This morning, from “The Daily Post at WordPress.com,” I read that, “When you write, the opening sentence and the closing line can feel like deal breakers. Ending your post shouldn’t feel like a trailing off, but a succinct closing that neatly ties together all that you’ve written. And as Hemingway’s 39 alternate endings suggest, sometimes it can take a few rewrites to really find what you’re looking for.”
For some reason, these words of advice resonated with me. I guess I am a bit obsessed these days with openings and closings.
Dad’s beginning was certainly impressive: he was so small that he was put in a shoe box and placed in the oven to keep warm. I guess he was “cooking” from the day he was born.
Dad’s ending, though… did he manage to tie things up? I can’t help but think the ending was too soon as I miss him so much. But on the other hand, I know he felt that he stayed about a year and a half too long – his life after “Paula”. He struggled to find meaning. I bought him a Chicken Soup for the Soul book for the “golden years” so that maybe he’d find inspiration in those pages. Dad read it – and enjoyed some of the stories – but still asked me the question, “Why am I still here?”. In the end – a week before he passed away, he saw Ben – my oldest son graduate from high school, he heard about Katya’s athletic prowess with her many ribbons for sports including athlete of the year, he got big hugs from my youngest, David, who continued to want sleep-overs at Poppa’s house… he went flying with his son, Jamie – and he flew the plane. He even watched Ben and David create and launch pop-bottle rockets in the back yard.
The photo pasted in this post was taken a week before Dad passed away. How I wish there could be an alternate ending to his story. But there is not. Did he find meaning? I don’t know. Did he find closure? I don’t know. I am so grateful to have had my Dad for nearly 49 years. For me, I’m not sure his death is the end. There are photos to scan, memories to process, and still stories to tell.
Stacey: Dad, did you know on this past Father’s Day that this one would be your last?
Bill: I lived my life, Stacey, like every day was my last.
Stacey: How did you find the strength to turn the page to the next day?
Bill: I didn’t turn the page, Stacey, it was the Good Lord. He turned the page and gave me the opportunity to write on it.
Stacey: And how did your book end, Dad?
Bill: Just like it began… one word at a time. Live your life one word at a time… make your pages full. For now… TTFN
Stacey: TTFN, Dad. I love you.