I haven't written in a while. Real life - and real death - came to me this past week with my father's passing last Monday. Although he had been ill for some time, the reality of his condition didn't really occur to me until I got the call Monday that he had died.
I'm so grateful for so many things regarding my dad's life and even his death, but I'm still sorting many of them out.
My dad was a smoker my entire life (he started when he was 15). In addition, he was diagnosed with diabetes when I was a senior in high school in 1981, so I hardly remember him being completely healthy. He developed complications because of his diabetes and his smoking, including emphysema, heart disease, and, toward the end, kidney failure. He was going to have to go on kidney dialysis in the near future, and I know he wouldn't have wanted that. Despite his health issues, he was an indepedent guy and didn't like to have to rely on others.
But I'm grateful that he died in his sleep, at home, with my mom by his side. I'm grateful that he had a fabulous final weekend. Just like my dad, he was active to the end. He and mom went for a drive (he drove) on Friday, they spent Saturday with my dad's brother and sister and their spouses, and he even went to the fireman's smoker on Saturday night. Sunday he was tired, and just kind of rested at home. On Monday morning, Mom couldn't wake him up, and it turned out his heart was just done fighting.
I'll miss him, that's for sure - but I know he's finished with this stage of his existence. I know I'll learn more about death and life because of him and I'm looking forward to having some of the conversations with him now we weren't able to have in this lifetime.
Goodbye for now, Dad.