I got the call in the afternoon and my Aunt and Uncle (my father's identical twin) drove me to the hospital. When I got there my mother leaned in to him and said "She's here, you can fly away now." Within a few minutes he was gone. I was the last person he saw.
There was a file left on the computer at home (a Macintosh LC2) that my father had written before he went into the hospital for his last round of treatments. He wasn't a religious man but he said that if there was a god he hoped that he judged not by if a person prayed enough to the "right" god, but rather by the good things they have done in their life. It was at that point I lost a lot of my religion.
Garrett, my amazing little son. His name was chosen shortly after my father's death, any man I had married wouldn't have had a choice of names for our first child. Garret is another word for an attic, my father spent a great deal of time in the attic grading his school papers. So much so that the story goes: when I went to my grandmother's house and realized she had an attic I exclaimed "Oh, does grandma have a daddy too?" So Garrett it was.
Some days are easier than others. There isn't a day when I don't miss him. He touched the lives of so many people during his 30+ years as a biology teacher. There is even an award named after him "The Gordon R Gilbert Award for excellence in Environmental Sciences".
I wonder how he'd feel about my cloth diapering. I wonder what things he would have done with Garrett. I wonder if he'd like Ben. I wonder why my father and not his brother (who has no children). While that may seem horrible I think he wonders sometimes himself.
But most of all I wonder what I would have been like if he was alive. Would I have Garrett? Would I be as strong as I am now? Would he have been proud of me? That last one kills me...I would give anything to hear my father tell me he's proud of me just one more time.