I sat on my brother’s bed shortly after they took my dad away and I said that phrase over and over. That’s it. Period. The story he told with his life was finished. He wouldn’t add anything else.
That’s one of the many strange things about an unexpected death. One minute they’re here…the next they’re gone. That’s it. It’s different when someone is going through a lengthy illness or has reached the end of a long life. It’s still sad and painful when we lose them, but there’s a preparation that takes place. There’s time for saying goodbye. You can ask questions you’ve been wondering about and reminisce with them. When my grandpa passed away, it made sense. It wasn’t a shock. It was incredibly painful to lose him, especially for my dad, but it certainly wasn’t unexpected. Once he died, we mourned his loss, but thanked God for the long life he lived and the example he was for all of us.
I wish we could have done that for my dad…30 years from now.
But, as sudden and as painful as my dad’s death was and continues to be, today I was reminded that life happens just as suddenly.
My friends Phil and Lindy just had their first child, a baby boy named Ellis. He’s adorable, which makes sense because they are basically the cutest couple ever. In fact, they both worked at the hospice center my grandpa was in when he passed. On one of his last days awake, Phil brought Lindy in the room to introduce her to my grandpa. My grandpa then asked for her number. “You go ahead and call the front desk and you’ll get her, Ed!” Phil told him. Classic.
So anyway, I see these pictures of little Ellis and I say to Julie, “Look at that guy…suddenly, he’s just…here!” Obviously a lot goes into making a baby – what with calling Storks ‘R’ Us and all – but ultimately, one second there’s no baby in your arms and then in the next instant…baby time. It’s mind-blowing if you think about it.
And today I’m grateful for the reminder.
For me, this week has been maybe the hardest yet since dad died. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve been really emotional. So, it was nice to be reminded that new life comes into the world every day, too. Wee little Ellis, my friend Katie’s twin baby boys, my friends Chris and Lindsay, my friends Mark and Christy, my friends Andy and Jackie, my friends Mitchell and Carolyn…babies, man. They’re pretty awesome.
I tried to think of a profound way to end this, but I think you get the point.
Cherish the memories of those you’ve lost and celebrate the new lives of those you’ve gained.
And the next time the opportunity presents itself, snuggle a baby close, put your nose to the top of her head…and breathe deeply.
So sorry to hear of your loss, it is one I can relate to. I lost my Father suddenly many years ago. The shock and pain has subsided, into trauma and a dull sting. All occasions (births, weddings,deaths) and holidays bring a familiar discomfort that was once full fledged grief. It’s an a shadow over the day, that lasts for a while, though the rays of sunshine and happiness soon take over. How would these days be different if he was still here? Would family dynamics be the same, family get togethers, or even family arguments? What would his stance be, how would he handle any family issue? I can imagine, but I really don’t know. What I am sure of is how his grandchildren would love and have benefited from his existence, these grand fatherless children, some with better understanding of the man he was than others. Since he is gone, I have always felt I have a Guardian Angel with me, a presence that cannot be explained. The memory of the day he left, the feeling of his passing right through my body; I am convinced was he saying goodbye( I had not yet been told of his death). I have that, and amazing cherished memories of such incredible Fatherly Love and devotion. These incredible special gifts from a man I so loved, and called My Dad. As you go through your journey of loss, know that he is with you.
Thank you for this, Jana.