grieving parent

Mini Memoir Monday: Heading Home

This week’s mini memoir was written by David Pagan. You can check out his fantastic blog, According to Dave, and read about the ups and downs of being a writer. If you would like to submit a mini memoir, please follow this link. Without further ado:

David Pagan

It’s 7:08 on December 5th. I’m in seat 8F, next to Debbie. She is watching “A Knight’s Tale” on her iPad as I type on mine. It’s dark outside. I find myself reflecting on all that has happened.

Ten days ago, I sat alone on a flight from SFO to DFW, heading eventually to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where my father was being kept alive in the ICU. I fully expected him to be dead by the time I arrived, But God had other plans. He allowed me the chance to see my dad alive, albeit gravely ill. On Tuesday, I was able to talk with him and tell him I loved him. He was able to respond and mouthed that he loved me too. Did he really hear me? Did he really say I love you? I suppose I’ll never know for sure, but I choose to believe that he did.

His health steadily declined over the rest of the week, until finally, on Friday, November 30th, he was no longer taking nourishment through his tube, an indication that his body was beginning to shut down. It was then that we, as a family, made a tough decision. Based on his repeated insistence over the years that he did not want to be kept alive artificially, we all agreed that it was time to take him off the ventilator. We did so, and about an hour or so later, he passed away about as gently as is possible aside from being at home in bed asleep. His life was now defined:

2/25/1933 – 11/30/2012

What is written above is what now appears on the temporary grave marker at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. All that my dad was is now fully defined by the “dash”. There will be nothing more of his life except the legacy that he leaves behind. A wife, three children, grand kids and great grand kids. When taken as a whole, that which he has left would make him proud, I think.

So, as I feared, I am heading home without a father, and with a mother hurting from a pain worse than having died herself, and a future in complete and utter disarray, despite our presence. By tomorrow night, after my sister leaves for home, she will be alone for the first time since she lost her husband of 58 years. None of us knows how she will do. But I do believe that at some point she will be okay.