Today is the anniversary of the day that my daddy left this world nine years ago. I got the call as I was making a dinner of hamburgers. Mom had thought dad was upstairs sleeping before dinner, as was his custom. She had been working on the computer, answering emails, etc. when it became time to make supper. She came up from the family room and started preparations.
When dinner was ready, she called upstairs for dad. He didn’t answer. It was then that she noticed the front door wasn’t latched. Dad had installed the latch so my young niece wouldn’t get out and wander by herself on the farm. Mom looked out the screen door and saw dad lying by the barn, a gas can tipped over next to him. He was going to fill up the tractor so he could cut the lawn the next day. It was Sunday.
She immediately called me and I started out toward the farm. She then called the sheriff. Since my dad had a heart condition, she requested there be no autopsy. What was the point? He was 83 years old. He had lived 33 years past that first heart attack.
From what we can figure, dad must have gotten one of his dizzy/tired spells and sat down to rest. He fell over when his spirit left him and knocked the gas can over with him. He died just a few yards from where he fell shoveling snow all those years before.
When I drove down the long driveway, the sheriff and coroner vehicles were blocking where I usually parked, so I was forced to drive around the circle to park by the machine shop; past dad. All I could think was, “Oh, dad…” I knew I would miss him, though I also knew he was oh so tired. He was ready to go home.
Arrangements were made quickly, and while everything went according to plan, nothing could fill the void of his absence. Child #1 was extremely devastated. She idolized my dad. He was her hero, as her father never could have been. She played her viola for the Mass and it was truly beautiful. Dad was so proud of her.
All these years later, I still remember that it was only child #3 and I that cried, actually sobbed, at his funeral. The other three were too terrified to make a sound, as they were sitting near their father. J and I just bawled. My mother never shed a tear. Not then, nor ever. I’m not sure I ever forgave her for that, but in her mind, she was given the gift of an extra 33 years after his first heart attack, so why cry?
So, here we are, nine years later. Child #1 is now an official adult. Child #2 is also an official adult. Children #’s 3 and 4 are partway through their teenage years and it is going well for one and not so well for the other. Such is life. “This too shall pass,” as dad used to say.
Just a little note about my dad. My sister did a wonderful job of the memory boards for his funeral. There were so many great shots of my dad, including the one where he had tucked his blue plaid pj pants into his socks, donned a hat, and pretended to be golfing in the kitchen hallway. Oh, and one other pic of note: one where he is surrounded by his grandchildren and trying to teach them something. What is he trying to teach them? Only to play poker! That was truly dad!
Have a blessed day and hold your loved ones close. You have no idea when God will call them home. Love you, dad!