"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." Anne Sexton, American poet
We have been sitting by his bedside much of this last week. Listening to his breathing. Talking to the hospice nurses. Talking to each other. Remembering stories. Sharing memories. Trying to make my dad as comfortable as possible.
My incredibly passionate brothers have made sure there is music around our Dad at all times as music was something my father really loved. One brother was streaming Tchaikovsky through Pandora and the other was playing a medley of different operas. It was peaceful to sit with him, hold his hand, and listen to the music softly playing. Listening to my dad's breathing and wondering how much longer his body is going to fight.
I told him yesterday that I loved him. I tell him that every time I see him now. I kiss his head, I tell him it's ok to go and that I love him. Yesterday, I told him I forgave him for anything in the past. I meant it. My mom was with me - she came for both him and to support me - and she was so compassionate and sweet to him that it brought tears to my eyes.
I said what I needed to say and I said what he needed to hear. But there was one thing I could not say out loud. And it's been swimming in my head since I left him yesterday. So I will say it here:
There is a little girl playing in the clouds. She will call you Pop Pop but you never met her before. No one did but her mom and dad. She has black curly hair and long fingers and toes. She is with your parents and your sister. She is sunshine and light and love. She is my first born daughter and she is waiting for you. Dad, it's time. It's time to go meet our Allie. You will recognize her. She looks a lot like I did when I was a baby. Go to her. Love her. Be loved in return.
In the meantime, we wait. It won't be long now. I know it's the natural order of things to bury your parents but that does not make it easier. Well, easier than burying a child, but still not easy in any way. Not easy at all.