I thought that November 12, 2010 was a day that would never be replicated in terms of its importance.
I was mistaken.
November 12, 2010 was the reason that June 27, 2012 was so incredible. It is as though the first date prepared me for the second date – just like Mom prepared me for Dad.
I’m not sure whose voice I should be using now. If I write in first person, I would be writing as “Stacey”. If I write as the ghost – I am writing as “Bill”. My confusion comes in that I feel I am both. And I feel that I am also “Paula”. Now, these two people – Bill and Paula – Mom and Dad are the voices that I feel rather than hear.
Tonight, Dad (Bill) passed away. But, my God, he still has a voice. And what is weird is that now, more than ever, I feel that Mom has been given an equal voice.
It was magnificent. I have never experienced anything like it. Dad opened his eyes ever so slightly, and then they closed. I’m sure it was a reaction of sorts – but it was enough to alert my brother and I that Dad was leaving us. All I remember was holding his hand and reassuring him that we were there. It was beautiful. He was surrounded by care-givers that were “off -duty” but had come to see him anyhow. Whatever possessed them to come at that time, God only knows – but it was Dad’s time. Not more than 5 minutes after they arrived, along with the nurse who had only come to “monitor” Dad’s progress, did Dad pass away. There was no grand breath. There was no grand inhale. It was quiet. Yes. It was grace. Dad had dignity. I promised I’d keep him home and give him Dad a different journey than Mom – and I did. I kept my promise. Mom was there today. I felt her. She is with me right now writing this blog. I’ve never edited a post so much as I am now. My words are her words – they are “his” words too.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to everyone who supported our family through this final journey whether it was in person, in spirit, in words, or in faith.
When one dies at home, and in peace, there are no words that can express the soul.
I’m sure Dad would say, “Nothing”. I don’t think words in His world are needed – what a majestic feeling it must be to leave the “surley bonds of earth”. Dad would want to express his appreciation for a death well lived. Today was a testimony, not only to a man whose life was well lived, but to everyone who was connected to Dad to make his life possible. It takes a community to raise a child and to close the chapter in one person’s story.
I don’t know how to tell you how I struggle for my voice tonight. I can’t find the words. I can’t find the direction. But, yet, I am at peace. Dad is at peace – and I think at long last, Mom is too. We have harmony.
Please allow me this attempt to speak my father’s voice.
“I am. I am no longer tired. I no longer need assistance to walk, to eat, to read the newspaper. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the help from my dancing nannies and my other blessed caregivers… but I am now free to soar on my own. I am independent – just as I was when I was young and vital. But now, I am wiser – to know that no one soars alone. There are those who give as there are those who accept. The trick is knowing when and which is your time and calling. I have accepted care for so long now – I am ready to give. But in the next world, I cannot give as you would expect. I don’t know what to do yet – Paula will tell me. And in turn, I’ll teach my children. This, is our legacy.”
It is late, and although my mind is spinning, I know I’ll sleep – Dad no longer yearns for Mom.
Where are they? I don’t really know – but what I do know is that I am able to say that I was a good daughter – or in Dad’s words, I am now, “Our beautiful daughter. Thank-you so much for everything that you have done.” And that’s all I would ever want.
Cheers, Dad – on this night – and TTFN!