Friday, May 27, 2011

It's been 13 years..

On May 27, 1998 at 4:25pm my father passed away from Acute Myeloid Leukemia 9 months after he was diagnosed. I know, I was there.  I can tell you the death certificate is 5 minutes off because the nurses couldn't get the EKG to stick to his skin it was so dry.  I can tell you that eyes don't close so easily once someone dies, nor does the light instantly go out of them. You can see the pain and the heart break etched in to them. I can even tell you that to this day I feel guilty that I could not utter "I love you" one more time because I was embarrassed (which explains why I say things...good or bad...because I'd rather deal with the consequences than be haunted by not saying what I feel).

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.

I miss you dad.  And I can't ever say enough how much I love you.


Lea Grover said...

Okay.  Now I'm crying my eyes out.  I wish I could just give you a gigantic hug.  I'm sure that, if there is an afterlife, wherever he is he's proud of you.  I would be.

Mickeycoutts said...

I'm very sorry about your dad.  He was a handsome man and it sounds like her was very well loved.