurt because I would be conscious of how desperately I wanted just a little more time.
Still, I am my father’s son and I was very clear about where we were, how we got there and the outcome.
We had passed the last outpost and the only way such miracle would come about would be to ignore his wishes and that wasn’t going to happen.
When we got to the place where we knew the pale rider had moved from a trot to a canter we talked about how long it would be before it turned into a gallop and what would happen then.
Those were hard talks but we were blunt about everything and didn’t hold back on any topic.
Somewhere during it we came to a place about choices, decisions and options.
Dad told me to remember to do my best but to accept I could never plan it out and to not be afraid of making hard turns if necessary.
“You do what you have to do and you remember that it doesn’t always mean subjugating your full will and desire. Promise me you will do your best to live a happy life, not just a good life, but a happy life.”
I promised him I would and tried not to get choked up thinking about how much he would never see or be a part of.
You can tell me he is always with me and always part of me and I will agree. I’ll even say there have been moments where I wondered if he wasn’t somehow in the room, but I’ll also say it is not the same.
Don’t tell me he is always here and expect me to think of him as being here as if he is physically around.
He isn’t, he hasn’t been and it is not going to change.
I am my father’s son and I have large parts of the hard ass he could be within and part of me.
There are no conversations I fear or am incapable of having, but that doesn’t mean I will run to have them.
Time and place are as important as they ever were and sometimes the dumbest thing you can do is force the hard conversation when people just aren’t ready to have them.
Sometimes you need to give them time to get to that place and it all goes better.
That might be one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn but I have learned to practice it, even while acknowledging that life is short.